Protect your pets from household dangers with these expert tips


More NJ dogs are getting sick from pot, prescription meds, and other household items. Veterinarians are reporting that they are fielding calls from pet owners and performing emergency interventions daily due to the list of items found around the house that are deadly to dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has released its Top 10 toxins list, which includes many popular foods, cleaning products, medicines, and plants. According to the group’s annual report, all of these items can be life-threatening if not treated. As pet owners, we must be aware of the items that can pose a danger to our furry friends.

Over-the-counter medications

Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medicines, and other drugs are on the top of the ASPCA’s list of most commonly ingested hazards. Dogs can easily root them out of bathrooms, kitchens, backpacks, and purses. Dr. Tina Wismer, a senior director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, warns that things that are popular for people to use are also very common for animals to get into just because they're in the household.

Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medicines, and other drugs are on the top of the ASPCA’s list of most commonly ingested hazards.

Recreational drugs

The legalization of marijuana in many states has been a problem for pets. Both veterinarians and the ASPCA have seen an alarming new trend, which is the ingestion of marijuana products that cause a decrease in body temperature and changes in heart rate and blood pressure for dogs. According to the ASPCA, "prolonged sedation can lead to aspiration pneumonia," which is why it's essential to keep all THC products, including edibles, well out of pets' reach.

Human food

Many of the things we eat, even healthy foods, can be deadly to our pets. Protein bars, grapes, toothpaste, candy, and sugar-free gum are all included. The last three items often contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause insulin release and lead to liver failure, according to the American Kennel Club.

Prescription medication

Keep medicines high up in a cabinet and take them in a separate room from dogs. Dr. Wismer advises this because dogs are quick and can get to a dropped pill faster than their humans can pick them up. Medications should be kept in closed cabinets that pets can’t reach.


The ASPCA poison control hotline receives almost five calls an hour about pooches who have gotten their paws on this perennial favorite, making it number four on its list. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is, warns Dr. Ashmore.

Numerous indoor and outdoor plants are poisonous.

Bouquets and plants

Numerous indoor and outdoor plants are poisonous, such as azaleas, daffodils, morning glories, and tulips. The American Kennel Club recommends that pet owners do research before bringing plants into the home. The ASPCA maintains a list for reference.

Household chemicals

Cleaning, beauty, car, and home repair products should be kept in cabinets and drawers that pets can’t open. Dr. Ashmore advises that many toxins are sweet and they smell good, so pets seek them out. With antifreeze, you only have six hours to treat it; otherwise, it shuts down the kidneys.

Veterinary medicines

Chewable medications are “super tasty to pets, which means once they try it, they may try to get into the entire container,” the ASPCA says.


The ingredients that make these poisons appealing to mice and rats also make them appealing to pets. They can cause bleeding, kidney failure, and seizures in dogs. Dr. Ashmore advises people to consider whether they are necessary. “Do you really need rat poison around the house?” he said.


Ant baits, bug sprays, and lawn chemicals can all be problematic when spring arrives. Dr. Ashmore recommends that pet owners understand what their landscapers are using and look for pet-safe alternatives.

The Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at (888) 426-4435 if you believe your pet has ingested something toxic. They receive nearly 5% more calls each year, according to the ASPCA. Although symptoms can arise quickly, it can take up to 72 hours for them to appear, resulting in pet owners believing their pet is fine when it is not. Seek advice immediately if your dog ingests anything from the aforementioned list.