Home Improvement

Common Household Items That Are Dangerous for Dogs To Chew

Once you bring home a new pet, you enter into an unspoken agreement of trust and care. When getting a dog, whether it’s a small breed like a Spoodle or a working breed like an Australian Cattle Dog, you become their guardian and protector. These loyal companions rely on us for their safety, comfort, and well-being. However, what many pet owners might not realise is that amidst the cosy corners and familiar spaces of our homes lie hidden dangers that could compromise the health of our furry friends. 

Learning about often-overlooked household hazards that pose a risk to dogs can help you keep your pet safe. By fostering an understanding of these dangers and offering strategies to mitigate them, we can honour our commitment to our pets, ensuring their homes are not just a place of love, but also of safety.

Common Household Items That Are Dangerous for Dogs To Chew On

1. Foods Toxic to Dogs

Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: These contain substances called methylxanthines, which, when ingested by dogs, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death.

Grapes and Raisins: The exact toxic substance is unknown, but these fruits can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Xylitol: This sugar substitute found in many sugar-free products, including gum and candy, can lead to liver failure and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives: These can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia.

2. Dangerous Plants

Many common houseplants are toxic to dogs, causing symptoms ranging from mild nausea to severe poisoning. Examples include:

Lilies: Particularly dangerous to cats, certain lilies are also toxic to dogs, causing gastrointestinal upset, arrhythmia, and convulsions.

Sago Palm: Ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, liver failure, or even death.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons: These contain toxins that can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, coma, and potentially death.

3. Household Chemicals

Household cleaners, antifreeze, paint, and even certain types of glue can be toxic to dogs. Ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, is particularly lethal and can cause rapid kidney failure.

4. Small Objects and Toys

Small objects that can be easily swallowed pose a significant risk for intestinal blockage or choking. This includes small toys, coins, jewellery, and even certain types of dog toys not suited to a dog’s size and strength.

5. Medications

Human medications, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, can have devastating effects on dogs. For example, ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure, while antidepressants can trigger vomiting, lethargy, or even serotonin syndrome.

Preventive Measures

To safeguard your dog from these household hazards, consider implementing the following strategies:

Food Safety

Establish a Pet-Safe Zone in the Kitchen: Use gates or barriers to keep dogs out of the kitchen during meal preparation and cleaning, preventing accidental access to toxic foods or dangerous items.

Educate the Household: Ensure that all family members, including children, understand which foods are hazardous to dogs and the importance of not feeding these to pets, intentionally or accidentally.

Plant Safety

Pet-Safe Plant Guide: Create a reference list of safe and toxic plants for easy access, helping everyone in the household make informed decisions when purchasing new plants or flowers.

Use Physical Barriers: Consider using plant stands, shelves, or hanging planters to keep toxic plants out of reach. Alternatively, opt for pet-safe indoor gardens that are enclosed or elevated.

Chemicals and Medications

Clearly Label and Organise: Use clear, bold labels on all chemicals and medications, indicating which are dangerous to pets. Organise these items in a way that makes it easy to keep hazardous substances separate from those that are pet-safe.

Immediate Clean-Up Protocol: Establish a household rule for immediate clean-up of any spills or leaks from chemicals, ensuring that pets do not come into contact with these substances.

Toy and Object Safety

Regular Toy Inspection and Rotation: Schedule weekly inspections of your dog’s toys to check for any signs of damage or wear that could pose a choking hazard. Rotating toys not only keeps your dog interested but allows you to remove damaged toys before they become dangerous.

Educate on Small Object Dangers: Make sure all family members are aware of the risks associated with small objects left within reach of pets. Encourage the use of secure baskets or boxes to store small items securely.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Contact List: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including the nearest 24-hour veterinary clinic, poison control centre, and a backup contact in case of personal unavailability. This list should be accessible to all household members and possibly kept both physically and digitally for easy access.

First-Aid Kit for Pets: Maintain a pet-specific first-aid kit that includes items recommended by your veterinarian for treating minor injuries or stabilising your pet in the case of ingestion of toxic substances until professional help can be reached.

Training and Supervision

Obedience Training: Teach your dog basic commands such as “leave it” or “drop it” to prevent them from ingesting harmful items. Regular reinforcement of these commands can be a lifesaver in potentially dangerous situations.

Supervised Exploration: Especially for puppies and curious dogs, supervise their exploration of new environments. Use this as an opportunity to reinforce training and identify potential hazards you may have overlooked.


As guardians of our canine companions, it is our duty to ensure their environment is as safe as possible. While our homes are filled with love and comfort, they also harbour potential dangers that, if not addressed, can compromise the health and safety of our pets. By becoming aware of these hazards and taking proactive steps to mitigate them, we can create a safer space for our dogs to live and thrive. 

Let this guide be a starting point for a lifelong commitment to pet safety, a testament to the deep bond we share with our furry family members. Together, we can protect them from harm and ensure they enjoy a happy, healthy life by our side.

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