Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

20 Common Household Items That Are Poisonous to Dogs (Vet-Reviewed)

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

person cleaning the floor

20 Common Household Items That Are Poisonous to Dogs (Vet-Reviewed)


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

There are some items in your home you know your dog shouldn’t get into because they are toxic to canines. But there’s probably a lot more you don’t know about that can be poisonous to dogs. It turns out we have several items hiding in our homes—from foods to chemicals—that can be hazardous to our pups’ health.

If you want to ensure your home is as safe as can be for your canine pal, check out the list below. We’ve put 20 common household items that are poisonous to dogs on it; using this, you can get rid of or lock up anything that could potentially be a danger to your pet!

dogster paw divider

The 20 Common Household Items That Are Poisonous to Dogs

1. Alcohol

a bottle and glasses of alcohol
Image Credit: luctheo, Pixabay
Category: Drink
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Diarrhea, vomiting, lack of coordination, trouble breathing, death

You know better than to give your dog alcohol, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a way to get into it themselves. Maybe they knock over a bottle of something and start licking it up, or perhaps someone doesn’t clean up a spill as well as they thought they did. Either way, your dog drinking alcohol can be dangerous. Alcohol can affect dogs similarly to humans, meaning they can suffer a lack of coordination and vomiting. Plus, alcohol can lead to liver and kidney damage in dogs, just like in humans. And if your dog consumes too much alcohol, it can result in a coma and even death. So, make sure your alcohol is far out of reach from your pup!

2. Antifreeze

Image Credit: nikkytok, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Stumbling around, trouble getting up, increased respiratory rate, kidney failure, death

You may keep your bottle of antifreeze up high on a shelf in the garage, but our canine friends can ingest this chemical in other ways. What is the most common way dogs get into antifreeze? Via an antifreeze leakage from your car. Your pup can find a puddle of antifreeze on the ground and decide to try it out. And because it’s believed this chemical tastes sweet to pups, they may continue licking it up. Unfortunately, even a tiny amount of antifreeze can be fatal for dogs.

And the worst thing is, you might not realize your pet has consumed antifreeze until it’s too late, as the second stage of antifreeze poisoning often has your pup acting like they’re totally fine. So, keep an eye out for any antifreeze leaking from your car onto the driveway or in the garage!

3. Medication

Pill botle on countertop
Image Credit: Chris Soucy, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Diarrhea, vomiting, ulcerations, kidney damage, inability to walk, overdose

You already know you should be careful with human medications around your dog. Meds like Tylenol, ibuprofen, and even multivitamins can negatively affect your canine pal. Ibuprofen, for example, can result in not only diarrhea and vomiting but gastrointestinal ulceration, damage to the kidneys, and death.

But did you know you should be careful with your dog’s medication, too? Dogs tend not to like medication, so it is often flavored to make it more palatable. And if your dog gets into their meds when you’re not around, they could consume a whole lot more than they should and end up overdosing.

No matter whether it’s human or canine medication, be sure to keep it somewhere secure.

4. Xylitol

bowl of Xylitol
Image Credit: morisfoto, Shutterstock
Category: Food
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures, vomiting, death

You may or may not be familiar with xylitol, but it’s a product used as a sugar replacement in everything from candy to drinks to toothpaste. It’s everywhere, and it’s highly toxic to canines. Even a very tiny amount of this can cause death in dogs, so it’s vital to keep it far away from anywhere your pup could get into it.

The most common cause of xylitol poisoning is sugar-free gum (according to the Pet Poison Helpline), so you definitely want to keep that away from curious canines. This is one of those items where if you suspect your dog has ingested it, you need to contact your vet immediately or contact a poison control hotline.

5. Bar Soap

soap bars stacked together
Image Credit: christiancmccorbeti, Pixabay
Category: Cleaning
Poison Level: Medium
Side Effects: Upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lethargy

The good news is most dogs aren’t interested in eating bar soap. However, if you have a puppy around or a dog dealing with pica, they could get into your shower and eat your soap. Depending on what kind of soap you have and how much your pup eats, this could result in an upset stomach, damage to internal organs, a blockage in the intestines, or even death. Why is there such a range of reactions to bar soap? Bar soap can sometimes contain ingredients that are poisonous to dogs.

If your bar soap has glycerin in it, it can severely upset a dog’s stomach. Essential oils, particularly pine, wintergreen, and lavender, can be deadly. If a bar of soap has lye, this will have a corrosive effect that could cause drooling and an upset stomach. And if your dog eats a large chunk out of bar soap, it could lead to a blockage of some kind. Try to keep the soap out of reach!

6. Batteries

batteries from different brands
Image Credit: Didgeman, Pixabay
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Irritation, ulcerations, perforation of the intestinal lining, tissue necrosis, abdominal pain

Batteries are everywhere in our homes, from the TV remote to key fobs. Unfortunately, if your dog eats a battery, it could do some serious damage. The kind of damage depends on what type of battery they eat and whether they just chew on it or actually swallow it, though.

The most common batteries (alkaline or acid, like AAs) are corrosive and can cause irritation and ulcerations in the mouth, intestinal tract, and esophagus. Those little button batteries you find in key fobs and similar items can, if swallowed, can cause severe damage and even perforation to the gastrointestinal tract. And lithium-ion batteries are so incredibly corrosive that they can cause tissue necrosis in less than 30 minutes!

Batteries are a fact of life, but you can help keep your pup safe by keeping anything containing batteries out of reach and keeping batteries stored away.

7. Bread Dough

bread dough on the table
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock
Category: Food
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Trouble walking, gassiness, vomiting, blindness, loss of consciousness

Wait, really? Bread dough? Yep. Bread dough containing yeast can be highly dangerous for your pup if they eat it. Why, exactly, would bread dough cause problems? Because yeast makes ethanol, and when your dog ingests the dough, it rises in the stomach, producing ethanol. And that can lead to symptoms of drunkenness, like vomiting, issues with walking, and even a loss of consciousness. Not only that, but the dough rising in your pet’s stomach can lead to gassiness, bloating, and possibly even twisting of the stomach.

Having your pet treated right away typically means the prognosis will be good. However, it’s best to simply keep bread dough far away from your dog in the first place.

8. Cleaning Products

person doing home cleaning while dog is lying on the floor
Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical/Cleaning
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Vomiting, abdominal pain, coma, trouble breathing, sores and blisters

You already know this one, but it’s good to be reminded. Cleaning products, like bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, and bleach. can be extremely dangerous to your pet—and not only if they’re ingested. Cleaning products can also affect your dog if they breathe them in or come into physical contact with them.

Instead of keeping harsh cleaners like bleach and ammonia around, keep pet-friendly cleaners.

If you are interested in an all-natural ezyme cleaner, our favorite is the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray. It does an excellent job of successfully lifting set-in stains and odors the first time without odor masking. It's available in 3 light scent options - Neutral, Citrus Splash, and Floral Fresh. Best of all, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee - click here to learn more. 

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray
473 Reviews
Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray
  • ADVANCED ENZYMATIC CLEANER - Penetrates the most stubborn smells and stains at the deepest molecular...
  • FOR ANY MESS, ON ANY SURFACE - This pet odor eliminator cleans your carpets, floors, furniture,...
  • FRESH, NATURAL ODOR - Our unique formulation doesn't rely on dangerous or unpleasant chemical...

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool pet company!

9. Coffee

cup of coffee on white ceramic saucer
Image Credit: Emre, Unsplash
Category: Drink
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Excessive thirst, abnormal rhythm of the heart, tremors, vomiting, death

You know chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you know that part of the reason is due to the caffeine it contains? Caffeine is a big no for our canine companions. Dogs who have caffeine can get jittery and restless; plus, this substance can make their blood pressure higher and cause abnormal heart rhythms. Too much caffeine in a dog (and it doesn’t take much) can be fatal.

So, even if your pup is trying to stick their snout into your morning cup of joe, don’t let them! Also, keep coffee beans, grounds, and any medications containing caffeine somewhere your pet can’t get to them.

10. Fabric Softener Sheets

laundry detergent
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
Category: Cleaning
Poison Level: Low to High
Side Effects: Skin irritation, pulmonary edema, upset stomach, vomiting, kidney failure

A lot of people use fabric softener sheets, but it may not have crossed their mind that these can be dangerous for dogs. Fabric softener sheets work because they’re coated in chemicals designed to remove static cling; these chemicals move from the sheets to the clothing when in the dryer. Those chemicals can be poisonous to canines, depending on what type they are.

Many fabric softener sheets contain cationic detergents, which can affect a dog’s entire body. These detergents are corrosive, so they can lead to injury to the mucous membrane, mouth ulcers, fever, upset stomach, and even fluid in the lungs. It just depends on exactly what chemicals were used in your fabric softener sheets and how much your pup ate. This is another item you want to keep stored away somewhere safe.

11. Insecticides & Rodenticides

Pile of rat poison on floor
Image Credit: Africa-Studio, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Drooling, weakness, uncontrolled urination, collapse, death

Here’s another obvious one—insecticides and rodenticides are poisonous to dogs. In fact, insecticide is in the top ten items that cause toxicity in pets, and rodenticides are extremely dangerous for pups and another common reason for pet poisonings. The reason these are so harmful to canines is, of course, the chemicals in them. Insecticides and rodenticides vary in which chemicals are used in them, and how those chemicals affect the pest you’re trying to get rid of can affect your pup the same way.

And it isn’t just your dog getting into a container or trap with these items that can harm them. If you spray the lawn with an insecticide and your dog walks across not long after and then licks their paws, they could be in danger. So, exercise caution when using these items.

12. Laundry Detergent

person pouring liquid detergent to the cap for laundry
Image Credit: mpohodzhay, Shutterstock
Category: Cleaning
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Vomiting, lethargy, bubbles in the nose, aspiration, burns in the mouth

It turns out your laundry room is more dangerous than you thought. It isn’t only fabric softener sheets that can harm your dog; laundry detergent can, too. In fact, detergent can be downright deadly due to its corrosive nature. It may take as little as a single pod of detergent for your dog to show signs of toxicity, like vomiting and lethargy. But the most lethal outcome for dogs who consume laundry detergent is aspiration pneumonitis, or an accumulation of fluid in the lungs after something poisonous is ingested or inhaled.

It’s best to keep items used in the laundry room up high or locked away so your pup can’t get to them!

13. Macadamia Nuts

Image Credit: Aedka Studio, Shutterstock
Category: Food
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Lack of coordination, vomiting, depression, overheating, lethargy

Nuts, in general, aren’t great for dogs as they have a lot of salt and fat, but macadamia nuts should be avoided entirely. No one is quite sure why macadamia nuts cause dogs to react like they do, but if your pup eats even a small amount of these nuts, you could be looking at severe symptoms. The worst part is that these nuts can be somewhat sneaky, as they’re often in baked goods or even trail mixes, so you might not have noticed their presence before you feed something to your pup.

Keep macadamia nuts far away from your pet, and be careful with any foods you give them that run the risk of containing even the tiniest bit of macadamia nuts!

14. Wild Mushrooms

Death cap mushroom
IImage Credit: Janny2, Shutterstock
Category: Food
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Severe gastrointestinal upset, watery eyes, neurological symptoms, liver failure, death

Depending on where you live, you might have wild mushrooms growing in your yard, and if your dog eats the wrong one, it could be fatal. Unfortunately, some of the most toxic mushrooms have a rather “fishy” odor, which can be attractive to canines, making them more likely to eat them. But if your pet licks or consumes a death cap, Deadly Agaric, false morel, or any number of other mushrooms, they could experience not only extreme stomach upset but seizures, jaundice, and even death.

If wild mushrooms grow in your area, you may not know right away if your dog has eaten one, and you probably won’t know which one they’ve eaten if they become ill. So, keep an extremely close eye on your dog near wild mushrooms, or try to get rid of any you find so your pup isn’t tempted.

15. Fertilizer

Farmers hands holding mineral fertilizers
Image Credit: RossHelen, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: Low to Medium
Side Effects: Mild stomach upset, bloat (rarely), soreness, muscle stiffness, tremors

Fond of gardening? Do you use fertilizer in your garden? Then, you want to keep it in a safe place where your pup can’t reach it. A lot of fertilizers contain ingredients such as corn, fish meal, or bone meal, making them seem like a tasty treat to your dog. And, for the most part, if your pet eats fertilizer, they’ll only end up dealing with some mild stomach upset.

However, there are exceptions. For example, if you use fertilizer containing insecticides or pesticides and your pet eats it, the results could be much deadlier. Or if your fertilizer has started to mold, your dog could suffer tremors or seizures due to mycotoxins. Plus, dogs who eat a ton of fertilizer can occasionally end up with bloat (they would have to eat a lot, though).

So, even though fertilizer is mostly only mildly harmful to dogs, you still want to be careful with it.

16. Plants

dog standing near plants
Image Credit: Ulrika Merk, Shutterstock
Category: Decorative
Poison Level: Low to High
Side Effects: Stomach upset, diarrhea, internal bleeding, irritation to the mouth, convulsions

Speaking of gardening—there are several plants that are poisonous to dogs that you might have in your home and yard. The effects these poisonous plants can have on canines can range from mild stomach upset to convulsions, kidney failure, and death. And there are some pretty common plants on this list of poisonous plants! There are even trees that are poisonous to dogs!

Take a look at the list of poisonous plants to find out which you should avoid having around.

17. Tobacco

Tobacco leaves and cut tobacco on the table
Image Credit: sisi2017, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Stomach upset, hyperactivity, excess salivation, muscle weakness, coma

If you’re a smoker of cigarettes, cigars, or vapes or if you chew tobacco, you should be very careful where you place your butts and tobacco. Your dog can easily come along and eat some cigarette or cigar butts or get into your tobacco pouch, and tobacco is poisonous to dogs because of the nicotine. If your pup only eats a small amount of tobacco, you’ll be looking at symptoms such as hyperactivity, rapid breathing, and vomiting. However, if they eat a lot, then it could be fatal.

Watch out for cigarette butts when you’re walking your dog or out at the park, too! Even if you aren’t a smoker, your pet could still manage to get their paws on nicotine, leading to deadly consequences.

18. Toilet Water

Jack Russell on the toilet
Image Credit: thka Shutterstock
Category: Drink
Poison Level: Medium to High
Side Effects: Stomach upset, bacterial infection, irritation to the mouth, sore throat, drooling

Dogs are somewhat notorious for enjoying drinking out of the toilet bowl, but that habit could be more harmful to their health than you imagined. It isn’t only that toilet water can contain tons of bacteria that your pet can ingest, which could lead to a bacterial infection, but the cleaners used in your toilet bowl can cause damage. Think about the toilet drop-ins or the cleaner you use to clean the toilet bowl; now, consider the chemicals those items contain.

These sorts of cleaners can have all kinds of chemicals in them that could be poisonous to your pet. Even if you restrict your dog from the toilet bowl for several hours after you clean it, a cleaner could be poorly diluted and still linger, so it could be toxic. And if you use the drop-ins that go in the reservoir of your toilet, it means chemicals are being released each time you flush. These chemicals can have a range of symptoms, too, from stomach upset or irritation around the mouth to being fatal.

19. De-icers

man spraying de-icer
Image Credit: Mateusz Sommer, Shutterstock
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: Low
Side Effects: Upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, irritated paws, higher sodium levels in the blood

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, you probably have a need for de-icers. However, most de-icers are poisonous to dogs. The most common de-icers contain chloride salts, calcium carbonate, and calcium magnesium acetate, all of which can cause gastrointestinal upset in canines if licked. They can also cause your pup to have higher levels of sodium in the blood, which isn’t safe. Plus, de-icers can easily irritate the skin of your dog’s paws.

Less commonly used are de-icers containing ethylene glycol, which, as you know, is an ingredient in antifreeze and is toxic to dogs. This kind of de-icer can be deadly if ingested, so check the labels carefully on any de-icers you’re considering to ensure you aren’t getting this type.

You may not be able to avoid using de-icers in winter, but you can keep your pet away from them as much as possible or use an alternative that’s more pet-friendly, like kitty litter or sand.

20. Heavy Metals

a variety of coins in a glass jar
Image Credit: mnplatypus, Pixabay
Category: Chemical
Poison Level: High
Side Effects: Abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, shock

This is a less common type of poisoning, but it isn’t impossible for heavy metal poisoning to occur in dogs, as there may be more heavy metals in your home than you think. If your dog eats a handful of pennies, it could lead to zinc poisoning. If batteries or linoleum are chewed on or consumed, it could lead to lead poisoning. Even those hand warmers commonly used in winter contain iron powder; if a dog ingests one before the iron powder has been activated, it could be lethal.

You might want to do a sweep of your home to see what you might have that contains heavy metals so you can put it far out of reach of your pup.

dogster face divider

How Can I Keep My Home Safe for My Dog?

You’re probably wondering by now how you can pet-proof your home to keep it safer for your dog. Don’t worry; we’re here with some tips that will help keep your pup from getting their paws on anything they shouldn’t!

  • Always keep the toilet lid down.
  • Use childproof latches on cabinet doors.
  • Keep anything harmful (such as items on this list) out of reach by placing it up high, in a cabinet with childproof latches, or in an area where your dog isn’t allowed.
  • Invest in a trash can that not only has a lid but has one that locks.
  • If you drop a pill when taking medication and it rolls somewhere, hunt it down and toss it out.
  • Keep poisonous plants out of your home.
  • If you have poisonous plants, shrubs, or trees in your yard, remove them, keep your dog away from them at all times, or surround them with chicken wire or something similar that will keep your pet away.
  • Always clean antifreeze leaks up!
  • If your dog can reach it, it isn’t a place where poisonous things should be set out.
  • Utilize gates in your home if there’s an area your pup shouldn’t be in.
  • Invest in pet-safe cleaners, de-icers, and the like.
  • Always keep an eye on your pet.
  • If you’re leaving the house and your dog is staying, either crate them or limit them to a specific area that you know is entirely pet-proof.
  • Don’t feed your pet human food without talking to your vet.
  • Know the number of the pet poison hotline or how to reach your vet after hours in case of emergency.

Utilizing these tips will go a long way in helping your dog remain safe while at home!

happy young woman cuddling australian shepherd dog while sitting on couch
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

dogster paw divider


There are a lot more common household items that are poisonous to dogs than you might imagine. But if you know what these items are, you can keep your dog safe. Be sure to keep anything that could be dangerous far out of your pet’s reach, and remember to keep an eye on your pup at all times to ensure they aren’t getting into things they shouldn’t. By doing this, your favorite canine pal will be a lot less likely to ingest something that could harm them!

Featured Image Credit: Freedomz, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.