Poison Prevention for Dogs

Australian Shepherd type dog (black, tan and white face) sniffing a plan with red berries

It’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week and we wanted to share some tips to ensure your dogs stay safe. Accidents happen, but there is a lot we can do to ensure we avoid accidental poisoning. Much of it has to do with awareness, ensuring things are stowed safely out of your pet’s reach, and teaching some important skills that are useful in an emergency.

Household Items

There are many common household items that are fatal if ingested by dogs. It’s important to know what items are dangerous for them so that you can keep your pets safe. It’s best to keep poisonous items out of the home, but that is not always an option. For items that you must have inside, keep them in cupboards (we suggest locking them for young and curious dogs) and/or up in high areas out of their reach. Many dogs won’t ingest something that does not smell good, but they may inadvertently chew the container and ingest some of its contents or they may be curious and taste it – for many items, it only takes a small amount to be dangerous.

Some household items that are poisonous for dogs are:

  • Cleaning products
  • Medications
  • Insecticides (including bug spray), pesticides and rodenticides
  • Paints
  • Glue
  • Fertilizers


We encourage you to share safe foods with your dogs and let them enjoy more than just their kibble or meals. However, before you do this, it is important that you understand what items may be poisonous to your dog(s). Some may only cause stomach upset, while others are quite fatal, but it’s best to avoid all of the below.

Some food items that are poisonous for dogs are:

  • Chocolate (especially high-quality chocolate with lots of cocoa)
  • Xylitol (found in many sugar-free items and may be labelled as Birch Sugar)
  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Coffee and caffeine
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough


There are many that are toxic to dogs, so keep plants out of reach, particularly for young dogs/puppies who are more prone to ingesting items. The list is exhaustive, so we’ve included some more common ones below, but recommend checking out this link for full details before bringing plants into the house. Be aware of items in your yard as well and do not leave you dog unsupervised while they are outside. Dispose of plant clippings immediately and provide ample chew items to your dog to prevent them chewing on plant life outside.

Some common plants that are poisonous for dogs:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Azaleas
  • Citrus Plants
  • Dumb Cane
  • Elephant’s Ear
  • Holly
  • Lilies
  • Morning Glory
  • Poinsettias
  • Tulips
  • Sago Palm
  • Snake Plants

Out and About

There are too many things to list that may be fatal to your dog if ingested while outside with them. Supervision is key and don’t allow your dog to chew or ingest items and/or plant life. There are also some important skills to teach your dog in case there is an emergency.

Safety skills to teach:

  • Leave It – this skill instructs a dog to not pick up an item and move away from it. We add the important step of eye contact as this allows you to further direct the dog and avoid the temptation.
  • Drop It – this is critical if your dog picks an item up as it means drop what’s in your mouth. It takes a lot of practice and exchanges for high value items to work in a situation that you need your dog to drop something that may be fatal.
  • Recall – this is helpful to get your dog to move away from an item that may be dangerous and to keep them close for supervision. Calling your dog to come is tough when there is temptation, so practice this one often and make it highly rewarding.

Members, we have all the above videos under the Obedience Skills category of your online program. Be sure to practice these to keep your dogs safe.

Poison prevention requires a great deal of management to keep your dog safe. Know what items are poisonous in your household and keep them out of reach. Always check on new plants you bring into your home/yard and look up food before you give anything to your dog. A little bit of prevention goes a long way in keeping your dogs safe! If your dog does ingest something poisonous or if you are unsure if it is dangerous, contact your vet immediately.