Poisons and your Dog

If your dog’s food isn’t dog food, it could be dangerous

Swallowing dangers for dogs

Please don’t let your dog be a victim of a swallowing danger. Follow these 4 simple steps;

Step 1: Prevent your dog from eating any more

Step 2: Phone ahead to your vet to ensure they are ready to receive your pet as an emergency case

Step 3: Collect the relevant wrapper or packaging with you

Step 4: Stay calm, get your dog to the vet, your pet may stay at the vets for some time (anything over an hour is quite normal)

If in doubt please call your vet immediately after your dog has eaten anything you are unsure about.

Act quickly, get your pet to the vet

Unfortunately, in every household, there are foods and substances which could cause your dog serious harm if they were swallowed. The answer is always to stay calm, collect the packaging and take your dog to your vet without delay.

Most swallowing dangers do not show symptoms until damage has already been done to your pet. This damage can be irreparable and nearly always causes pain and distress to your dog.

There are three main groups of swallowing dangers:

Poisons – like rat poison and antifreeze. These are the silent killers and can attack many body organs.

Caustics – caustic substances like bleach, household cleaners and petrol, these are corrosive materials.

Foreign bodies – these are objects like balls and toys, which dogs often swallow whilst chewing or playing. Similarly, we all to often see cases where dogs have hoovered up clothing such as socks, tights and underwear!

Remember – if the poison ingestion is presented to the vet quickly before symptoms are seen, there is a much better chance of a positive outcome.

Never – attempt to make your own dog sick, or try to make them drink or eat, unless a vet has prescribed treatment.

  • Plants
  • Slug Pellets
  • Chocolate
  • Household Cleaners
  • Onions
  • Sweeteners
  • Medicines
  • Grapes


Plants, there are over 180 poisonous plants, watch out for houseplants and cut flowers.

Slug Pellets

Slug pellets, antifreeze and garden chemicals can cause life-threatening conditions in just a few hours.


Chocolate, one of the best-known home poisoning risks, the higher the % age of cocoa (i.e. the darker the chocolate) the higher the risk. Here’s what to do if your dog has eaten chocolate.

Household Cleaners

Household cleaners, whether it’s an empty bottle or a toilet freshener. Please keep them away from your dog.


Onions of any sort cooked, dried or raw, watch out for your home cooking, takeaways and ready meals.


Artificial sweeteners in drinks, sweets, chewing gums, cakes and meals can act very quickly, Xylitol is particularly hazardous to dogs.


Keep medicines away from pets and children. Never give human medication or supplements to pets.


Grapesraisinscurrants and sultanas can all cause damage to your dog.

My dog has eaten chocolate

Vet Vanessa explains what you should do in an emergency situation if your dog has eaten chocolate.

Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
Return to Health Care Advice