20 Common Household Items That Are Dangerous For Pets

We all want our dogs and cats to live safe, long, and happy lives. But what you don't know may be secretly killing your pet. Or just lurking around the corner ready to strike. Look out for these 20 Common Household Items That Are Dangerous For Pets. Safeguard your pets and your home from an unfortunate accident. 

20 Dangerous Household Items For Pets

1. Houseplants

House plants can add a vibrancy and freshness to your home. But certain types can be dangerous for your pets. Easter lilies, aloe vera, daisies, daffodils, poinsettias, and carnations are just a few plants that are toxic to pets.

2. Medications

We all know that we should keep our medications out of reach of our pets. But do you know how serious the poison risk can be? Common human medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol), are dangerous and even fatal to pets, depending on the amount ingested. Some possible side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, kidney failure, and death. 

Another common pet poison hazard in your medicine cabinet is anti-depressant medication. They can cause serious harm with as little as one pill. Cat owners, take special care with Effexor - cats seem to like the taste.

Never administer human medications to your pet without a vet's instruction. Even a drug that is safe for pets should be checked for proper dosage.

3. Human Foods

dog eating chocolate

Certain human foods are not safe for pets and can be toxic or fatal if ingested. Some common offenders include avocadoes, unbaked yeast dough, xylitol-sweetened gum, raisins or grapes, and chocolate (especially dark chocolate).

See our list of Dangerous Human Foods for Dogs and Cats for more foods that are hazardous to pets.

4. Detergents

While you might not think twice about an open container of laundry soap by the washing machine, this hidden hazard could cause harm to your pet.

Pets, and especially dogs, seem to want to sniff and lick everything. Unfortunately, even a small amount of detergent can cause gastrointestinal symptoms if ingested or respiratory symptoms if inhaled. Watch especially for pre-packaged pods of detergent. These bite-sized detergent packs are too easy for a curious pooch to snatch and swallow.

5. Soaps and Candles

Soaps, candles, lotions, and other products often come in delicious flavours that smell good enough to eat. You may know these aren't food products, but your dog doesn't. Keep all soaps safely out of reach of nosy pets.

An extra caution around the holidays: these products are often wrapped as gifts. Never leave your pet around presents that may be filled with yummy-smelling contents. Your dog may not be able to resist.

6. Antifreeze

Everyone knows antifreeze kills pets, but do you know just how dangerous it is? The sweet-tasting liquid fools pets into thinking it's a tasty treat, but just a few licks of ethylene glycol-based antifreeze can cause deadly symptoms. 

What to do? Use a pet-friendly antifreeze that contains the less toxic anti-freezing agent, propylene glycol. It has a more bitter taste, so it's less of an attractant. Always keep any antifreeze well out of reach of pets and children and clean up spills quickly and completely. 

Did you know that paint, cosmetics, and snow globes can also contain ethylene glycol? Keep these stored safely out of reach. 

dog dangerous paint

7. Household Cleaners

Chemical household cleaners should always be stored where pets cannot reach them. Refrain from using automatic or in-tank toilet bowl cleaners, even if you keep the lid closed. But the threat of cleaners goes beyond ingestion and poison risk.

Fume inhalation from household cleaners is an often overlooked hazard to pets. Always ventilate well when cleaning and keep your pet in a different room if possible. Use pet friendly cleaners or natural cleaners without irritants such as Nature's Miracle. Check safety labels. For your safety and your pet's, never mix cleaners. 

Consider going the natural, chemical-free route for surfaces your pet is closest to: floors, furniture, and anything pet-level. 

8. Mothballs

Mothballs can protect your closets from pesky moths and other insects if used correctly, but they can also pose a deadly risk to your pets. Mothballs may seem innocuous, but they often contain multiple insecticides which are slowly released as a vapour. Secondarily, they come in a convenient size to be easily swallowed by unsuspecting dogs. 

Stay clear especially of older-style mothballs containing the toxin napthalene, but new PDB-based mothballs are hazards as well. Stay clear of all mothballs if possible. 

9. Rodenticides

What kills rodents can seriously harm or kill pets if ingested in large enough quantities. Rodenticides are one of the top ten common pet poisons. 

Try a pet-safe rodent removal option. While live traps and glue traps are better than rodentcides, try the safer options: electronic or snap traps.

10. Packing Peanuts

Pets can't seem to resist these ubiquitous packing materials, but packing peanuts could cost your pet a trip to the vet. If ingested, packing peanuts could cause intestinal blockages requiring surgery to remove.  

11. Garbage

Your pet should never have access to your garbage, and it may not be for the obvious reasons. Your pet could get into table scraps that could be unhealthy for them or contain toxins. But thrown-out packaging can also pose a threat to garbage-foraging pets. Cats have been known to get their heads stuck in tin cans while attempting to clean out the contents. 

12. String

Yarn, dental floss, rubber bands, hair ties, tinsel, and anything stringy can be hazardous to the dogs and cats in your home. Cats, especially, love playing with string, but the seemingly harmless strands could get ingested and cause blockages, or your pet could become entangled and even strangled by them. 

13. Baby and Kid Toys

dangerous baby toys for dogs

While they may sometimes look similar, pet toys and kid toys should always be kept separate. Many toys contain removable parts, small balls, and eyes that could be swallowed by a playful pet. 

Check pet toys regularly for tears and damage, and remove or fix promptly. 

14. Holiday Decorations

Most pet owners aren't thinking about their pets when they are busy decorating for the holidays. But many common holiday decorations can be hazardous to dogs and cats. 

Bows, ribbons, and tinsel all pose an ingestion or strangulation risk. Candles and fires can be knocked over or brushed past and spread. Choose durable, larger ornaments over smaller ones that could be broken or ingested. 

15. Vet Medications

While vet medications may be prescribed and safe for your pet, they are still a common danger to pets. Keep all medications well out of reach of pets. 

Always read for the proper dosage to give your pet. If you are unsure of your pet's weight, try holding your pet on a scale with yourself, weigh yourself alone, and then subtract to find your pet's weight. Never guess. The wrong dose can be fatal.

Never give a product designed for cats to a dog, and vice versa. 

16. Yard Supplies

Common yard supplies, such as fertilizer, insecticides, and mulch (specifically made from cocoa) can be fatal if ingested by dogs or cats. Always keep these items in secure containers out of reach of pets. Keep your dog and cat off of your lawn for a few days after fertilizing for safety.

17. Lead

Lead is a secret killer. While most of today's products no longer contain lead, there are still plenty of sources of lead around. Pay speciall attention if you live in an old house or if you have antiques.

Test old paint on walls for lead and cover with newer, safer paint. Be very careful to use proper precautions and ventilation when renovating, especially an older home. Watch for chipped old paint. 

18. Blinds

cat looking through blinds

Blinds are a well-known hazard to pets and children. However, even newer, easy-release blind cords can be hazardous to pets.

Small pets can still become tangled in blind cords, unable to release themselves. Pets may get stuck between blinds and strangled. 

19. Plastic Bags

Cats and dogs alike love sticking their noses in small spaces. Unfortunately, when that space is a plastic bag, they may not be able to get out. Plastic bags over the head of an animal or a child may cut off air supply and cause asphyxiation. 

20. Pet Chews

Pet chews are a popular item for dog owners, and are safe when used as directed. However, leaving your pet unattended with a pet chew is dangerous. Particularly dangerous are rawhide bones and chews, which can become soft, tear, and become a choking hazard. 

By all means, feed your pet chews, but remove them when they become too soft and never leave your dog unsupervised with one. 

Be aware of these dangerous household items for pets. With proper precautions, you can know that you are doing what you can for your pet's safety and well-being. Spread the word!