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Poisons (General Overview)



The modern world is home to many chemicals, airborne substances, drugs, and plants that are poisonous to dogs. This article links to several everyday treatments guides for exposure to some of these common and dangerous substances.


What To Watch For


Some poisons are more obvious than others. Consider chemicals, paint, or tar on the skin, for example. Others are more insidious, from ingested plant material and drugs to surreptitiously consumed chemicals and inhaled substances.


Any sign of discomfort, agitation or pain must be investigated. Disorientation, vomiting, restlessness, staggering, depression, convulsions, lethargy, loss of appetite, twitching, dilated pupils, ulcers, diarrhea, heart palpitations, and coma can all be caused by various poisons.


Immediate Care


Those toxins for which immediate care should be sought include the following (click on the terms to open the guides):


Skin contact


  • Tar
  • Petroleum products
  • Household chemicals
  • Paint or paint remover
  • Gasoline
  • Stinging nettles
  • Bufo toad venom
  • Flea and tick medication




  • Smoke
  • Tear gas
  • Insecticides
  • Household chemicals




  • Alkalis
  • Acids
  • Household chemicals
  • Petroleum Products
  • All drugs


Poisonous Plants


  • English ivy
  • Foxglove
  • Hemlock
  • Mushrooms
  • Mistletoe
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily
  • Tulip


Immediate Care


Call the Pet Poison Helpline (1-855-213-6680) or your veterinarian immediately upon ingestion or exposure to a known or possible toxin. Moreover, do not induce vomiting or offer any antidotes without the advice of a veterinarian, toxicologist, or poison control specialist.




  1. Keep your dog away from work areas where contaminants are used.
  2. If you can’t keep your dog away, ensure all chemicals are safely contained and stored out of reach of inquisitive paws and noses.
  3. Do not keep poisonous plants in or around your home and watch for them while taking your dog outside.
  4. If you use insecticides and/or rodenticides, follow the instructions carefully and make sure the dog cannot reach the treated area(s). The same goes for dog-specific insecticides (flea and tick collars, shampoos, etc.)
  5. Keep human medications stored in a safe and secure location. Label them carefully and keep count of how many are in each container. This information will be extremely useful in case of ingestion or an overdose.


Comments  5

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  • 05/24/2013 09:22pm

    my mother in law feeds her dog half of everything she eats. ice cream,peanut butter,chocolate,bagels you name it and he gets it. she knows chocolate is bad for him so she only gives him a small amount. i know grapes are harmfuland onions and garlic what else should i let her know not to feed him. he is a heavy set pug

  • 06/07/2013 10:01pm

    tell her if she loves her dog why would she poison him . If you have to be firm or mean to save this pugs life then do so .

  • Is Naked Juice toxic?
    09/10/2013 09:58pm

    I have a four year old female Pug and she just has a thing for Naked juice! I can't find any answers if it's toxic to them. It's the strawberry banana kind. She is very picky about texture when it comes to food, but she really loves Naked juice. I was drinking some and she comes up to me and I could tell she wanted some, so I gave her a little cap full and she just slurped it right up while making a mess all over her face and myself. I have given her a cap full before and she was fine. I gave her maybe 7 or more cap fulls of the juice and she just kept coming back for more while making silly faces and her buggy eyes bugging out. I cut her off because I didn't think she should have anymore. My pug is my life and I would be devastated if she got sick or died from the juice... She seems fine now. She is sleeping and snoring as usual. I really would like to know if it's okay to give her some from time to time, or if it can make her sick. I share pretty much everything with her except for the toxic foods like chocolate, grapes/raisins, garlic and all the other stuff. I only share tiny bits of my food with her even though she always wants more. So, is the Naked juice toxic to dogs? Or even a pug? Or is it "okay" that I give it to my pug from time to time. Will she be okay? I really don't have the money to take her to the an emergency vet. But if it's serious, then I will take her.

    10/30/2015 03:09am

    Scleroderma polyrhizum is a common fungus that can kill or make your dog very ill ! Let me tell you my story. In august some years back I noticed an ugly leathery brown fungus pushing up through thru my gravel drive way it was cracking open and you could see a brown dust in it.well my little dog a pomerainian was sniffing around these few small fungi.
    I didn't think much of it . My dog became sick with yellow vomit and yellow soft poop he went to the vet and they didn't know what it was he could hardly walk and he was a young guy. I dug up the fungus and got rid of it.
    My dog got better after a few weeks. This of course does not prove the sclerodema polyrhizum was to blame. Until I visited my friend about a 1/4 mile away and at that time her pug had the same yellow vomit soft poop illness my dog had had.I asked her if she had an ugly brown black fungus. She said it recently cropped up in her gravel driveway. And sure enough it was the same stuff as in my yard. If you have this fungus I suggest you get rid of it if your dog can get to it and sniff up its nasty brown dust ! I almost lost my little dog. I also couldn't find any info on this anywhere including this web site.You can look up the fungus on the net so you can see what to look out for.

  • Are "regular" toads toxic
    11/10/2015 10:07am

    I had an 11 year old Border Collie, who was apparently in good health on Wednesday (2 weeks ago), then we noticed on Thursday that he hadn't eaten his food on Wednesday night, and was showing lethargy during the day on Thursday. We took him to the vet on Friday, who put him on an IV and medication for obvious jaundice. He passed away after midnight on Friday night. The Vet (and a later necropsy) shows a toxin in his liver. Could this be from a toad(s) that he ate? My internet search shows only 2 toads that are really toxic, and we don't live where they are. Are all "regular" toads toxic, and can this kill a dog, literally, in 3 days?