Chemicals and Household Items Toxic to Dogs

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in America, and for good reason. Man’s best friend is loyal, loving, funny and—often times—mischievous. Of course, our pets’ curious nature can sometimes lead them to get into places they shouldn’t be.


Antifreeze is a chemical that’s commonly used in car radiators to cool the engine.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which acts as a solvent and lubricant for your car’s engine. It also has a sweet taste that makes it appealing when you accidentally spill it on your shoes or driveway. But if you have a curious dog that likes to lick up spills from cars, he could ingest antifreeze and become sick as a result.

Even if your dog just licks his paws where he walked through an area where antifreeze had leaked out of the radiator, he may ingest enough of it to become ill or die within 24 hours of ingestion (the time frame can depend on how much antifreeze was ingested).

If your dog has ingested antifreeze, call 911 immediately! Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy/depression; these show up within 1-2 hours after ingestion but can occur up to 18 hours later if not treated quickly enough.


Bleach is not a good choice for cleaning up dog or pet accidents.

Bleach can cause burns, irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs. It can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in animals who ingest it. Because of this, it’s important that you store bleach out of reach of your pets at all times. If your dog does have an accident inside your home, immediately clean up any messes with soap and water so that they don’t have access to the bleach-laced urine or feces left behind—your pet could ingest these chemicals if they are still present in addition to whatever was spilled on the ground or on furniture surfaces nearby!

Common household plants

Keep in mind that while many plants are toxic to dogs, they can be safely kept out of reach with a window-mounted air conditioner. Citrus and avocado trees, for example, have been used as guard dogs in the past—but their branches are poisonous!

For those of you who want to know what’s safe and what isn’t, here’s our list of top 10 houseplants toxic to dogs:

  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
  • Lily (Lilium spp.)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Human medications

Human medications are generally toxic to dogs if ingested. This is because the dose of each substance in a human drug is not necessarily matched to an animal’s weight and body composition, which can make all the difference in whether or not it causes problems.

Many medications can be dangerous if they’re taken by themselves, so keep them safely out of reach unless you’re actually giving them to your dog (and following instructions on how much they should take). If you suspect that your dog has ingested a medication, contact your vet right away so he or she can help determine whether there’s been any harm done.

Household cleaners

Here is a list of common household cleaners, along with their toxic ingredients that you should avoid if your dog happens to ingest them:

  • Ammonia
  • Drain cleaner (This can cause burns on the skin, mouth, and esophagus.)
  • Furniture polish
  • Laundry detergent (Detergents contain sodium hydroxide—more commonly known as lye—which is highly corrosive.)


  • Don’t leave toxic chemicals where your dog can reach them. The ASPCA has an extensive list of substances that are toxic to dogs, including the following:
  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach/bleaching products (dishwasher detergent, toilet bowl cleaner)
  • Carbon monoxide from car exhaust fumes or any other source not meant for indoor use (such as charcoal grills)

It’s important to be aware of any toxic chemicals or plants in your house that could cause harm to your dogs. This includes cleaning products, common household plants and antifreeze. These items are used often and can be dangerous to you and your pet!