About Poisons and Your Puppy

It is as important to "puppy proof" your home as it is to "child proof it! Knowledge is your best poison proofing strategy. Let me start by saying that I am not a veterinarian! You should not take any veterinary advice from me or from anyone who does not have the title Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) attached to her name. Even very experienced breeders, trainers, groomers or pet sitters are not qualified to give you veterinary advice!

You are wise to seek your veterinarian’s advice if one of us tells you that in our experience we do not think something is ‘normal’.  The information in this article was given to me by Darcy Schofil D.V.M. and Alison Williams D.V.M of Cahaba Mountain Brook Animal Clinic. You can trust their advice!

Both Dr. Schofil and Dr. Williams remind you that some things that would not harm a toddler can certainly harm your puppy! Here is a short list of things that might be alright for children but not for your puppy:

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Mushrooms
  • Dairy
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Spicy foods
  • Avocado
  • Yeast and dough
  • Sugar free candy and gum
  • Ham
  • Nutmeg
  • Chives
  • Broccoli
  • Macadamia nuts

Both veterinarians remind you that you are wise to refrain from giving your puppy ‘people food’. If you are one of those that just can’t resist, at least you now of list of foods to avoid sharing!

Dr. Schofil gave me a list of items that while they may not be poisonous, are certainly dangerous for your puppy to ingest:

  • Seeds
  • Pits
  • Cooked and raw bones
  • Whole nuts in the shell like walnuts, hickory nuts, and pecans
  • Golf balls
  • Socks
  • Panty hose

She says that items such as these can become lodged in your pup’s digestive track can cause painful and deadly blockages.

Awareness of potential danger is your first step in preventing tragedies.

Another thing to avoid letting your puppy get is chocolate. Dark chocolate and premium chocolate rich in cocoa are very dangerous to your puppy. Be aware of where your puppy is anytime the chocolate is flowing at your house. 

Caffeine is poisonous to your puppy! Remember that caffeine is in many things other than coffee.  Many cola products contain caffeine. Energy drinks and even chocolate ice cream are on the no-no list for your puppy.

Tobacco is also poisonous to your puppy! This includes products containing nicotine such as lozenges, gum, and patches. Please keep e-cigarettes and e-liquid away from your puppy. Your puppy might get in serious medical distress from destroying an e-cigarette!

In the early 1980’s I had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Sasha. Sasha loved beer. We did not give it to her, but she took every possible opportunity to knock one over and lap it up! I admit that back then in my ignorance, I considered this to be more funny than dangerous. I know better now! Alcohol is a deadly poison to your puppy. Keep your puppy under your control when alcohol is present. This also goes for so called ‘recreational drugs’ such as marijuana.

You are wise to keep all human medication out of reach of your puppy.

Even if the medication can be safely given to your puppy the dosage is far different from your dose. Keep in mind that your bedside table or bathroom counter is, in your puppy’s mind, within reach!

Chemicals are as poisonous to your puppy as they are to your toddler! Store your chemicals out of reach of puppies and toddlers. Keep in mind that your puppy does not typically wear shoes. This means that things on the ground such as antifreeze, deicers and even salt that has been used to cover icy patches can be lethal to your puppy. (pups and cold weather)

As with humans, it is highly recommended to keep a puppy first aid kit. You may wish to keep this next to your family’s first aid kit. Be sure to include the number for the Animal Poison Control Center. (1-888-426-4435) (Please be aware that there may be a charge for calling the center.)

Both Dr. Schofil and Dr. Williams say that awareness of potential danger is your first step in preventing tragedies. They caution you not to become paranoid, but to become informed. They recommend that you discuss potential poisons and other hazards with your puppy’s veterinarian.  The poisons listed in this article, while common, are certainly not the only ones that you should be aware of!