Keeping Your Dog Safe From Poisons

Did you know that Poison Prevention Week starts March 18th? Our canine friends are very curious and playful, but don’t necessarily know what is and is not safe for them. Here, a Somerville, MA vet discusses some common things that can be poisonous to dogs.


If there’s one thing we know about dogs, it’s that they love food. However, many popular people foods are toxic to Fido. Never give your pup anything that contains garlic, onions, scallions, or chives; nuts; xylitol; grapes, currants, or raisins; pitted fruit; avocados; chocolate; or caffeine. Ask your vet for more information on safe and unsafe foods.

Household Chemicals

Many household chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, paint, and dish soap, are toxic to dogs. Laundry pods are also poisonous, as are paint, glues, and varnishes. Keep these things in secure cabinets, well out of paws’ reach!


Both prescription and OTC medications can be dangerous—and even deadly—to pets. Dogs also sometimes like to chew on the packages or containers. Keep medications in spots Fido can’t reach.

Lawn/Garden Products

Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers often contain powerful chemicals that are toxic to dogs. Fido could get sick just by running through a recently treated spot and then licking his paws. If you apply these products to your lawn or garden, give the area a good watering first, so the chemicals go into the soil. It’s also a good idea to wipe your dog’s paws and belly down with a damp cloth when you bring him in.


Many popular plants are poisonous to pets. Sago palms, for instance, can cause severe liver damage if ingested. Lilies, tulip bulbs, daffodils, azaleas, and autumn crocuses are also toxic. Check the ASPCA website for a full list of safe and unsafe plants.


We recommend keeping the ASPCA Pet Poison hotline number at hand, and storing it in your phone contacts. That number is (888) 426-4435. (Note: charges may apply.) Additionally, you may want to print out some pet poison first aid brochures, and download some pet first-aid apps to your phone. Last but not least, if you suspect your animal companion has eaten or come into contact with something he shouldn’t have, contact your vet immediately.

Please reach out to us, your Somerville, MA pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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