Common Household Items That Can Harm Your Pet

Posted: Apr 04 2018



As pet parents, we see our pets as our precious family members. We give them food, they sleep in our bed, and they play with us. Sometimes it is easy to forget that pets are not people and cannot always enjoy the same things as us. Most of us know that dogs can’t have chocolate, but there are some common household items that may seem harmless to us, but are actually more dangerous to our pets than you might realize.

Read on to learn about items that you likely have in your home that can be very harmful to your pets.

Food We Eat

  • Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine

Chocolate is not only lethal for dogs because of caffeine and theobromine poisoning, but is also dangerous for cats. When consumed by pets, it may cause seizures and death. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to animals; however, pets should avoid white, milk, semisweet, dark, and baking chocolates, as well as cocoa nibs and coffee beans, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Once ingested, it may cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and possibly death.

  • Milk and Dairy Products

The traditional image of a happy kitten lapping up a bowl of milk is very misleading. Although some cats and dogs have no problems digesting milk and dairy products, others can experience serious intestinal distress such as gas, diarrhea, or vomiting. Just like humans, pets can suffer from lactose intolerance. If you’ve ever noticed your cat or dog tends to develop gas or loose stools after having milk, there’s a good chance your pet may be suffering from this condition.


  • Grapes and Raisins

This fruit is a delicious and healthy snack for us humans, but it is highly toxic to pets. Eating grapes or raisins can cause the sudden development of kidney failure in some pets—particularly dogs—but also in cats.

  • Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix

Mixed nuts can be extremely dangerous for your fur babies. Macadamia nuts are particularly poisonous to dogs. Almonds can cause digestive distress in animals. Walnuts contain a toxin that can cause seizures in animals. Sometimes it’s easy to forget if there are nuts in cookies and snacks and you might be tempted to share. It is always a good idea to keep human food far from your pet’s reach.

  • Onions and Garlic

These common cooking ingredients, along with scallions, leeks, chives, and shallots, are terribly toxic to cats and dogs. They can kill a pet’s blood cells, resulting in anemia, organ failure, and death. Onion powder in food is enough to do this, so attention to ingredients is crucial.


Alcohol and Tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco should never be given to your pets, as it can cause a host of damaging outcomes such as vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, and even death, notes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Also note that the yeast in beer can poison your pet too, so if you brew your own beer, make sure to keep these ingredients out of your pet’s reach.


If you have pets at home and you want to decorate your place with plants and flowers, be sure to do your research. Some flowers such as lilies, and most festive plants such as mistletoe and holly, can be poisonous to pets. The ASPCA maintains a comprehensive online toxic and non-toxic plants list. Always check the list before you take home any plants to make sure you are not posing any danger to your pets.


Human medication is extremely toxic to pets. Acetaminophen in Tylenol and other drugs may interfere with oxygen flow or do irreparable harm to the liver. Be sure to keep your medication in safe places. If your pet takes prescription drugs, keep them out of your pet’s reach too in case of overdose as oral doses are often flavored and hence attractive.



Fertilizer might not smell like food to you, but many dogs love the foul smell and want to roll in it or even eat it. However, ingestion of large amounts of fertilizer can lead to serious health problems for dogs and cats.

Pesticides and Insecticides

Pesticides, insecticides, and bug sprays can be poisonous for pets. When consumed, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, or tremors. Some chemicals can even be life-threatening for pets. Keep your pets away from these chemicals and use natural alternatives whenever possible.

Deicing Salts and Antifreeze

They might be the essentials in winter to you, but deicing salts and antifreeze are highly dangerous to your pets. Even if consumed in small quantities, it can be fatal for animals. Make sure your pets never have access to them.

Household Cleaners and Fabric Softener Sheets

Household cleaners, laundry detergent, and fabric softener sheets can be lethal for pets when ingested. They can also cause mild allergic reactions in some pets. The strong scent and residue left behind can cause skin irritation, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing. Use natural unscented cleaners and detergent to avoid allergy reactions and keep these products out of reach.


More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing


Join our Newsletter

@r2ppet on Instagram

Like us on Facebook

Copyright © 2022 R2P Pet Ltd. • All Rights Reserved

Make your furry friend a VIP—Very Important Pet!
Join our Newsletter to get special perks just for your pet: