Logo image
Logo image

20 Common Things that Could Kill Your Dog

8 minutes
In this list of things that could kill your dogs, there are foods, medicines, plants and chemicals that you should keep away from your furry ones. Find out what they are!
20 Common Things that Could Kill Your Dog
Last update: 05 July, 2023

There are a number of things that could kill your dog and knowing them is important in order to keep them safe and always healthy.

Taking into account that dogs are naturally curious, they want to taste and bite everything, and there are some chemicals and foods that, despite being toxic, have a high level of palatability that makes them want to consume them without suspecting they could harm them.

The 20 things that could kill your dog

Some figure

Here are the 20 things that could kill your dogs, among which are foods, medicines for human consumption, chemical products, plants, and lack of care from their owners.


In many homes it’s common to find that dogs wait for their owners to share their food with them when they sit at the table. This, besides generating bad behavioral habits, can be dangerous, depending on the food that’s shared with them.

Therefore, the best thing to do is to instruct your dog to only eat the food that’s bought for them. However, the following are some foods that you should never give to your pets, because they can be deadly.

1. Avocados

According to the Animal Poison Control Center, avocado has a toxicity that can be fatal. Pet Poison Helpline says that avocado has a toxin called persin, which is toxic to several species of animals. However, it points out that it’s less toxic in dogs and cats, but a large amount of it can be harmful.

The highest concentration of this toxin is found in the avocado seed and peel. These parts could make them choke too.

2. Onions

Onion has a sulfur compound called n-propyldisulfide, which is toxic for dogs. According to experts, it produces methemoglobin, a hemoglobin that can’t carry oxygen, causing oxygen to not reach the animal’s tissues effectively.

Symptoms of onion poisoning in dogs include jaundice, dark urine, tachycardia, weakness, acute hemolytic anemia, and decreased hematocrit.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine, which produces intoxication in dogs, because their bodies aren’t able to eliminate it easily. It’s estimated that 100 to 250 milligrams per kilogram of this substance can be lethal for dogs.

Experts even warn that, depending on the age, a low dose can cause serious illness. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, tachycardia, ataxia, convulsions, and, in severe cases, death.

Some figure

4. Caffeine

Research explains that caffeine is a water-soluble alkaloid that belongs to the xanthines, present in products such as coffee, tea, cocoa, and some energy and diet drinks. Its main function is to stimulate the metabolic and central systems.

When a dog consumes coffee or any product with caffeine, it suffers from tachycardia, nervousness, hyperactivity, diarrhea, and even death.

5. Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages have negative effects on all animal species and dogs are no exception. Even small amounts cause damage that can be irreparable to the nervous system.

Symptoms caused by alcoholic beverages in canids include seizures and respiratory problems that could lead to a coma.

6. Nuts

Macadamia nuts cause intoxication in dogs. Depending on the amount ingested, it can be mild or severe and produce hind limb weakness, vomiting, ataxia and hyperthermia. Although the symptoms are alarming, this food rarely results in death.

However, it’s important to prevent dogs from eating these nuts and, should this occur, emergency veterinary care should be sought.

7. Grapes

Both fresh grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. Scientific articles point out that the clinical picture includes vomiting a couple of hours after ingestion, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain and anorexia.

It’s also emphasized that any dose is toxic and can trigger the above-mentioned signs. So, at all costs ensure that your dog doesn’t consume any fresh or dried grapes. If you suspect they have ingested them, then consult your veterinarian.


Among the things that could kill your dog are medicines for human consumption. No matter how concerned you are about your dog’s health, you should never medicate them yourself. And even less so with medicines that aren’t for veterinary use, because the consequences can be very serious.

Below, we’ll tell you what the effects are of giving dogs some of the most common medicines in the home.

8. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include ibuprofen and naproxen, which are safe for humans, but highly toxic for dogs. They can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and kidney failure.

Just one or two pills of these drugs can cause serious harm in dogs, cats, and small mammals.

9. Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is much more toxic in cats than in dogs. Therefore, this drug is usually prescribed in low doses in dogs, because, as explained in articles, their organism metabolizes it to non-toxic metabolites.

Even so, the situation is the opposite if an overdose occurs, because this can cause hepatic necrosis.

10. Birth control pills

Giving birth control pills to females or leaving them within reach so they can eat them can be very dangerous. This is because these pills have a large amount of estrogen and estradiol that can cause hormonal imbalance, especially when dogs aren’t spayed or neutered.


Chemicals, regardless of their presentation or use, could even kill your dog. Therefore, it’s important to always keep them away, kept under lock and key, or in a place that’s inaccessible to our pets.

In this section, we remind you which products represent a risk to your dog’s health.

11. Soap, bleach, and grooming products

Laundry soap, as well as various grooming products, have components that are toxic to dogs, such as phosphates, non-ionic surfactants, perborate, and carbonate, as confirmed by experts. These cause serious damage to the gastric mucosa.

Bleach produces severe and lethal burns in the mucous membranes of the digestive tract such as the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestine, and colon.

12. Boric acid, mothballs, and damp-proofing sachets

Boric acid is another thing that could kill your dog. It’s present in insecticides, antiseptics and products such as mouthwash. It causes vomiting, drooling, seizures, and your dog could even end up in a coma.

Mothballs, which are very attractive to dogs, can cause liver and central nervous system damage, as can anti-humidity sachets, which contain silica gel.


Many owners believe that dogs and plants are incompatible, but this isn’t the case. The only thing they should consider are plants that are toxic for their furry friend.

Here we’ll tell you which you should leave within reach of your dogs.

13. Potos

Potos is one of the most common plants at home, but it’s on this list of things that could kill your dog because it can cause inflammation in the oral mucosa and pharynx. In addition, it can cause difficulty breathing, seizures, and kidney damage.

14. Cyclamen

Cyclamen has a substance known as cyclamen, which acts as a laxative in dogs. It can cause vomiting, chronic diarrhea, pain, seizures, kidney failure, and paralysis.

15. Ivy

The most dangerous part of the common ivy are its fruits, which can cause cardiorespiratory arrest if ingested by a dog.

Depending on the amount ingested, the dog can suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, fever, decreased heart rate and could even go into a coma. If the dog only has contact with the fruit, it may cause it dermatitis, blisters and ulcers.

16. Oleander

Oleander is a very showy flowering plant, but in dogs it can be deadly. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, respiratory distress, arrhythmia, comas, and cardiac arrest.

Lack of care

We conclude this list of things that could kill your dogs with poor care and attention. That’s right, dogs of any breed and size require care that only their owners can provide. Failure to do so can lead to illness and even death.

17. Not vaccinating and deworming

When a person is encouraged to adopt a dog, regardless of breed or size, he/she should visit a veterinarian to establish a vaccination and deworming plan. Not doing so can damage the dog’s health, cause different affectations and lead to death if they contract diseases or viruses that could be avoided.

18. Giving dangerous toys

The choice of dog toys is more important than many guardians realize, especially when they’re puppies. Dogs tend to chew everything that comes into their mouths, so it’s important to consider the material they’re made out of, in order to prevent them from choking if they swallow the remains of their toys.

19. A poor diet

Dogs require a quality diet that meets all their nutritional needs. The feed or diet you provide should contain a high level of protein and carbohydrates, which should be adapted to their age, breed and type of physical activity.

A poor diet can be fatal in the long term.

20. Excessive heat

Exposing dogs to high temperatures and for too long can cause heat stroke. According to experts, brachycephalic dogs (bulldogs, boxers and pugs), have a higher risk of suffering from this condition that can be fatal.

In addition, if you go jogging in the summer you should realize that hot asphalt can cause burns on the pads. In any case, it’s important to provide the dog with space to drink water and rest in the shade.

On the other hand, in summer you should never leave a dog locked in the car, as this can lead to dehydration and lack of ventilation.

Some figure

Avoid these things that could kill your dogs

As you can see, there are many things, actions, and omissions that could kill your dog. Try to take them into account, in order to ensure your dog’s health isn’t put in jeopardy, and that you’ll have them with you for many years to come.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Amengual, P., Doria, G. Síndrome branquicéfalo, belleza perjudicial. 2012.
  • Corponor. Detergente en polvo, detergente concentrado en polco para ropa. 2015.
  • Muriel, K. Práctica empresarial con énfasis en la clínica de pequeñas especies en la Clínica Médica Veterinaria Animal Hospital. Corporación Universitaria Lasallista. 2018.
  • Pereira, L., Sarkis, A., Brillante, C., Carvalho, R. Intoxicación por uva en perros – relato de un caso. Revista clínica veterinaria. Núm. 101. Pág. 46 – 49, 2012.
  • Joseph D. Roder. Manual de toxicología.
  • Avocado. Pet Poison Helpline.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.