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What household products can be toxic to my dog?

Most people are aware that we shouldn’t feed our dogs chocolate, but did you also know that grapes can be poisonous to dogs? Of course, we all know that rat bait and snail bait is very dangerous, but were you aware that some lilies can cause damage to a cat’s kidneys? Here is a list of some common household toxins that pet owners should be aware of:


Toxic component is Theobromine (found at highest levels in cooking chocolate and dark chocolate).

Symptoms: Vomiting, restlessness, anxiety, fast heart rate. Can progress to seizures and heart problems. Large amounts are usually required to cause toxicity (e.g. a family block / 5kg dog)


Toxic component is unknown and not all dogs are affected.

Symptoms: Causes acute kidney failure.  Dogs will often vomit after eating them.

Macadamia nuts

Approximately 1 nut/kg is considered a toxic dose.

Symptoms: Hindlimb weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, abdominal pain and fever.

Salt water

Ingestion of sea water while swimming is the most common cause.

Symptoms: Vomiting and diarrhea, can progress to more severe abnormalities such as depression and seizures, especially if access to fresh water is limited.


  • Holly can cause excessive salivation and irritation to the stomach and intestines.
  • Lilies are toxic to cats (Easter lily, tiger lily, day lily, Japanese showy lily and Asiatic lily). The Peace lily and Calla lilies are not known to cause problems. Causes acute kidney failure in cats.
  • Poinsettia can cause mouth and gut irritation when ingested and may also cause skin irritation. Symptoms are often mild and resolve with time.

Essential Oils

Toxicity can occur after oral intake or skin exposure.

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhoea, depression (following oral intake). Weakness, muscle tremors, depression, walking and behavioural abnormalities (following skin exposure).

Of course there are other more well-known toxins that can harm our pets as well (e.g. snailbait, anti-freeze, rat bait). Being aware of toxins and preventing access by your pet will help to avoid any potential problems. If your pet does happen to ingest anything that may be toxic, please call 9751 2999 (24hrs) so that our vets can advise you on the best treatment for your pet.

Information kindly supplied by Sarah Haldane, BVSc MACVSc (Emergency and Critical Care) Diplomate, ACVECC.