Given half a chance, a puppy will chew and eat all sorts of things around the home. From electrical cables and children’s toys to slug pellets and chocolate, there are numerous household items, foods and garden hazards that can pose a risk to a puppy.
Here’s an A-Z of some the most common things to watch out for.
Alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are toxic to dogs and can lead to sickness, diarrhoea and even nervous system damage if consumed. Be careful of products that also contain alcohol such as mouthwashes or perfumes.
Bones. Dogs love bones, but chicken, lamb or pork bones are all common causes of obstruction in dogs. Cooked bones can also shatter and perforate a puppy’s stomach.
Chocolate. Chocolate should never be given to dogs and must be safely stored out of their reach. Dogs are very sensitive to the theobromine found in chocolate because they can’t break it down efficiently.
Dummies. Dogs love the spongy texture of a baby’s dummy or plastic toys when they chew them. They will often bite through it and swallow it, which can cause an obstruction in their throat or stomach.
E-cigarettes. The liquid inside an e-cigarette can often be very toxic to pets. Also be careful that your pup doesn’t chew an e-cigarette casing as it can shatter and they could swallow harmful fragments.
Fat balls. The high fat content in fat balls used for garden birds makes them very attractive to dogs. But if your pup eats a fat ball it could result in pancreatitis.
Grapes, currants, raisins and sultanas. Substituting high calorie treats and snacks with fruit and vegetables is fine, but never feed your puppy grapes. They contain an as yet unidentified toxin that can cause kidney failure. Raisins pose an even higher risk, so keep that fruit cake out of reach!
Herbicides. Plant killing chemicals should be used with caution around your pup. Most cases of poisoning happen when dogs lick, chew or brush up against recently treated plants in the garden.
Insecticides. As with herbicides, be very careful of using chemicals that kill insects in your garden, as they could be very poisonous to your pet too.
Jimson weed is just one of many plants and flowers found in gardens or wooded areas that can be poisonous to dogs. Tulips, daffodils, acorns and foxgloves are just some of the others.
Kitchen cleaners. A puppy can be attracted to the brightly coloured packaging of household cleaning products and play with or chew them. Many of these products contain caustic substances, detergents and bleaches that can be fatal if consumed.
Lactose. Some dogs are lactose-intolerant when they ingest cow or goat milk. Symptoms include diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal discomfort due to colic.
Mushrooms. There are lots of different types of fungi found in the UK and while some are edible, others can be poisonous to dogs and result in an upset stomach, vomiting or liver failure.
Non-prescription medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can cause severe tummy upsets if consumed by your pup. All human medicines should be kept away from pets as a general rule.
Onions and shallots. Onions and shallots should not be fed to dogs in any form (cooked, raw or as onion powder). They contain thiosulphate which haemolytic anaemia in dogs. Garlic and garlic powder also contain thiosulphate in lower levels.
Pet food. Puppies can be partial to cat food, primarily because of the high protein content, but it’s not good for them. They are a different species and a dog’s dietary needs are very different from a cat’s.
Queensland nuts, better known as Macadamia nuts, contain a toxin that can affect a pup’s nervous system and muscles.
Rodenticides. Poisons used to kill rats and mice are highly toxic to dogs.
Slug pellets. Slug bait is a very common cause of poisoning in puppies and can bring on all sorts of symptoms in relation to the nervous system such as seizures.
Toads give off a poison from glands on their skin that can be poisonous to pets if they put them in their mouth, bite or lick them.
Unbaked bread dough can be dangerous if eaten by a dog. When ingested, the dough expands and ferments in the stomach which can result in a bloating as well as poisoning from the fermentation process.
Vitamin D. High levels of vitamin D can cause serious health problems such as kidney failure in dogs. Vitamin D is often found in supplement tablets such as cod liver oil and other human medicines, so be sure to keep these away from curious paws.
Wires and cables. Dogs like the chewiness of electrical cables, but not only can they electrocute themselves by doing this, they can also burn their mouths. Be careful with household string too as it can get caught in a dog’s intestines if swallowed.
Xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free sweets, chewing gums and sugar replacements. If your pup digests one of these sweetened foods they can go into hypoglycaemia which is linked to liver failure and blood clotting.
Yew trees. Eating any part of a yew tree, particularly the foliage, can be harmful to dogs and cause dizziness, abdominal cramps and vomiting. In severe cases it can be fatal.
Zinc. Zinc can be toxic to dogs and poisoning tends to happen when they eat zinc-containing metal items such nails, zips, batteries or coins.
If you think your puppy has ingested something harmful then contact your vet as soon as possible.