Dog owners love to treat their pets every once in a while, but it can be hard to know what's safe for your four-legged family members to eat. This list includes 21 common household foods and small objects that pets should avoid eating at all costs.
And if you're a cat owner, check out our companion list of things they shouldn't eat.
If your pet has eaten something dangerous, contact your vet right away or phone the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 (there is a fee for calling).
Most people know about the risk of feeding a dog chocolate, but we could all use a reminder. The dangerous ingredient of chocolate is theobromine, which gives it a bitter taste. That means darker chocolate is especially dangerous for your pet.
It will usually take a few hours for your dog to show symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity and sometimes seizures. While a very small amount of chocolate is nothing to worry about, you should be cautious not to leave any lying around.
Like some humans, dogs are essentially lactose intolerant. Their stomachs have trouble digesting milk and other dairy products. The worst you can expect is some diarrhea or an upset stomach, but it's best not to treat your dog to milk.
3. Allium plants
Most pet owners have no ideas, but this family of flowering plants which includes onions, garlic and chives is very dangerous for dogs. They irritate your pet's gut, and can cause conditions like anemia.
Watch out, because some surprising products, including gravies and baby foods, contain garlic.
The "bones" we buy for dogs at the pet store are actually made from pressed animal hides. Real bones can damage your dog's teeth (they're used to chewing on kibble, not hunting wild animals). Beware of cooked bones too, because these will splinter easily and become a choking hazard.
You may not recognize this artificial sweetener, but you probably have it in your home right now. Diet sodas, sugar-free gum and some candies all use xylitol. Just a small amount can be fatal for dogs, because the sweetener causes blood sugar and liver problems.
6. Macadamia nuts
Unsalted, roasted nuts are actually a nice treat for your dog, but leave macadamia nuts out of the mix. They cause tremors, weakness, vomiting and overheating in dogs. Be aware that the symptoms are often delayed, but can last for a long time.
7. Pest control products
Treat chemicals in your home as if you're living with a toddler: make sure they're out of your dog's reach and properly sealed. Common insecticides are toxic to dogs, especially disulfoton, which is used on roses.
Obviously you shouldn't let your pet drink rodenticides either, but also don't let them eat any rodents you've poisoned using those chemicals.
8. Veterinary pain relievers
This can seem like strange advice since they're prescribed by a veterinarian, but pet pain relievers are only safe in very low doses. Giving your pet large doses of Rimadyl, Dermaxx, Previcox or COX-2 inhibitors can cause ulcers and kidney failure.
9. Household cleaners
Even if the label insists that these products are "natural," be careful about using them on surfaces that your dog can reach. The most dangerous products are lye, drain and toilet cleaners, and calcium, lime and rust treatments.
10. Blue cheese
Cheese is alright as a "sometimes treat" for your pet, but only certain kinds. Blue cheese varieties like Stilton and Roquefort contain a chemical called Roquefortine C, which causes vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and even seizures in dogs.
Keep reading, because lots of common ingredients aren't safe for your dog to eat...