There are many dangers lurking in the home that can be problematic to your dog, if not downright death traps. Vanilla may be one of these things. It seems to be harmless and no threat at all. After all, it’s just flavoring right? Wrong! Here are some things you need to know about vanilla and other things in your home.
Vanilla is very bad for your dog because the reality is that it contains a large percentage of alcohol. Many things in the home contain alcohol and this is very dangerous for them. Be clear on which things you have in the house that contain alcohol and keep them far away from your dog.
Some people argue that things like vanilla cake are fine for dogs but not if you are letting them have the vanilla frosting, which is not cooked and there is enough vanilla extract in the frosting to cause them serious toxicity.
Even imitation vanilla extract has just as much alcohol in it and there are other things in your home that do, especially in the kitchen. Many herbs have alcohol added to them so you must be cautious at all times to know what is in the foods you are giving to your dog. You could potentially give them a lethal dose without even realizing what you are doing.
Vanilla extract is nearly 35% alcohol. That’s very high indeed and certainly enough to be toxic to your dog. Don’t make this mistake and poison your dog unintentionally.
Other Things That are Potentially Toxic to Your Dog
There are other things around your house that could be very toxic to your dogs and you may be surprised at some of them. Let’s have a look.
Coffee, Coffee Pods, Tea Bags – Dogs often love the smell of these things and the caffeine in them can kill the dog. Dogs are very susceptible to caffeine toxicity. It doesn’t take much to do damage. 2.2 mg of caffeine per pound of body weight can be enough to cause your dog to die. Don’t leave any tea bags or pods out on the counter where they can be ingested. It could kill your dog and also take great care when you are throwing these things away. Use a garbage can with a lid that your dog can’t get into.
Remember that energy drinks and chocolate also contain caffeine. Make sure that you pay attention to ingredients and keep all things with caffeine well away from the dog.
Grapes and Raisins – These are so toxic to dogs that a small handful can cause kidney damage and the kidneys will shut down completely within two days of ingesting a bunch of grapes.
Scientists don’t actually know why grapes and raisins are fatal to dogs. We know that that a small dog can become acutely ill from as few as FOUR grapes. Do not keep grapes in a bowl on the counter or on the table.
Keep them well out of reach and away from dogs. If you have children make sure the entire family knows and understands the seriousness of this issue or don’t bring them into the home.
It is very important that not even raisin cookies that have cooked raisins be shared with dogs, not oatmeals or cereal bars. Children are notorious for giving dogs these things.
Cleaning Agents – Alkaline things, automatic dishwasher cleaner and oven cleaners don’t have a lot of odor or even flavor. Dogs are very inquisitive by nature and it gets them into a lot of trouble.
When they discover new things, they taste them. Sometimes they eat it all. The pods are the most dangerous. They are bite sized and might smell good to your dog. To them, it’s just a snack sized treat.
They cause severe injuries. These things can be caustic. Eyes, skin, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract injuries will happen and they will need immediate veterinary care.
Xylitol – This is a substitute for sugar, an artificial sweetener that is exceedingly dangerous to dogs. It is fatal most of the time. Most likely to be found in sugar-free chewing gums, Xylitol is a neurotoxin to dogs.
It is also added to children’s cough medicines, some cookies, peanut butter sometimes has it, and many more things that you really need to read the labels to learn about. Xylitol causes vomiting, tremors and progresses to full-blown seizures and finally death.
As you can see, there are many toxic things just in the kitchen area of your home. In the yard you also have many things to deal with and the garage as well. Dogs are curious and they seek things out by following their nose. That nose of theirs gets them into a lot of trouble at times. This is sadly why so many dogs die. They seek out the things they smell, no matter how you think you’ve hidden things. Make sure that fertilizers aren’t left about in the bags. Don’t leave paint cans where dogs can knock them over and lick paint.
A bottle of Tylenol on the kitchen counter can be eaten, plastic and all, in a matter of minutes and this can cause very bad damage to their kidneys and stomachs.
Some general rules are to not let the dog roam about without supervision. Also, make sure that you’ve dog-proofed your entire home in the same way that you would for a toddler. Don’t leave things lying on the floor or stacked where they can be climbed and knocked over.
Dogs are attracted to the smell of antifreeze and this is something that veterinarians treat on a regular basis. There are types on the market now that are not toxic to pets and you should look into have only these. WIpe spills immediately and don’t allow your dog to lick things from the ground.
Some dogs love the smell of old motor oil and will actually lick at it. You must just always assume that if it is there, the dog will eat it. Not all things are deathly harmful but can still cause stomach pain and indigestion, and even severely dehydrated by diarrhea. Don’t allow them to get ill if you can help it.
It only takes a bit of a walk-thru and some forward thinking. If you question the safety of anything, store it in a closed cabinet and keep it locked from children and pets.
Some of your kitchen spices are also very harmful, even if inhaled. Cinnamon is one that comes to mind. Dogs can have severe respiratory problems if they get into cinnamon. Make sure that your spices are in high cabinets and never left out where the dog can access them.
They can be spilled and the dog can jump in them quickly. Some dogs have an ‘eat it now and ask questions later’ attitude toward life and this gets them into a lot of trouble. Keep in mind that accidents happen and train your dog to leave something dropped alone with the ‘leave it’ command. This is taught to prevent them from picking things up when being walked.
What Happens if Your Dog Does Eat Something Toxic?
You should seek veterinary care as quickly as possible. Call them enroute or before leaving the house to let them know what your dog ingested. Bring the bottle or container with you. If it is a big bag, snap a photo of the ingredients on the back of the label and transport to the clinic as soon as possible.
Do not attempt to induce vomiting. If your dog has ingested something that is acidic or sharp, it may cause severe damage on the way back up. Let the veterinarian handle it at the clinic, safely.
Many times the best course of action will be activated charcoal and your veterinary clinic will be prepped and ready to treat when you arrive if you call and let them know you are heading in with a poison emergency.
Likely, your dog will be given and relaxing injection, then a tube will be slipped down their throat and activated charcoal will be poured down their throat to the stomach. When the tube comes out, they may vomit. That’s okay because the charcoal will wrap the poison so that it doesn’t do any harm.
If there is plastic or sharp pieces, they will likely treat it differently, rather than try to bring up pieces that may stick in the throat. They are equipped to handle it quickly and efficiently. Your job is to give them information over the phone, such as what was ingested, including the brand name. They will also want to know the breed and weight of your dog.
The more information you can give them, the better they will be able to treat your dog to stop the progression of symptoms. They may be able to prevent kidney damage and death. Treating a pet for ingestion of an unknown substance is difficult. If you won’t know what your dog got into, try to have someone stay home who can look around and try to find any evidence.
The key is to be as accurate as possible and help the veterinarian solve the puzzle as quickly as you can, to keep the body from absorbing any more of the toxin. Some dogs respond well to treatment if it comes quickly. There is, however, no guarantee because each case is different and the lingering effects of kidney and liver damage may cause complications.
Younger and older dogs have weaker immune systems as well, which can also come into play when treating for a poison. In some cases, if they ingested something and it has been two days and they are just exhibiting the symptoms, there may be very little that can be done.
This is why it is so critical that you know what is dangerous and keep it locked away from them so they will never get into it. Some people don’t keep certain things in the home anymore, when they realize how toxic it is to their dog. Adjusting your lifestyle a bit might be what it takes if you have one of those dogs that likes to snoop and get into things.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.