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Golden Retriever puppy sitting on a blue wood background.
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If you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about their future needs. This includes being prepared to protect puppies against the most common dog poisons located in and around every home.  

Human Medications 

Consuming prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications for people is a common cause of accidental poisonings in dogs. The OTC medications that cause the most pet poisonings include vitamins, ibuprofen, herbal supplements, and cold medicines. Human prescriptions, such as antidepressants and heart medications, are also extremely common.

Yorkshire Terrier waiting to take its medication.
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Often, puppies get into medications when they are left in lower cabinets or pills are dropped on the floor. Putting medications up high and keeping puppies out of the room when pills are being taken are good preventative steps to keep dogs from accidentally eating something they shouldn’t.

Talk to your vet before giving your puppy any medications, and work on teaching your pet the “leave it” command in case they spot any spilled medication.

Rodenticides and Insecticides 

Many homeowners use rodenticides and insecticides in the home or around the yard to eliminate pests. These come in several forms, such as sprays, baited traps, or topical products. Only use these products according to the directions on the label, and keep puppies away from treated areas for the recommended time to keep them safe.

Even if you choose not to use these poisons around your home, neighbors and friends might use them on their properties. It’s important to keep a close eye on puppies when they’re playing outside or during puppy playdates to ensure they don’t come across these toxins. 

Pet Medications 

Some dogs don’t mind taking veterinarian-prescribed chewable medicine because it is flavored to be more appealing. This is great when you’re trying to administer medications as prescribed but can be fatal if a puppy locates the bottle and decides to ingest everything in it.

Keep pet medications out of reach of curious puppies and only give the veterinarian-recommended dose for that specific puppy. Giving doses omedication based on what other dogs have been prescribed in the past can be dangerous.

Human Food 

As puppies get older, they often learn that the kitchen and dining room offer prime opportunities for beggingNew puppy owners might not know better than to encourage begging by sharing human food with their dog.

There are some safe human foods that dogs can eat as high-value treats. However, there are also dangerous foods for dogs that can cause a pup to become extremely ill. Two of the most common foods that cause pet poisonings are chocolate and xylitol. 

Australian Cattle Dog puppies drinking from a bowl in the yard.
©OlgaOvcharenko -
  • Chocolate – Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that a puppy can consume, as it contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which stimulate a dog’s nervous system. The amount and type of chocolate eaten are major factors in how sick a dog may become. If a puppy is suspected of having eaten chocolate, they should be taken to the veterinarian right away.  
  • Xylitol – Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gum, peanut butter, candyand even some baked goods. When a dog consumes xylitol, the dog’s pancreas releases a massive amount of insulin, which results in a decrease in the level of blood sugar in the body, also known as hypoglycemia. Xylitol can also cause liver failure if eaten in high quantities. A trip to the vet is recommended if a puppy is suspected to have eaten an item containing xylitol and is exhibiting symptoms like vomiting, weakness, or diarrhea. 

Household Products

Household cleaning products can contain ingredients that are not safe for dogs. If possible, try to use non-toxic products, and always use cleaning supplies per the label’s instructions.

Dishwashing detergent, fabric softener, bleach, window cleaner, and bathroom cleaners should all be stored in locked cabinets or up high out of reach of pets. When cleaning, keep puppies out of the room so they aren’t exposed to drying chemicals or vapors. 

Gardens and Lawn Products 

A puppy’s first trip outside is an exciting one! Introducing them to grass, sunshine, and the smells that come with the great outdoors can be so much fun. But be sure that, once they start exploring their environment, they aren’t running into any poisons or other hazards. Teaching pet owners the benefits of maintaining dog-friendly yard can save your puppies a lot of trouble down the road, but be sure your yard is a safe place as well. 

  • Plants – It’s easy to forget that you’ve planted some new flowers along the fence line, but a curious puppy may stop to munch on leaves. Be sure never to use poisonous plants in the areas of your yard that dogs or puppies may come into contact with. 
  • Lawn products – Fertilizers and weed killers can include chemicals that are dangerous to puppies. Read the instructions of lawn products to determine how long dogs should remain off the treated areas. Don’t leave lawn products unattended where a dog or puppy could get into them.  
  • Mulch – While mulch may be a nice way to keep a yard looking fresh, be sure to choose mulch that won’t be harmful if accidentally consumed by a puppy. Some mulches, such as cocoa mulch, are poisonous to dogs when eaten. 

Suspected Poisoning? 

If a pet owner notices a puppy experiencing symptoms of poisoning, they should take the puppy to their veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. The sooner that a puppy is treated for an accidental poisoning, the better the chances of a positive outcome.  

This article is intended solely as general guidance, and does not constitute health or other professional advice. Individual situations and applicable laws vary by jurisdiction, and you are encouraged to obtain appropriate advice from qualified professionals in the applicable jurisdictions. We make no representations or warranties concerning any course of action taken by any person following or otherwise using the information offered or provided in this article, including any such information associated with and provided in connection with third-party products, and we will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages that may result, including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death.

Related article: Puppy-Proofing Tips for Your Home And Yard
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