Dogs have a tendency to chew just about everything they come across. Just like babies, they will smell it first before giving a more thorough examination in their mouths. In most cases, this causes only slight discomfort but swallowing indigestible substances can lead to serious complications..
It is a popular misconception that dogs eat bones. They don't. It is the meat around the bone and any marrow it contains which they are after. Bone is actually indigestible, and fragments which the dog swallows can become lodged in the gut.
There are several other things that can be dangerous enough to cause death to your dog if he or she ingests them.
What follows is not an extensive list by any means but includes items which people often overlook.
- Antifreeze: Common antifreeze is responsible for a lot of pet deaths every year. It smells and tastes very sweet to dogs but then rat poisons smell nice to rodents; both have the same effect. When draining a car radiator to change the antifreeze, avoid the temptation of leaving it unattended or better yet, ensure no pets have access.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called the obromine which is toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate is especially dangerous. People often like to reward their dog with a small piece of their chocolate and whilst a tiny bit will do them little harm, they are not doing their pet any favors
- Pain Killers: The most common mild pain killers are Paracetamol or Aspirin based but there are many more with a higher strength available. However, as few as two regular strength tablets can kill a small dog.
- Batteries: Watch batteries are tiny and contain lithium which can cause a potentially fatal ulceration in the stomach within 12 hours. Alkaline batteries are also toxic to dogs so always dispose of used batteries sensibly, safely and at once.
- Moth Balls: Not as common as they used to be in households nevertheless moth balls are very dangerous to dogs. Their function is to kill moths which eat fabric and so contain an insecticide. If any pet ingests one it can cause central nervous system excitement and seizures.
- Electrocution: All households have electrical appliances which require a cable to be plugged into a wall socket. The cables covered in a plastic insulation are often quite thick but a dog's teeth are no match for this and many young dogs die from being electrocuted, particularly in the holiday season from chewing through Christmas tree lights. Puppies will chew when teething but in general dogs will also chew out of boredom so give them something they can safely chew.
- Household chemicals: All sorts of household detergents are toxic to dogs at one level or another, but fabric softeners fall into the highly toxic category as does mouthwash which often contains boric acid. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, drooling, seizures, and coma.
- Household Plants: It may surprise you to learn that many common and popular household plants are highly toxic to dogs. A partial list of toxic plants includes poinsettias, lilies, ferns, devil's ivy, aloe, and ivy.
If you think your dog may have eaten any of these substances, or anything else that could poison him, call a vet immediately. It could save his or her life.