From craft glue to heavy-duty polyurethane adhesives, there are many types and brands of adhesives found in Australia. Some adhesives dry hard, others stay flexible and some even expand. 

For example, ingestion of isocyanate polyurethane adhesives (Sika, Selleys, Gorilla glue and others) can result in serious gastric complications in dogs. If swallowed, this glue can expand to a size that may cause an obstruction of your dog’s stomach, emergency surgery may be necessary.

Alcohol

Alcohol affects dogs in the same way it affects humans. Apart from alcoholic beverages, alcohol can be found in some cleaners, disinfectants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and many other products. High levels of alcohol consumption can cause intoxication, gastrointestinal irritation coma and even death.

Ant baits

Ant baits such as Mortein, Combat or Amdro are very common in Australian homes. They can contain boric acid or many other insecticides which can all be toxic to dogs if enough has been ingested. Ant baits typically have a sweet smell and taste to attract ants, which unfortunately also appears to attract dogs.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze or radiator coolants typically contain varying concentrations of ethylene glycol or other toxic glycols. Dogs or other animals may be attracted to ethylene glycol by its sweet taste. Many animals will voluntarily drink ethylene glycol if antifreeze is spilt or leaks onto garage floors or driveways. Even small ingestions in animals can result in severe or fatal poisoning.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are commonly used in both human and veterinary medicine for allergies, hay fever and skin rashes. Examples include dexchlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, promethazine, loratadine and cetirizine. When accidentally ingested by dogs and cats, antihistamine dog poisoning can result in severe agitation, lethargy, sedation, seizures, respiratory depression, and even death.

Anti-Inflammatories

Examples include ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen. NSAIDs are commonly available “over-the counter” for pain management. Ibuprofen is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, gastric ulceration and kidney failure.

Avocado

Contains persin which is in all parts of the avocado. Unripe avocados contain a much higher concentration of persin than ripe avocados. Ingestion can result in gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea. Some animals are very susceptible to its toxicity and it can even result in death in rare cases.

Batteries

Batteries come in all different sizes, voltages and chemical composition. From button batteries to AA and 9V batteries. When swallowed, the left-over electrical current in a button battery reacts with moisture to produce a strong alkali chemical. 

The chemical can cause serious internal burns and bleeding. The batteries can also leak chemicals which can cause serious burns. Button batteries are easily caught in the oesophagus, and when stuck can start to cause damage very quickly.

Bees and Wasps

These flying insects can cause a painful sting, which is associated with local

redness and swelling. As our pets are covered in a thick layer of hair, the mouth is actually

the most common sting site which often occurs when our pets are trying to eat them.

Bees only sting once, and typically leave a sting behind in the skin. Wasps may sting multiple times and do not leave a sting behind. In some cases, bee and wasp stings can cause a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Benzalkonium Chloride

This is a type of detergent found in many household products including disinfectants, antiseptics and some patio cleaners. They come in varying concentrations and include Pine-O-Cleen, Dettol, Powerforce and many others. Cats can develop drooling, fever and tongue and oral ulceration after licking treated surfaces. Signs typically develop hours after exposure.

Caffeine

Australians are one of the highest consumers of coffee. Caffeine is contained in coffee, energy drinks, tea and pharmaceuticals. In large enough doses, caffeine can be fatal for a dog. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, muscle tremors and seizures.

Chocolate

Contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs. The toxicity is dependent on the type of chocolate ingested, the amount ingested and the size of your dog. Symptoms include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and urination, increased heart rate and seizures. 

 Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has minimal levels of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest amounts.

Fertilizers

Fertiliser products such as Osmocote, Yates Thrive, Brunnings and many others generally contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds. They may be in liquid, granular or solid form and contain additives such as selective herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Since fertilisers are usually a combination of ingredients, the effects of ingestion may vary.

Grapes, Sultanas, Currants and Raisins

These can cause kidney failure in dogs. The cause is unclear, however, symptoms include repeated vomiting and lethargy. If your dog has a habit of stealing food off the table, be sure to put dried fruit out of reach (including, fruit cakes, hot cross buns and raisin toast).

Lead

Lead poisoning in animals is uncommon but it may occur from ingestion of fishing sinkers when connected to bait or by ingestion of lead-containing dust or paint when grooming their contaminated coat.

Magnets

When two or more magnets are ingested, they can cause serious gastrointestinal complications such as obstruction and even perforation which can be fatal. Popular rare-earth magnets have much higher attraction and as such are the even greater risk.

Metaldehyde

Found in many slugs and snail killer products used around the garden, they usually come in the form of blue or green pellets such as in Defender, Yates Blitzem or Richgro. These pellets are often eaten by inquisitive dogs and can cause rapid-onset convulsions which can last many hours. Metaldehyde poisoning often results in hospitalisation for several days.

Mushrooms

Poisonous wild mushrooms can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhoea and hallucinations. Australia is home to a huge variety of wild mushrooms and identification reliable cannot be made. Some mushrooms can cause liver/kidney failure and death, Others can result in agitation and seizures. Symptoms may occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after ingestion depending on the type and amount of poisonous mushroom consumed.

Organophosphate and Carbamate Insecticides

Organophosphates such as Chlorpyrifos, Malathion and Diazinon are now very rarely used domestically, these and other Organophosphate and Carbamate Insecticides are highly toxic to dogs. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, muscle tremors and seizures.

Onions

Onions contain a substance that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and lead to red blood cell damage, resulting in anaemia. Garlic and chives contain the same substance but at a lower concentration.

Pesticides

A pesticide is a substance used to kill insects, fungi, plants or even feral mammals. There are thousands of different pesticides in use today and they come in many different forms. They come in many different concentrations from highly concentrated to diluted ready to use formulations. Toxicity also varies significantly.

Plants

Whilst most small ingestions of plants may be benign. A number of plants are poisonous to pets, resulting in serious illness and even death in some cases. It is therefore important to check the safety of any plants before giving your pets access to them.

Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids

Permethrin is used as an insecticide and can be found in many domestic aerosol sprays such as Baygon, Mortein and Hovex. Flea treatments available for dogs including “spot-on” treatments and can be very concentrated. Cats are very sensitive to permethrin/pyrethroids and even a standard dose for a small dog can be fatal to cats.

Rat and Mouse Rodenticides

These are a very common cause of dog poisoning. Most rodent poisons use anti-coagulants that kill the animals by causing uncontrollable bleeding. Brands such as Ratsak, Talon and Big Cheese are available in pellets or wax blocks.

Snakes

Australia has the most venomous snakes in the world, all bites or suspected bites

should be treated as potentially life-threatening. Try to keep your pet calm, if the bite has

occurred on a leg, apply a pressure immobilization bandage from the paw up to the base of

the limb. Your pet should be kept still as venom travels through the lymphatic system and

movement can encourage more venom to enter the bloodstream. Your pet should then be

carried to a car and immediately transported to a veterinarian practice.

Spiders

All spider bites can be associated with local pain, redness and swelling. Spider

bites can also become infected if they are not adequately cleaned. There are two spiders in Australia that can result in systemic envenoming, these are the Redback spider and the Funnel-web spider. Redback spiders can cause severe regional and generalized pain, vomiting and elevations to the heart rate. 

Whilst they are not typically life-threatening, they can make your pet very sick for up to a few days. Funnel-web spider bites are potentially rapidly lethal. They should be managed with a pressure bandage if the bite occurs on a limb, and transported to a vet.

Ticks

Ticks bite and feed on your dog’s blood. As they feed, they cause irritation and discomfort. The most dangerous tick is the paralysis tick, which injects a powerful neurotoxin that can be deadly to dogs. All ticks need to be removed correctly.

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