Preventing 9 Little Known Dog Poison Emergencies: Fall Edition

dog poison emergency

Tis the season, falling leaves, and dangers lurking everywhere. With the holidays upon us, there are clear and present dangers to our dogs: We all know about lighted candles, chocolate, mistletoe, and Xylitol by now. But what about the lesser-known dog poison emergencies that rear their ugly heads throughout the fall season? Here’s a dog poison prevention guide to fall safety: And please tell your family and friends via sharing this post.

Liquid Potpourri: Yes, the smell of pine, nutmeg, or autumnal flavorings sounds appealing, but even a few licks of liquid potpourri can cause serious harm to pets: Cats are more sensitive and can suffer severe chemical burns, but dogs are also at risk. Opt for scenting your abode with a non-toxic candle or keep any liquid scents up high and out of prying paws and tails reach.

Antifreeze: Winter is in the air and some part of the country have already been pummeled with snow. Antifreeze is found in numerous substances, including our cars. However, antifreeze is often found in imported items like holiday snow globes. If a snow globe falls and cracks open, dogs may be tempted to lick the sweet smelling liquid. Even one teaspoon of ethylene glycol (antifreeze) can cause serious harm and even death in a small pet. Keep the number of the Pet Poison Helpline or other veterinary emergency center handy. Even better, keep snow globes away from a dog’s reach or where they can fall and break.

Japanese Yew: With the month of November, folks begin decorating their homes with holiday decor and that means tinsels, trees, and more. Florists are starting to incorporate Japanese Yew into more and more wreaths. All parts of this evergreen are extremely poisonous, so always check with your florist before ordering or sending a wreath to a pet home.

holiday dog

Mushrooms: As we walk our dog daily, we are noticing more and more mushrooms in our area popping up in moist or damp fields. Some mushrooms will irritate a dog’s stomach lining if ingested but others can be toxic if the species is not known. Imagine your dog eats a mushroom, perhaps you have no idea this happened, or you don’t know the type of species it is. Dogs may have hallucinations and suffer from seizures, too. If a dog eats mushrooms before you can stop him, pick a few mushrooms, and according to Pet Poison Helpline, wrap them in a paper towel and never plastic. Take the mushrooms and dog to a veterinarian immediately.

Alcohol: Not just the liquor store variety, but alcohol from mouthwash and other alcohol-containing liquids can shut down a dog’s body systems if too much is ingested. Perfumes and common cooking extracts like vanilla may contain as much as 35 percent alcohol by volume, so keep anything containing alcohol away from a dog’s reach, jump or nose. Effects of alcohol on a dog can be fatal, as a dog’s stomach can absorb alcohol completely within 20 to 30 minutes.

Expired Dog Food and Treats: When is the last time you checked your dog’s treat and dog food expiration dates? If you have no idea of the expiration date, time to chuck ’em. Dogs can get sick or worse with treats gone bad. You wouldn’t drink old milk right? Dogs are the same way – bad treats are bad treats. If you can’t remember when you purchased that bag of treats, better to be safe than sorry. Take a half hour on a weekend and clean that treat closet or bin out.

dog christmas

Salmonella: In a dog or a cat, pet parents will see symptoms including  diarrhea, decreased appetite, fever, and excess salivation. Pets also appear very tired. Diarrhea in some animals may have blood or mucus.If Salmonella is suspected in either a human or a pet, it is critical to contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

How to protect yourself and your pet:

o For commercial pet food, be sure it’s from a well-respected, reputable manufacturer
o Ask about the quality and safety in manufacturing practices
o Ask if foods are routinely tested for Salmonella
o Ask if manufacturing processes ensure that all of its pet food products are safe for feeding
o Ask if meat ingredients such as poultry are sourced from USDA facilities
o What is the company’s protocol for testing their products? Does their website talk about quality and safety?

Cook Cook Cook
o Cook meats thoroughly!
o Your pet’s food should be cooked thoroughly

holiday dog

Carbon Monoxide: Just like people, pets can be overcome with carbon monoxide. Have a furnace check—both odorless and invisible, carbon monoxide poisoning is always a danger year round.

Mothballs: Ingestion of mothballs can cause liver issues, respiratory failure, seizures, heart problems, and, ultimately, death. Some dogs are curious about the scent of mothballs, and in my neighborhood I’ve seen them lining the gardens and flower beds of well-manicured lawns. Critter deterrent, yes; dog enticement for many pooches, yes.

The toxic vapors of mothballs can cause harm to both people and pets. Naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene are two chemicals that are infused into a mothball, both of which release toxic vapors that can harm living beings. Mothballs should be kept in airtight containers and not where pets can easily access them. We’ve taken to cedar shavings in my household, with great moth-repellant success.

Question: Has your dog ever been rushed to an emergency vet? Any tips we missed? 


  1. Thanks for posting these. Several ones I had never seen. I do see a couple of things that were not mentioned:

    1 – Uncooked cookie/bread dough – Thanks to DogAge for this important message! Unbaked bread dough can cause gastric obstruction in your dog, raw, fermenting dough also produces ethanol, which can quickly cause alcohol poisoning. To avoid an emergency vet visit, keep rising breads or pizza dough out of reach. If you suspect your dog has consumed any form of alcohol, contact your veterinarian immediately.

    2 – Keep ASPCA’s poison control number handy -If you are not sure if a food is safe, visit the ASPCA website or call: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 1 (888) 426-4435

    • Really good info. One of my friends has a dog who ate raw bread dough and had to be rushed to the emergency vet.

  2. Never heard of Japanese Yew, but I knew about the others. Thanks for the post!

    And yes we had to take Dante and our previous foster into the Emergency Vet for eating a years worth of heartworm meds! Theory has it the cats knocked it down from it’s high location in an attempt to knock off the dogs (I don’t normally leave this out, but it was a very high shelf impossible for dog reach, it was completely sealed and unopened, and it was a visual reminder that they needed to be treated in a couple days).

    The vet took treated it as worst case scenario…Dante if he ate it all by himself had not consumed a lethal dose due to his weight and general overall good health – he was put on watch though.. Tex-Anna IF she at it all herself had consumed a lethal dose so they pumped her full of charcoal and put her on watch. Most likely the dogs had shared in the treasures from above, and I now keep it locked in the garage with the dog treats.
    Good news they both survived the ordeal just fine!

    • YIKES that had to be super scary that he ate a year’s worth of heartworm meds. My dog loves the flavored treats of heartworm so I have to keep them out of reach. Glad all turned out okay!

  3. We knew about most of these, but reminders always make us take a quick look around the house just in case.

    And one thing that always worries us – glass bulbs and lights on the Christmas trees. (We did have a dog, years ago, who chewed on a string of Christmas lights. (They were not plugged in at the time)

  4. I keep all my plants away from my dogs – rather be safe – than sorry ! Catcus hang from the ceiling and other plants on high stands.

  5. Excellent post thanks for this info! I didn’t know about liquid potpourri. Amaryllis can also be toxic, I love those plants for the holidays but I avoid them. While traveling X-country we stayed at a familiar pet friendly hotel. Isis had wedged herself between the bed & the wall to sleep. In the middle of the night she began coughing & choking. By morning, Phoebe was throwing up continually. We freaked out! We left immediately & located a vet on the road. He checked them out & said they were both fine, that it was likely due to cleansers or pesticides used in the hotel room! Just a few hours later, they were both fine! Crossed that hotel off our list!

    • Oh my word – that’s awful – I do a lot of traveling with my dog and never even considered this danger. TY for sharing that and I am so glad she was okay!

  6. Great tips – I really need to pay closer attention to mushrooms since we’re out in the woods quite a bit. My previous dog like Pirahna Banana mentioned had an emergency with some bread dough. He got up onto the counter and ate the whole bowl of bread we had rising. I’ll never forget that he casually walked into the living room and brought it in with him… After a quick trip to the emergency vet we were much more careful about keeping things even higher out of reach. It’s so scary to think that yeast just continues to rise in dogs.. I don’t want to think about how bad it could have been if we didn’t catch it so quickly considering he ate what was going to be a whole pizza…

  7. Thanks for sharing. I always make sure that the treats I give to my dog is not expired. If I’m cooking a dog treat, I always wash my hands as well as the food to avoid any bacteria.

  8. Thanks for sharing this advice! It is crazy just how many different things can seriously harm your pet. I’ll be sure to keep our potpourri in a place where the dogs can’t reach. The last thing I want to do is poison them!

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