Cleaning products themselves are likely to taste unpleasant and
so may not be particularly attractive to dogs. Brightly coloured
packaging or interestingly shaped bottles on the other hand may
appear interesting to them, or seem like an excellent toy to play
with. Make sure that all cleaning products cannot be accessed by
your dog and that dogs are kept away from areas that are being
cleaned, or have recently been cleaned.
Chlorine based bleaches
Dogs may come into contact with these household cleaners by
chewing the containers or drinking from recently cleaned toilets.
Bleach diluted in water may be less harmful, but can still cause
salivation and stomach problems.
More concentrated solutions of bleach can cause corrosive injury
to the mouth or gut and may cause further complications if splashed
in the eye or on the skin. Bleach should never be mixed with other
Detergents (laundry detergent, soaps and many household
Many of these substances contain chemicals which can cause
salivation and stomach problems. If an animal vomits after drinking
or eating these substances, it can make the vomit frothy or foamy.
This may increase the risk of vomit getting into the lungs and
causing breathing difficulties.
Liquid capsules/ sachets used in washing machines are highly
concentrated detergents, which may appear attractive to pets and
children. These concentrated substances may cause more extreme
tummy upsets and can lead to dehydration if untreated, or can
damage the eye through direct contact.
Oven cleaners, drain cleaner and other caustics/corrosives
These substances can cause tissue damage. If licked up by your
dog, splashes from these may also cause injury to the eyes and the
skin surrounding the mouth. Effects from these cleaners can include
salivation, stomach problems, ulceration, chemical burns and
difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Other common items found in cleaning cupboards that could harm
- Dishwasher tablets
- Dishwasher salt
- Kettle descalers
- Metal polishes
Tips on how to poison-proof your home
A large number of instances of bleach ingestion come from dogs
drinking from recently treated toilet bowls. To prevent your dog
from doing this, make sure that you always put the toilet lid down
after cleaning and try to remember to keep bathroom doors
How to use this information
The information is intended to be used to prevent poisoning by
raising awareness of certain poisons, rather than as a document to
be used in an emergency. If you suspect that your dog has been
poisoned, or has come into contact with potentially poisonous
substances, contact your local veterinary practice immediately.
The lists of poisons in this information guide are not
exhaustive. If an item is not mentioned in this guide it should not
be assumed that it is not poisonous. Further advice on substances
that could harm your dog could be sought from your local veterinary
Who can I contact for further advice?
The Kennel Club is not a veterinary organisation and is unable
to provide general or case specific veterinary advice. If you
have any questions regarding any of the issues discussed in this
article then please contact your local veterinary practice for
What to do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned
If you think that your dog may have eaten, touched or inhaled
something that it shouldn't have, consult your local veterinary
Do not try to make your dog sick. Trying to do this can cause
other complications, which may harm your dog.
In an emergency you can help your veterinary practice make an
informed decision as to whether your dog needs to be treated by
them, and if so, what the best treatment would be. Where possible
you should provide your veterinary practice with information
- What poison you think your dog has been exposed to (i.e.
chocolate, ibuprofen, etc.). Include any product names, or lists of
ingredients if relevant
- How much they may have been exposed to (i.e. 500mg, 500ml, one
tablet etc, even approximations may help)
- When your dog was exposed to the poison (i.e. 5 minutes, 5
hours or 5 days ago)
- If your dog has been unwell, and if so, what clinical effects
have been seen
It is easier for a veterinarian to care for a poisoned dog if it
is treated sooner rather than later. If you are in any doubt, do
not wait for your dog to become unwell before calling for
If you do need to take your dog to your veterinary practice,
make sure that you take along any relevant packaging, or a sample
of the poison, i.e. parts of plant or fungi. Always make sure that
you yourself are protected and can not be poisoned in turn.