Helen says, “Happy National Pet Poison Prevention Week: Celebrate By Keeping Your Dog Safe!”


This year, March 21-27 is Poison Prevention Week. In honor of this important “holiday,” we wanted to remind you that many common household products and human foods are toxic or potentially lethal for dogs. Knowing which items to keep well out of paw’s reach will help keep your furry family member happy and healthy—and prevent scary trips to the vet. Here are a few lesser-known potential poisons to watch out for:

Hand Sanitizer:

Since the onset of the Covid 19 Pandemic, hand sanitizer has become a mainstay in our homes, cars, purses, backpacks, and many other spots that overlap with our dogs. Hand sanitizer contains ethanol, a type of alcohol that is toxic to dogs. ALL forms of alcohol (including in beverage form) are dangerous for pups.  And although it’s typically unpalatable to pets, a hand sanitizer container can look to your dog like fun, new chew toy. For this same reason, as handy as it might seem, refrain from using human antibacterial wipes containing alcohol on your dog. 

Fertilizers and Pest Poisons:

These products contain hazardous chemicals that shouldn’t be ingested by dogs. Ideally, dog owners should avoid using these products all together. And even if you use one of the pet-friendly fertilizers available, it’s good to keep in mind that you don’t always know which products are being used around your neighborhood or in public parks and spaces. 

 Plants and Flowers:

Did you know some of our favorite indoor and outdoor plants and flowers can be bad for dogs? Do some research before buying any new ones, and make sure any that you already own are non-toxic or out of reach. Three springtime favorites — tulips, hyacinths, and irises — are considered particularly toxic to dogs. Crocus and daffodils are also dangerous.


Most dog owners are aware that chocolate, grapes, and raisins are bad for dogs, but they might not know about Xylitol. This artificial sweetener is found in tons of human sweets (especially gum, candy, diet soda, and mints). It is extremely toxic to dogs and can be lethal even in small doses. Take care to keep these treats away from your dog and contact your vet ASAP if you suspect your dog ingested anything containing Xylitol.


Most human prescription medications can be dangerous if ingested by your dog. And even small quantities of many, seemingly-benign over-the-counter human medications — such as pain relievers, multivitamins, and supplements — are among things that can be extremely dangerous for your pooch. To avoid accidental poisoning, be sure to keep all human and pet medications far away from each other and from where your dog can get into them. Also never give your dog a human medication without being instructed by a veterinarian. 

 In addition to avoiding the poisons mentioned above, we want to emphasize the importance of always having your vet and 24 hour emergency animal hospital numbers handy. (And don’t hesitate to use them if you fear your dog may have ingested something harmful!)

Finally, remember that poison prevention is a team effort. Be sure to share poison awareness tips with the whole family, especially kids! 

At Downtown Dogs we’ve been keeping dogs safe, healthy, and engaged for more than 16 years. To learn more about our secure, indoor playrooms for daycare and boarding, call us at 612.374.3647. No reservations are needed for daycare once we evaluate your dog’s play style. 

Here’s a resource we found online to help pet parents learn more about what substances are poisonous to their dog: https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/. As always

The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian.

When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers — Frannie, Lyle, and Helen — share a space with their people, Downtown Dogs owner Ralph Bernstein and his wife, Abbe.”