There are many potential hazards in the home and garden, and dogs are inquisitive, particularly puppies -they will eat anything. This leaflet describes some of the common substances that are involved in poisoning in dogs.

These are used for the control of rodent pests. Ingestion can result in bleeding which may be internal and therefore not obvious. If takes several days before the bleeding occurs. Repeated ingestion is much more of a concern because these chemicals persist in the body for weeks.

Chocolate contains a chemical that dogs do not tolerate very well. White chocolate generally does not represent a risk but milk chocolate and even a relatively small amount of dark chocolate can cause agitation, excitability, tremors, convulsions and problems with the heart.

Grapes and their dried products (currants, sultanas and raisins) are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small quantity can cause severe kidney failure. This will also include food items that contain dried fruits such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies. Chocolate-coated raisins represent an additional risk of chocolate toxicity.

Ibuprofen is a common pain killer. Dogs are very sensitive to it and it can cause gastrointestinal irritation and ulceration and affect the kidneys.

This is a common ingredient in slug and snail killers. It can cause tremors and convulsions in dogs. These effects can occur quickly after ingestion.

Mouldy food can also be hazardous due the presence of toxic substances produced by the mould. Ingestion of mouldy food, such as bread or dairy products, can cause vomiting, tremors, a high body temperature and convulsions.

Another common pain killer. It affects the red blood cells and causes liver injury. There may also be facial swelling. Signs of liver damage occur several days after ingestion.

Some psoriasis creams contain vitamin D compounds including calcipotriol, tacalcitol and calcitriol, which can cause severe and delayed poisoning in dogs. They increase the blood concentration of calcium resulting in gastrointestinal upset, thirst, increased urine output, and in severe cases kidney failure, convulsions and heart problems. Contact your vet immediately if your dog has eaten psoriasis cream.

• Call Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 even if your pet is showing no signs to find out whether a trip to the vet is required.
• Remove your pet from the source of poison.
• Do not try to make your pet vomit –NEVER give salt water.
• Collect the poison and take a sample/container with you if you are advised to take your pet to the vet practice.