Your service, guide, or hearing dog works hard to keep you safe. You, of course, need to return the favor by safeguarding her against potential health risks found around the home. Keeping her away from common human foods that are toxic to dogs is one big part of this, as is using dog-friendly cleaning supplies. Protecting her from exposure to beauty products and toiletries that are dangerous to dogs is another important step.
While assistance dogs are well trained and well behaved, dogs are instinctively drawn to all sorts of scents, and sometimes they can’t help but sample or snack on things they shouldn’t. That’s why it’s always best to store poisonous and possibly harmful items out of reach or securely locked away.
Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs
If you know or suspect that your assistance dog has ingested, inhaled, or otherwise come into potentially dangerous contact with a substance that can cause toxicity, eye or skin problems, or other health concerns, consult your veterinarian or local animal hospital immediately.
Different poisonous substances obviously cause different symptoms, and within different time frames. Toxicity can often occur within minutes of ingestion or exposure, but can sometimes take several hours or longer to appear.
Below are some common signs and symptoms of poisoning in dogs. Please be aware that this is a general list, not exhaustive or specific to any particular type of toxicity, and these symptoms can point to plenty of other problems and illnesses as well.
Always err on the side of caution. If there’s something wrong with your hearing, service, or guide dog, seek qualified medical advice or attention promptly.
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting (with or without blood)
- Diarrhea (with or without blood)
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble with balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness or coma
- Organ failure
Also, some of the below beauty products and toiletries that are dangerous to dogs can cause superficial reactions with topical exposure. These might include things like red spots or splotches, chemical burns, ulcers, and eye irritation or damage.
Beauty Products and Toiletries that Post Risks to Assistance Dogs
- Nail polish – Some polishes are made with formaldehyde and/or toluene, substances that can make dogs sick. Just in case it needs saying, refrain from painting your assistance dog’s nails.
- Nail polish remover – And, to accompany the above, this product contains acetone, a potential irritant to canine skin, eyes, mucous membranes, throats, and lungs.
- Nail glue – For one more nail-related entry, the glues used to adhere fake nails are typically made with polyurethane, which is poisonous to dogs.
- Sharp beauty and grooming items – Objects like tweezers, scissors, razors, and others with sharp points or edges can injure your assistance dog. Play it safe and keep them out of reach or in a secure drawer or cabinet.
- Styling mousse – These hair styling products often have ingredients like acetic acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and aluminum sulfate. They can be toxic with consumption and cause significant damage when absorbed through a dog’s skin.
- Hair growth products – Many of these are made with minoxidil, which is highly toxic to dogs. It can easily cause major heart problems and death.
- Petroleum jelly – This substance has a laxative effect on dogs. It may trigger diarrhea and vomiting, which present additional risks with dehydration.
- Human toothpaste and mouthwash – These often contain xylitol, a sweetening agent that’s highly poisonous to dogs. Most toothpaste also has another toxic ingredient: sodium fluoride. Only use canine oral hygiene products on your guide, hearing, or service dog.
- Curling irons and hair straighteners – This entry isn’t about a toxic threat, but a burn threat. These beauty items can climb to around 400 degrees, so keep your assistance dog away and remember to unplug them.
- Antiperspirants and deodorants – These also may contain xylitol, and they usually have aluminum in them, which is toxic to dogs. Also be on the lookout for lotions and gels that contain xylitol.
- Body soaps and face washes – Soaps made with non-ionic and anionic detergents can cause illness with ingestion, and can also cause irritation and damage to a dog’s eyes.
- Shampoos – Many human shampoos can irritate and dry out your assistance dog’s skin. A number of them also have the same potentially harmful detergents as body and face soaps. Stick with canine shampoo products at bath time.
- Essential oils – Essential oils found in a variety of beauty products (as well as air fresheners and environmental fragrances) are commonly poisonous to dogs.
- Makeup application sponges – Here’s another item not to overlook, but not because of potential toxicity. These can look like little toys to a dog, and may even smell appealing if they’re caked with foundation. Ingestion can lead to an intestinal obstruction.