If you've got young kids and a dog, Bondi Vet's Dr Lisa warns of 5 dangers to watch out for.

This post on kids and dogs comes courtesy of the Cooper and Kids blog.

Before I became a human mum, I never fully understood how my patients managed to access hazards in the home. Surely people would just put them out of reach?

But then I had tiny humans of my own and I became one of those people! Being a vet definitely helps me know which things are dangerous to our pets… but nothing is foolproof when you have young kids around.

So, I’ve decided to put together a list of my top 5 household dangers for families with dogs AND kids.

1. Grapes, raisins, sultanas.

These are particularly deadly for dogs and can cause kidney failure. There is no established toxic dose and there have been reports of just one grape being fatal for a dog. Before my kids came along, it wasn’t at all difficult to keep these things out of reach. I just did.

dangers dogs and kids

Kids are a whole new ballgame, they eat at the dog’s level. And even if they eat at the kitchen bench, they still drop food on the floor! Or worse, feed it to the dogs. So, in our family, sultanas are usually saved as a snack for when we aren't home. And grapes are eaten while the kids sit away from the dogs with me watching like a hawk to make sure none drop on the floor.

2. Kinetic/no-mess sand.

I didn't even know what this was until a few years ago. As a mum, this stuff is amazing - so much easier to clean up than real sand. As a vet, this stuff is an obstruction waiting to happen! For some reason, dogs love the taste, but they can't digest it. If enough is eaten, it can form a dangerous impaction in their gastrointestinal tract and emergency surgery may be required. So, for this activity, the dogs are usually kept at a safe distance until we are finished and it is all cleaned up.

3. Yeast play dough.

Making play dough with the kids is actually really fun and easy. But some recipes contain yeast. Now to a dog, this tastes like regular bread dough - yum! Why wouldn't a dog want to eat it! Unfortunately, it can cause a physical obstruction in their stomach and intestines, which may require major surgery to remove.


Once in the stomach, the yeast in the dough can also ferment and turn into alcohol - this can result in alcohol poisoning, which is very dangerous in pets.

4. Toys.

Dogs can be indiscriminate eaters. Some dogs are worse than others. Puppies are particularly mischievous. Assume that anything can be eaten - fluffy toys, lego, balls. Again, these can all lead to obstructions requiring surgery. If your dog eats a toy that contains a battery, it can cause life-threatening ulcerations in the oesophagus and stomach as the battery contents leak.

5. Nappies.

My dogs love dirty nappies. It’s disgusting. We have had many situations where my younger dog has sneakily managed to steal a  soiled nappy and quietly disappear to the other end of  the house to have a feast. Just do your best and keep them out of reach - like in the big council bin, rather than a small waste bin at the dog's level.

If enough nappy material is eaten, it can lead to an obstruction and yes again, surgery. And let me tell you, the smell for the poor vet doing the surgery is unimaginable!!

This list is definitely not exhaustive. Exhausting, yes. But the list goes on. The most important take home message I can give you is to keep as close an eye on your dogs as possible. If they appear unwell in any way - even if they are just quieter than normal - please take them to your nearest vet as soon as possible.

Time is often the biggest enemy, a lot of accidents can be easily treated if we see your pet sooner rather than later.

Dr. Lisa Chimes, best known from Bondi Vet and Dr Lisa to the Rescue is mum to two gorgeous kids, Hudson (4) and Darcie (2), and her two fur babies – Lucas and Nelson. 

For more about the dos and don’ts of living with kids and dogs, visit Cooper and Kids. You can also follow on Facebookand Instagram.

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