Dogs don’t have instincts to address many things in the human world; it is up to us to assess the potential dangers in every environment we put them in, and do all we can to safeguard them.  These are all real scenarios that claim dogs’ lives.  Some are very common, some are surprising, all are worth a “note to self”, to be aware and take precautions!

Heat stroke: puppies and old dogs are particularly suseptible, but all dogs need our awareness on this subject.

Jumping out of: car windows, convertibles, pick up trucks: just because they can. Be sure they are strapped in.

Eating medication: human or animal meds: sounds obvious but it happens all the time!

Hit by bicycles: can be a grizzly scene for both dog and cyclist.

Hit by: streetcars/buses or cars, while on lead: owners not paying attention, dogs stepping off curbs.

Allergic reactions: whether it is food allergies, or environmental, these pose the same risks to dogs as to people.

Car accidents: through windshields etc.  Seat belts or crates are best, but at least make sure dogs aren’t loose in front seats.

Getting in to the garbage: whether it is cooked chicken bones or plastic bags, there are many things in most garbage pails that can kill a dog.  Keep garbage well out of reach. Granted, they shouldn’t be in there, but it is not a mistake they should pay for with their lives.

Drowning: In fast- moving water /waves / currents: dogs who love water, love water.  They don’t know it can be dangerous.

Choking: on golf balls: dogs love them, but they are perfect choking size for many dogs, and if cracked, the insides are full of elastic, so not a good idea as toys.

Birds of prey: keep an eye on small dogs if there are birds of prey around..there’s not much difference between a rabbit and wee dog, if you’re a hawk.

Hit by motorcycles: dirt bikes, atv’s, snowmobiles, golf carts: assume they will run in front of them at the last second.

Eating feminine hygene products: I know! Gross!  But where there are septic systems and women, there are things dogs will take great interest in, that can kill them.

Falls:  dogs are often unaware of the dangers of heights, including cliffs, drop offs, lofts, roof top decks and apartment patios.

Hit by cars on the road: we all know the danger, but this still happens to thousands of dogs a year.

Getting under pool covers: soft covers are animal death traps.  If you have animals, you need a hard pool cover.

Over-exercise/ over-exertion: dogs don’t always know when to quit; use common sense when it comes to exercise, especially for un-fit, or particularly driven dogs.

Eating mouse/rat poison; or mice or rats that have eaten poison: this is a very common way for dogs to die. Be ultra-cautious on this subject.

Eating poisonous plants: many common plants are toxic to dogs, please see poison info. Below.

Eating human foods that are toxic to dogs: chocolate, especiallydark chocolate, caffiene, even grapes, raisins and onions..

See list of poisonous substances:

Wildlife hazards:  some obvious, some not!      

Raccoons for example, can carry a toxin in their saliva that can cause dogs to become paralyzed; some dogs recover, others don’t.                                                                                                                     Bears, rattlesnakes and other wild animals can all mean big trouble for dogs.

Hit by cars in the driveway: dogs are excited when people are coming and going, not thinking or watching what they are doing; don’t expect them to move!

Backed over by cars in driveway: drivers can’t see them in the rearview and may not even be aware they are there.

Eating toxic substances: from anti-freeze which is very sweet smelling, to floor cleaners they lick, be aware!

Bees and wasps, etc: either an allergic reaction or a sting to the throat can cause death quickly.  Keep benedryl on hand!

Extreme heat/cold exposure: any extreme temperatures can be harmful to your dog. Yes, people still do leave their dogs in hot cars!

Bloat/flipped guts: most common in large, deep chested breeds, such as great danes, retrievers and dobermans, but it can happen to any dog.  Some common causes are eating too soon before or after exercise. Bloat kills very quickly. 

Please check out this vet info, so you will recognize the signs/symptoms in time to save your dog.  

Poisonous snakes/reptiles/spiders/insects: from rattle snakes, to poisonous frogs, spiders and scorpions; be aware of the dangers in your area.

Jumping out of boats; impact/drowning/propellers: be sure dogs are on lead in boats, and don’t be caught off guard by a leap that comes out of nowhere!  Dog life preservers are a great idea, especially if you have a non-swimming dog around water.

Hit by heavy machinery: big noise can cause confusion for dogs, and unlikely reactions.

Drowning: unable to get out of pools, or at docks, etc: whether they jump in or fall in, they need a way out!

Attack by geese: Yes, really!!!

Drowning in pursuit of geese or ducks or beaver, etc:  drowning predators is a common defense for water birds and animals.  Dogs get so caught up in the chase, they don’t notice exhaustion setting in.

Rural dangers: hunting season; some hunters will shoot at anything that moves; they may not realize it is a dog until too late._

Obesity: kills dogs just as it does people.

Pesticides: many dog owners are unaware of the extreme dangers of pesticides/weed killers/fertilizers to dogs.  They assume if it is safe enough for people, it is safe enough for dogs. This is not the case.  Dogs ingest them.  They inhale them directly at the source, eat them with grass, or lick their paws after a walk.  Be aware, particularly when it comes to golf courses, gardens or freshly sprayed lawns.

Falling through thin ice or holes in thick ice: this is incredibly common.  Dogs don’t “get” ice; it is up to us to keep them safe around it.

Dog attacks/dog fights: though relatively rare, fatalities happen, especially with little dogs; find that fine line between protecting them and being over-protective!_

Coyotes: even in cities, coyote populations exist, and they are not above snatching small dogs

Cooked bones: while giving a dog a bone seems like a nice thing to do, many cooked bones, even large ones, will splinter when chewed, causing internal damage when swallowed/digested.
Choking or hanging while tied up: never ever leave your dog tied up, unsupervised, there are a hundred variations of how they can, and do hang themselves or choke to death.

Choking on rawhide or other treats/toys: make sure the size of the chewie or toy is suitable and will not choke the dog if swallowed.

Eating fabric/ insides of stuffed beds/toys: any fabric can get caught up in a dogs’ guts, and the stuffing in many toys and beds can be like insulation, cutting up their insides

Over-eating: some dogs know no boundaries when it comes to food, and really will eat themselves to death if they have access to their kibble bag, or any other food source.

Consuming alcoholic beverages, recreational drugs or cigarette butts: party time means many people get forgetful or oblivious to the dangers these can present to dogs.

Ticks/ lyme’s disease: often mis-diagnosed because it can present with such a wide array of symptoms. Check your dog for ticks daily.  If you live in a tick-prevalent area, use preventatives.

Eating inedible objects: there is nothing puppies won’t swallow, so eyes-on!

Aggression/ behaviour problems: euthanasia  (seek professional help if your dog has aggression issues, or any other severe behavioural issues.  Most can be solved, but if they are not addressed, they may lead to having to put the dog down for biting, or other unacceptable behaviours.

Lost with no chip or i.d.: euthanasia at the pound.

Theft--often for puppy mills or pit fighting bait: sad and sick, but common.  Do not leave your dog tied up outside stores or anywhere else that he might be stolen.

Physical punishment: it doesn’t take much to cause physical harm to a dog (hitting, kicking, etc. Are always wrong, always unacceptable but many don’t realize how fragile dogs are, and do far more harm than they intended.  Control your temper and never use physical abuse. Even a choke chain, in untrained or aggressive hands, can do serious bodily harm.

Dogs hanging one another with choke chains/slip collars: remove choke chains whenever dogs play. There have been countless incidents of one dog’s tooth getting caught in the other dog’s collar, and in the panic that follows, no one can get them unstuck; resulting in a dead dog.


Dogs will be dogs and sometimes, no matter how hard we try to protect them, s*^% happens, but much of it can be avoided with awareness and foresight.


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