Take a moment to look at your house and yard from your pet’s perspective. Literally get down on all fours – on your hands and knees — to see what life looks like at 7” to 22” off the floor, depending on whether you share life with a Chihuahua or a Great Dane.
Pets possess a PAWmazing sense of smell, so even when you feel items are out of harm’s way, they are never truly out of “paws reach” if they smell good. Statistics show our pets’ sense of smell to be from 1,000 to 1,000,000 times better than ours, so remove temptations to keep your pets safe.
There are many dangers in a typical household that can be harmful to your pet.
Realize when using liquid or powder to clean floors and countertops, kill bugs or nourish lawns, what you use can be absorbed through your pet’s paw pads. What isn’t, will be ingested when your dog or cat grooms himself! Do your fur kids a favor, and use only pet-safe products around your house and yard.
Seemingly harmless items like pennies could be fatal to a small dog if swallowed. These copper-coated coins, minted after 1982, are actually zinc discs. When ingested by your dog, his stomach acid breaks down the zinc resulting in liver toxicity, and even death, if not quickly treated.
What about push pins, staples or toothpicks dropped on carpet? Once inside your precious pet, punctures and obstructions can occur.
What to Watch For
Anything within paw’s reach is a potential danger to your dog, and this can include things that seem to be neatly stowed behind cabinet doors and on shelving. If you cohabitate with a kitty cat, you’ll also need to get out a step stool to glance at the top of your refrigerator and on shelves to notice what hazards lurk in higher places, since that’s where felines can also roam.
The following are only a few of the many common items to be cautious of in basic home scenarios:
- Electric cords
- TV remote controls can look like toys
- Stereos can be deafeningly loud to animals’ sensitive hearing
- Falling knick knacks, pictures, lamps
- Sharp coffee table edges
- Cords from blinds and draperies can cause choking and entanglement issues
- Rug chewing can result in intestinal blockages
- Rocking chairs can catch tails and paws
- Fireplaces, smokeless logs, sawdust can all cause bowel obstruction, lighter fluid poisoning, burns, smoke inhalation
- Heating units/vents, window screens can result in burns and falls
According to the Pet Poison Helpline®, (800) 213-6680, the Top 10 Kitchen Toxins are:
- Grapes, raisins, currants can cause kidney failure
- Xylitol found in sugar-free gum & candy can plummet your dog’s glucose levels
- Onions can result in hemolytic anemia
- NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve & Motrin for example)
- Antidepressants (Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
- ADD/ADHD Medications (Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta)
- Benzodiazepines & Sleep Aids (Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)
- Birth Control (Estrogen, Estradiol, Progesterone)
- ACE Inhibitors (Zestril, Altace)
- Beta-Blockers (Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)
- Thyroid Hormones (Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)
- Cholesterol-Lowering Agents (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
- Macadamia Nuts could cause GI problems as well as paralysis
- Cleaning Supplies could cause multiple toxicities
- Unbaked bread dough & alcohol, both of which can lead to alcohol poisoning
But also watch out for…
- Stove/Oven can cause burns and pets can turn on knobs and cause fires!
- Electric cords & outlets may be enticing to lick, an electrocution hazard, if food has been splashed
- Cleaning products
- Pantry items, some may be fatal to pets
- Knives and sharp tools
- Cabinet doors/refrigerator/dishwasher can be hazardous if pets get closed in
- Medications are the #1 cause of poisoning in our pets! Prescription & OTC
- Medical Marijuana (but of course this could be “stashed” elsewhere in the home)
- Cleaning products
- Falling in or drinking out of toilet containing chemicals
- Electric outlets and appliances
- Standing water in tubs or showers which could be a drowning hazard
- Dental Floss can be a choking hazard or intestinal blockage
- Drapery and blind cords can strangle
- Anything that can fall (i.e. knick knacks, pictures, mirrors, television sets, items from shelves)
- Beds collapsing are dangerous if your pet sleeps underneath
- A rug or blanket chewing
- Any medications in nightstand could be swallowed if dropped or snatched
- Batteries (such as from hearing aids or other appliances)
- Getting closed in cabinets/closets, even paws or tails if not entire pet
- Children’s toys which could be anywhere in the house could be swallowed
- Shoelaces, hair ribbons and other such pieces of clothing could be ingested
Garage & Outdoor Areas
- Paints, paint removers, cleaners of all types could be ingested, inhaled, absorbed
- Insecticides & fertilizers dangerous if not pet-safe
- Car engines, please always tap on in cold months as an animal could be keeping warm near the engine and check behind before you back out!
- Barbeques as well as charcoal, lighter fluid, matches and the flame itself
- Fences. Is fence tall enough, can your pet dig under, anything close enough to jump on and then over the fence, are boards tight fitting with no sharp edges or nails protruding? Is fence-fighting a concern with a neighbor dog?
- Gates. Are they secure with not too large of a gap under or at closure for a pet to squeeze through?
- Dog House or Kennel with no sharp edges, well-ventilated, no parasites
- Pools/Spas/Fountains. drowning is always a concern; fenced off or ALWAYS
- supervise pets! What about chlorine and other chemicals? If a pet gets into or drinks water containing chemicals, either could be very bad news.
- Sprinkler systems and outdoor electrical wiring
- Hot concrete and other surfaces
- Trash cans have secured lids so no danger of ingesting contents
- Wildlife. Do you have pet-friendly deterrents to keep them away?
Stay Aware And Protect Your Pet
When you have a pet, you have a furry toddler for life and one whom you have the privilege of protecting. While this is not a complete list, it is a great starting point for you to consider. Please take the time to review your entire home for potential dog dangers and kitty catastrophes to prevent them from happening!
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Pet insurance provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured, you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of his treatment. You can just focus on your pet’s care.
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Denise Fleck is the Pet Safety Crusader™ having personally taught 20,000 humans to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better. Her mission is to help YOU make a difference in the life of an animal through Pet First-Aid, Senior Pet Care and Disaster Preparedness classes and books. Learn more at www.PetSafetyCrusader.com