Get Down on All Fours to Keep Your Pet Safe | PetFirst
Get Down on All Fours to Keep Your Pets Safe
Pet Care & Health

Get Down on All Fours to Keep Your Pet Safe

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 years ago

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. 

Also, 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, these items can cause punctures and obstructions can then occur.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month

October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month. With that in mind, it’s important to take a moment to look at your house, yard, and everyday surroundings from your pet’s perspective. 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 your life and space with a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. 

Anything within paw’s reach is a potential danger to your dog or cat, 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 roam.

The following are only a few of the many common items to be cautious of in basic home scenarios:

  Living Room

  • 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


Get Down on All Fours to Keep Your Pets Safe

According to the Pet Poison Helpline®, (800) 213-6680, the Top 10 Kitchen Toxins are:

  1. Chocolate – can be fatal
  2. Grapes, raisins, currants can cause kidney failure
  3. Xylitol found in sugar-free gum & candy can plummet your dog’s glucose levels
  4. Fatty table scraps
  5. Onions can result in hemolytic anemia
  6. Compost can be toxic
  7. Human Medications
    1. NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve & Motrin for example)
    2. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    3. Antidepressants (Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
    4. ADD/ADHD Medications (Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta)
    5. Benzodiazepines & Sleep Aids (Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)
    6. Birth Control (Estrogen, Estradiol, Progesterone)
    7. ACE Inhibitors (Zestril, Altace)
    8. Beta-Blockers (Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)
    9. Thyroid Hormones (Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)
    10. Cholesterol-Lowering Agents (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
  8. Macadamia Nuts could cause GI problems as well as paralysis
  9. Cleaning Supplies could cause multiple toxicities
  10. Unbaked bread dough & alcohol, both of which can lead to alcohol poisoning

But also watch out for…

  • Stove/Oven can burn but 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, refrigerators, washers and dryers, and dishwashers can be hazardous if pets get closed in 


  • Medications are the #1 cause of poisoning in our pets!
  • Prescription & OTC Medical Marijuana (this could be kept elsewhere in the home too)  
  • Cleaning products
  • Falling in or drinking out of toilet containing chemicals
  • Electric outlets and appliances
  • Candles
  • 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)
  • Collapsing Bed – dangerous if pet sleeps underneath
  • 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 the 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 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? 

Keeping Your Pet Safe And Healthy

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!

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurancecan help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1 has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget. 

Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today. 


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

1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC. 

2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. 

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