Pet Dangers Lurking in your Home

We all like to think of our homes as being safe havens for our pets.  We are offering them protection from the dangers of the outside world, right?  What some people are not aware of however, are the dangers that lurk INSIDE our homes.  Unfortunately, there are several products that we may use on a daily basis that are very dangerous, and sometimes even fatal, to our animals.  Make yourself aware of them and impossible for your pets to get to them.

One of the biggest poisons to cats and dogs that you will find in your garage is antifreeze.  It contains ethylene glycol, which gives it a sweet taste that some animals find irresistible.  Fertilizer and other lawn and garden sprays can also be very toxic.  Keep these products in locked metal cabinets or up on high shelves that cannot be accessed by a curious pet.  Mouse and rat poisons also seem to be especially attractive to our pets, but are equally as deadly.  Consider a different method of rodent extermination if you have pets in and around your home.     

Unfortunately, the danger doesn’t stop at the garage door.  There are several things found in our kitchens that can be harmful also.  Chocolate contains theobromine, which is very toxic, especially to dogs.  Baking and dark chocolate have the highest levels and are the most dangerous.  Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in sugar free candy and gum that is extremely poisonous to our pets.  Other toxic foods include grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, coffee (caffeine), tobacco and alcohol.  Keep these items in high cupboards or locked in childproof cabinets. 

Other household items that need to be locked up tight are all medications (both human and animal ones), but especially NSAIDs (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, etc.).  Also on the list are batteries, zinc metals (coins), lead products (paint or paint chips), dishwasher and laundry detergents and household cleaners.  Use caution even when you are using household cleaners, as they leave behind strong residue that may cause allergic reactions to our pets. 

There are several plants that are also toxic to dogs and cats.  These include, but are not limited to:  lilies, poinsettias and tulips.  Visit the ASPCA website for a complete list of toxic plants.  Consider removing all toxic plants from your home if you have pets.  Better safe than sorry!

Some symptoms of poisoning may show right away, while others may take a few days before you notice anything suspicious.  These signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, bloody or black feces, lethargy or weakness, seizures, respiratory stress, increased heart rate, temperature and blood pressure, stomach and intestinal ulcers, and kidney failure.  If you notice any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.  If possible, gather up any potential poisoning that is remaining; this may be helpful to your veterinarian. 

Take the time to go through your home to make sure all hazardous products are locked up tight.  For our furry friends, a safe home is a happy home!