When it comes to dogs and cats, keeping them safe in your home can be even more difficult than baby-proofing a house. Many common household items can be dangerous—and even lethal—to animals. While it can be tempting to view your fuzzy friend as a person, dogs and cats have very different systems than people. Even if something is fine for your use, it can still be a toxic substance for pets.
Animals are incredibly curious, which makes it so important to be prepared and take precautions. By being aware of what can hurt your pet and preventing your dog or cat from coming near it, you can keep your pal safe and healthy.
Below is a list of potentially toxic household dangers for pets:
Antifreeze contains a substance called ethylene glycol, which can give off an appetizing scent to pets. It can taste sweet to them, so it’s common for animals to try to drink it. Even small quantities can be deadly; a single teaspoon can kill a cat. Lock antifreeze jugs in closets on high shelves or in your vehicle’s trunk to keep them away from your pet.
Some forms of mulch, such as the popular cocoa bean mulch, contain a substance called theobromine, which is toxic to animals. While not lethal in small doses, if your pet does eat any mulch, it can make them ill. Many manufacturers have taken steps to remove theobromine from their compounds, so double-check the packaging before purchasing to protect your dog or cat. You can also keep pets away from gardens or other areas that contain mulch with the Pawz Away Outdoor Pet Barrier.
Insecticides, bug repellants, and ant traps are often ingested by pets and can be lethal. If you use any traps, make sure to put them in places your pet can’t reach, such as under the refrigerator. If you need to spray your home, take your pets to a friend’s house for a few days to minimize the chance of them getting sick.
De-icing salt is dangerous in many different ways. If animals eat it, they can get very ill. But the salt can also damage their paws. Walking on a salted sidewalk can cause burning on the pads and a lot of pain. Use salt that is pet-friendly, or get your dog used to wearing boots to protect his feet.
While aspirin or allergy pills can help you feel better, medications can be a tempting danger to your pets. If they consume human medication, they can become very ill and need emergency medical attention.
Your dog might love your children’s toys, but stuffed animals that are not made especially for pets can be harmful. The fabric tends to be lighter and the seams not as tightly reinforced, so it’s easy for your pet to tear them open and ingest the stuffing, potentially causing a stomach obstruction. They can also pry off the button eyes or other details, resulting in a blockage. Give your pet plenty of plush toys that are made to withstand a dog’s chewing and tough play.
What to Do in an Emergency
If you think your pet may have ingested something toxic or may have a blockage, contact your veterinarian right away. If it’s after hours, look for a 24-hour emergency animal hospital. Common signs of poisoning include vomiting, frothing at the mouth, lack of coordination and fever.
You can also call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. There is a fee for the service, but it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can help you determine if your pet needs to be rushed to the vet or not.
Everyday items can be very tempting to pets. Whether it’s bug repellant or even over-the-counter medicine, dogs and cats love to try to taste as many new things as possible. By learning about common household dangers, you can keep your pet away from potential harm.