9 Uncommon Pet Poisons

April 23, 2014

By now, most of us know the usual household items to keep away from our pets.  We all know the dangers of chocolate to dogs and how certain other human foods can actually poison our dogs and cats.  But just as you would child-proof your home, you should also make it safe for your fur-kids.

The ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Group put out a list of household products that most of us might not have considered.

  •  Rat and mouse bait.  This is a no-brainer but sometimes we could forget we put out this poison, and a pet could find it.  When we first moved to Florida, we were introduced to tree rats.  In Southwest Florida, if you allow trees or shrubs to grow up touching the sides or hanging directly over your home, you will likely find tree rats trying to gain access to your attic.  It was a battle from the get-go.  Before we had cats, tree rats would somehow get into our screened lanai.  We never could figure how they could squeeze beneath the screen door.  One night, we put out the chewable rat poison but forgot to put it away the next morning.  Our Schnauzer found it immediately and spent a day and night at the vet’s office.  Our dog survived, but it was a tough lesson for us.
  • Flea and tick preventatives.  These spot-on chemicals and flea collars are all poisonous if ingested.  Never allow your pet to access them.
  • Human medications.  Aspirin, cold and flu meds, acetaminophen, diet pills, vitamins, antidepressants, hormone pills or creams or lotions, and most any other human medicine could kill a dog or cat.
  • Bleach.  We use bleach as a disinfectant and it is safe as long as we dilute it and rinse well.  But full-strength bleach is caustic and could prove fatal to a small animal.  The same is true for many other disinfectants and cleaners.  Consider switching to an earth and pet-friendly cleaning product.  Seventh Generation makes good ones.
  • Moth balls.  Moth balls are good for protecting your woolen items from silverfish, moths and other fabric-chewing critters.  They will also deter snakes.  But those smelly little round balls look like fun to curious cats or nosy dogs.  A dog will certainly chew on them and ingest the poison.  Cats are more likely to bat them around and play with them.  But they would later lick their paws to get rid of the odor and ingest the poison.
  • Liquid room deodorizers.  Those cute containers with the long diffuser sticks that soak up the liquid below are easily knocked over by curious kitties.  The contents are poisonous.
  • Tobacco products.  Dogs will eat cigarette butts, chewing tobacco or any related item.  Don’t leave such things within their reach.
  • Detergents, drain cleaners, oven cleaners and fabric softeners.  Be careful where you store these products, because it is easy to leave a bit of residue on the outside of the caps or rims.  A curious animal could ingest enough by licking to cause serious harm.
  • Sugarfree gum.  The Xylitol used as a sweetener in the gum is extremely toxic to pets. Keep your handbag out of reach of pets, as you would a child.

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