Is Your Home Free of Pet-Toxic Substances?

July 10, 2015

Every years, more than 180,000 pets are treated for ingesting possible toxic substances, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).  Accidents happen.  We had one such accident with our little Schnauzer, Jack, years ago.  Fortunately, our dog survived, but the outcome could have been tragic.

Below, in no particular order, are some common household items that could poison your cat or dog:

  1. Human prescription medications. Just as you would keep such medications out of reach of your human children, your fur kids deserve the same protection.  The most common drugs that animals manage to consume are heart medications, blood pressure pills, narcotic pain pills and NSAIDS.  We learned years ago to keep the animals out of the kitchen when we are working in there for any reason.  This way, they cannot grab a dropped pill off the floor before one of us can retrieve it.  Teach your dog to sit and stay on command to accomplish this.  Our cats were sprayed with a water bottle a few times before they got the message that the kitchen was off-limits, at least while we are in there.
  2. Natural OTC Human medications. From Tylenol to ibuprofen to vitamins and neutraceutical products like fish oil, we humans consume a boatload of meds that could harm our pets.  Be sure you don’t leave any of those around where a nosy dog or cat could reach them.
  3. Veterinary products and medications. My dogs love the taste of their heartworm preventative and if it were left in their reach, they would rip the package apart to eat all of them.  Veterinarians give our pets flavored medications to make them more palatable, but an overdose due to a nosy pup could prove fatal.
  4. Chocolate. I have written about our Great Dane’s chocolate episode many times and suffice it to say, we are now very careful not to leave any around where our pets could get to it.  The ASPCA says that chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest.  Too much chocolate can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures.  Don’t risk it!
  5. Rodenticides. Be very careful where you place rat poisons and bait traps.  Your pet can be amazingly resourceful.
  6. Plants.  Several years ago our kittens, Chico and Jake, played around in what we thought were pet-safe plants on our lanai.  They destroyed the plants in their fun and games.  One day Chico was sitting in the philodendron plant and began heaving.  He eventually barfed up green plant pieces and that’s when I realized that more research on those plants was necessary.  Did you know that even the lowly philodendron is poisonous to kitties who eat them?  Lesson learned!  Keep plants away from curious pets.
  7. Cleaning products. Most pet owners know that many household cleaners are toxic to pets. You can avoid this by purchasing only pet-friendly cleaning products.  There are several brands on the market, but we like Seventh Generation.

Our pets depend on us to keep them well.  It is up to us to be worthy of their trust.


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