Source: Rebecca Campbell
Most pet owners consider their animals as members of their family and spend a lot of money on their food, toys, and even more to ensure they lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Pet owners are generally aware of the dangers of feeding furry loved ones sweets, chocolate, onions, or even some fruits. However, these are not the only risks - some other harmful substances are usually found in homes that can silently threaten the pets’ health when ingested.
From Great Danes to tiny Poodles, dogs love to eat, lick and sniff just about anything. Sometimes toys receive too much TLC and the stuffing and squeaky parts are torn. Or those food scraps that are swiftly swallowed up before anyone sees.
Although many pets learn how to live in harmony with their surrounding, household items, small toys, discarded foods, and even indoor plants can still pose a serious risk to your pet’s health and wellbeing.
Cleaning products typically contain highly toxic chemicals and as such, they are high on the risk list. It’s therefore very important to keep them safely shut away from your pet’s reach. Pets love the smell and taste of antifreeze, windscreen washer and washing detergent, so make sure those containers are tightly closed, keep them somewhere high and possibly locked, and wipe up any spills that might seem very attractive to them.
Many common houseplants, including spider plants, elephant ears and dieffenbachia are toxic to pets. If you can, eliminate them from your home or put them out of reach on shelves or in hanging baskets. Several outdoor plant varieties, can also be poisonous when ingested, so you need to be very cautious as to what you plant (and what is already) in your garden.
The only medicine safe to be given to pets is the one prescribed by your vet. Human medicines such as simple painkillers can be deadly for dogs and cats. Vitamin and mineral supplements are also a potential risk so ensure you also keep them out of reach.
Prescribed pet medicines
Vet-prescribed medicines are safe for your pet only if you make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. If you’re uncertain about anything, contact your vet to double-check. If the medicine has been made to be palatable, you need to store away as it just may be too tempting.
Foods that are healthy for humans, such as avocados, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are toxic to cats and dogs. Dogs may suffer from low blood sugar or even have liver damage if they ingest the artificial sweetener xylitol. This is found in some types of gums, candy, peanut butter, mouthwash and toothpaste.
Other foods, such as citrus fruits, coconut, dairy items, salty snack foods and nuts aren't deadly but can cause unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, increase in body temperature, overall weakness and sluggishness, depression, and excessive thirst and urination. Although it’s common to see cats in storybooks and cartoons happily drinking from bowls of milk, many cats are lactose intolerant.
Chocolate might be delicious for people, but it can be potentially deadly for pets. This is thanks to the chemical found inside called theobromine which is highly toxic for dogs. Consumed in large amounts, it can cause death within 24 hours, but even tiny amounts are considered unsafe.
Just like humans, pets can suffer carbon monoxide poisoning, which is why you must ensure fuel-fired heaters are properly maintained. This is especially important if your cat or dog sleeps next to the boiler or in an area where elevated levels of carbon monoxide may be present. Typical carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include drowsiness, lethargy and weakness. As a preventive measure, buy a carbon monoxide detector at your local hardware store.
As most pets love chewing on things, if it happens to be a battery and it gets pierced, it can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. This is particularly dangerous if your pet swallows it, not only for the toxicity but also for causing a bowel obstruction. All batteries are potentially poisonous so if you suspect it has been chewed or swallowed by your pet, contact your vet immediately.
Coins should be kept out of reach, particularly pennies since they’re made with zinc which is toxic to animals if swallowed. These pose a danger of choking or suffocation, so ensure they’re kept out of reach and the same goes for smaller tools and kitchen utensils.
Pet proofing your home
Electrocution or burns from electrical cords is a massive risk for small pets, especially puppies and kittens as they tend to chew things much more than adult dogs, so these youngsters should always be watched carefully and their exposure to electric cords minimized.
Windows and balconies are also a potential risk but by installing screen windows and mini-fences you can prevent falls and you can also make sure you don’t let pets out on balconies unsupervised. By blocking any space along the edges where they might squeeze through, you can let them hang out with you on the balcony without worries.
Furthermore, in your bathroom, keep toilet lids down to prevent your pet from falling in and drinking the toilet water. Also, if your cat likes to curl up in small spaces, your washer and dryer can become a death trap. Make sure you always check the washer and dryer before you start it to ensure your pet isn’t lounging inside. And, when the machines aren’t in use, keep the doors closed.
Ensuring your pets are safe requires constant care and vigilance. Taking on board the above discussed potential dangers (along with the usual level of attention and love), you’ll be ensuring that your animal friends are happy and safe and that you can have peace of mind enjoying their companionship.
About the Author:
Sofia is a passionate writer from Sydney. She also enjoys decorating houses and engaging in home renovation projects. That is why she loves sharing her experience and advice with other people through her writing. Besides this, she loves technology and gadgets which can help us get through a busy workday.