Every home contains various dangers to pets. As a pet owner, it is important to remember that pets, just like children, are curious creatures. They have teeth, claws, a great sense of smell and unless closely supervised, they will get into things that can be harmful or even fatal to them. Below you will find a list of the top 10 common household poisons that all pet owners should be aware of and take the proper precautions to protect their pets from.
1. Human Medications
Every year thousands of pets are poisoned by medicines intended for human use only. Prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, such as cold medications, pain killers, dietary supplements and anti-depressants have all been involved in the number of pet poisonings. Pill bottles left on counters or bedside tables or medications dropped on the floor are all contributors to pet poisonings. Always keepall medications securely out of your pet’s reach, preferably in a hard-to-reach cabinet.
In an effort to keep our homes insect free, we often unintentionally put our pets at risk of poisoning. Your pet may become poisoned by ingesting insecticides that have been applied to areas in and around the home. Be sure to read all labels carefully, use only as directed and safely dispose of containers.
Another very common means of insecticide poisoning, involves the misuse of flea and tick products. One example of this would be applying the wrong topical treatment to the wrong species. Before beginning any flea and tick control program, be sure to consult with your pet’s veterinarian about the right treatment for your pet.
3. People Food
As pet owners, we love our furry little friends and we enjoy sharing good things with them. Sometimes this includes the foods we like to eat. However, it is important to remember that not all human foods are good for your pet. Foods such as citrus foods, grapes, raisins and avocado may be harmful for your pet. Chocolate is an extremely toxic food to pets because it contains methylxanthines, which if ingested in significant amounts can cause diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, urination, panting, hyperactivity and in severe cases, tremors, seizures and abnormal heart rhythms. Before feeding your pet any human foods be sure to consult your veterinarian about the safety or toxicity of the food to your pet.
One very important fact to remember about rodenticides (rat poisons) is: they are baits. The same inactive ingredients that attract rats and mice to them will also attract your pet. Never place rodenticides anywhere within reach of your pet. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions for pets. These can include bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.
5. Household Plants
Many common household plants found in and around homes, can be harmful to pets. These include varities such as rhododendron, azalea, lilies, kalanchoe, sago palm and schefflera. Always display these plants in a safe location out of reach of your pet.
6. Veterinary Medications
Although veterinary medications are intended for pet use, they are often improperly dispensed or misapplied by well-meaning pet owners. Some such medications include heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs and nutritional supplements. Always follow specific instructions outlined by your pet’s veterinarian for administering any medications to your pet.
Chemicals found in ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool chemicals form a substantial danger to pets. Ingestion of substances in this group can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, respiratory difficulty and chemical burns. Keep all chemical containing products out of the reach of your pet and always clean up any chemical product spills immediately.
8. Household Cleaners
Everyone knows that all household cleaning supplies such as bleaches, detergents, disinfectants, carpet cleaning products and even toiletries or other personal products should be kept out of the reach of children. This same rule also applies to our pets. These products when inhaled, chewed or ingested by pets can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation of the respiratory tract.
9. Heavy Metals
Pets, just like children, can be exposed to heavy metals through many sources, including lead-based paint chips, copper pennies, linoleum, contaminated soil or water source and lead dust produced when surfaces in older homes are scraped or sanded.
Different types of fertilizers contain different levels of toxicity. When applying fertilizer to your lawn or garden, it is extremely important to read the label carefully to determine if the chemicals it contains are a threat to your pet’s safety. Fertilizers that do notcontain herbicides or pesticides will usually not be harmful to your pet. But as a general rule, it is always a good idea to water a lawn or garden thoroughly after applying fertilizer to help wash granules into the soil and off the blades of grass.