There’s more to being a pet owner than keeping your furry friend up to date on rabies shots and purchasing healthful food and treats. Did you know that the screens in your windows and even some plants in your garden may pose a hazard to your pet? Help keep your pet safe in your home by taking a look at some of the household items that may be dangerous to your pet.
You might want to think twice before sharing food from your plate with your pet. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), human foods that can be dangerous to pets include avocado, chocolate and onions. A pet that eats food it shouldn’t may experience muscle seizures, vomiting and other symptoms, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Feel like sharing your meal? Then you may want to consult your pet’s veterinarian to see which foods your dog is allowed to eat.
Keeping your pet safe while he sunbathes near an open window may require some attention, especially if the window is on the second floor or higher. To help prevent your dog or cat from falling out of a window, The Oregonian advises using screen guards or safety screens (typically available at your local pet store), and to keep an eye on pets while they are on patios or balconies.
If snow and ice are in the forecast for your area this winter, don’t reach for the ice-melting chemicals just yet. Ice-melting pellets on your sidewalk or outdoor stairs can get on your dog’s paws if she steps on them. Your pet’s skin and/or paws may develop dryness and irritation, or she could get ill from licking the chemicals from her paws, according to the ASPCA National Capital Poison Control. If your pet appears ill after walks during snowy or icy weather, call your veterinarian right away. To help keep your pooch’s paws safe from chemicals this winter, the ASPCA suggests having your dog wear booties for walks, then washing your pet’s paws with warm water once you get home.
While plants can look pretty in a pot on your deck or in your yard, the ASPCA notes that more than 1,000 plants may be dangerous to pets, including azaleas and sago palms. Talk to your veterinarian about any concerns about plants and how to protect your pet. Hazards for pets in the yard can extend beyond types of plants. Pesticides can be beneficial to pets since they can control pests such as insects, weeds and rodents, but some pesticides may also be harmful if ingested by pets.
All pesticides should be used and stored properly, according to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC). For example: remove pets, pet toys, food bowls and bedding from the area before treatment; keep pets away from treated areas until the pesticide is completely dry and the area has been well ventilated; follow directions on the label when using pesticides or pesticide baits; and, according to the NPIC, if you use a lawn service for your yard maintenance, consider mentioning that you have pets so that proper care can be taken if chemicals are applied. If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, call the NPIC at 800-858-7378.
It’s not always obvious if a household item could pose a potential danger to your pet. When in doubt, This Old House suggests getting down to your pet’s eye level to look for dangling electrical cords and window treatment cords that are within reach, household cleaners that are not put away, trash cans that may be easy for your pet to access and other hazards.
Do you know what to do if your pet ingests an item that’s harmful to her? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) suggests looking for signs that your pet may have eaten something poisonous, including a sudden change in behavior, diarrhea and vomiting. If you think your pet may have ingested something poisonous, you can call your pet’s veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCC) at 888-426-4435 (just remember a consultation fee of $65 may be charged to your credit card).
While you can’t always protect your pet from dangers in your home, a little bit of planning and research can help you create a safe and nurturing environment for your furry friend.