If you’re a pet owner, it’s obvious. You know the value your furry companion brings to your life. But you may not realize how many hidden dangers there are lurking in and around your home.
From the foods you eat to the products you use to keep your home clean, we thought the arrival of Spring would be a good time to review the most common hidden pet toxins. It’s also National Poison Prevention Week. So with that, here are five common household items to watch out for to protect your pet’s health:
- Medications: Over 25% of the calls into the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in 2010 were for pets that had gotten into human medications. Over the counter meds are included in this, not just prescription meds, so make sure to keep your aspirin and ibuprofen bottles in your medicine cabinet. Animal medications are also a risk, as many are made to taste good. If your dog finds his joint medication a tasty treat, then there’s a risk he may down the whole bottle, leading to an overdose.
- Food: When dogs get sick, human food is often the culprit. Chocolate may be the most well-known no-no for dogs, as it can cause anxiety, vomiting, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is for your pet (cats, too). Other foods items to keep out of reach of both cats and dogs include grapes, raisins, onions and garlic. Also, xylitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free health foods, should be hidden in a cupboard.
- Cleaners: Most conventional household cleaning supplies are filled with chemicals. They’re not only bad for your pets, more and more studies are showing they’re really bad for the whole family and the environment. If you use cleaners with bleach, acids or detergents, keep them locked up. The same goes for batteries and potpourri.
- Inside & Outside Toxins: It may seem obvious, but all the “cides” (insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, etc.) are all seriously poisonous to your pets. You’d never guess it, but 20% of the calls into the APCC concern insecticides, a class that includes products designed to control fleas. Baits used to kill mice and other rodents use grains to attract their targets. Unfortunately that also attracts dogs and cats, and these products are known to cause seizures, internal bleeding and kidney failure. As for herbicides, their salty taste is the lure for your pets, so keep them hidden and keep your dogs off the lawn until treated areas have had time to dry. Other items found in the garage can also poison your pet—antifreeze, fertilizers and ice melts are common threats.
- Plants: It’s not just the herbicides and fertilizers you use on your plants (both indoors and out) that can make your pet sick. The plants themselves pose a risk. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Similarly, sago palms can cause liver failure in both dogs and cats. These plants may bring beauty to your home, but keep them up high enough so as not to tempt your pets.