Home Safe Home
Even pets that spend most of their time indoors may be exposed to a number of potential hazards. The following list will help keep your home safe and sound for your dog or cat.
- Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your yard. The ingestion of a poisonous plant can be fatal. Click here for a list of potentially poisonous plants.
- When cleaning your house, never allow your dog to have access to the area where cleaning agents are used or stored. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth and stomach, or even be fatal.
- When using rat or mouse baits, ant or roach traps, or snail and slug baits, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your pet. Most bait contains sweet-smelling, inert ingredients, such as jelly, peanut butter and sugars, which can be very attractive to your dog.
- Never give your dog any medications unless under the direction of a veterinarian. Many medications used safely in humans can be deadly to a dog.
- Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your dog, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain-killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins and diet pills are common examples of human medications that could be potentially lethal, even in small dosages.
- Never leave chocolates unattended. Approximately one half ounce or less of baking chocolate per pound of body weight can cause problems. Even small amounts can cause pancreatic problems in dogs.
- Many common household items have been shown to be lethal in other species. Miscellaneous items that are highly toxic even in low quantities include pennies (high concentration of zinc), mothballs (contains naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene one or two balls can be life-threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents (contain cationic detergents which could cause corrosive lesions), batteries (contain acids or alkali which can also cause corrosive lesions), homemade play dough (contains high quantity of salt), winter heat source agents like hand or foot warmers (contain high levels of iron), cigarettes, coffee grounds and alcoholic drinks.
- Automotive products such as oil, gasoline and antifreeze should be stored properly. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be deadly in a dog.
- Before buying or using flea products on your dog or in your household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea products are recommended for him. Read ALL information before using a product on your pet or in your home. Always follow label instructions. Also, when using a fogger or a house spray, make sure to remove all pets from the area for the time period specified on the container. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer or your veterinarian to clarify the directions BEFORE using the product.
- When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides, always keep your dog away from the area until the area dries completely. Discuss usage of products with the product manufacturer. Always store such products in an area that will ensure no possible pet exposure.
- Sharp objects such as knives and forks, paper clips, carpet tacks and pins should be kept out of a pet's reach. Children's toys and small objects may attract a playful dog and become lodged in his mouth or swallowed.
- Exposed lamp cords and other wires should be kept as short as possible and, ideally, out of your dog’s sight and reach. If extension cords are used, mount them against a baseboard so they cannot be played with or chewed.
- Dogs are sometimes at risk on a high-rise balcony. A lively dog could squeeze through the bars and fall, leading to injury or even death.
- Other health-threatening pollutants are radon gas; fumes from household products such as cleaning agents, pesticides, paints and varnishes; and microbial and fungal agents found in air conditioners, air ducts, filters and humidifiers. Among common air pollutants are nitrogen dioxide from gas appliances, wood-burning stoves and un-vented kerosene heaters. Gas stoves and kerosene heaters or stoves should be vented to the outside of the house.
- Lead paint should be removed with extreme caution. Cleanup should be prompt and thorough. Other items containing lead accessible to dogs include lead-base paint, linoleum and caulking compounds. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite or muscle coordination, blindness and seizures.