Every day, Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis, get calls from frantic pet owners who accidentally had their dog or cat ingest something poisonous. Today, we’ll cover PART II: How to pet-proof your house appropriately!
- Crate training is imperative whenever you’re introducing a new puppy into the house. Crates should never be viewed as punishment; rather, an appropriately crate-trained dog will view it as a safe place (e.g., den). When you’re not home, the safest way to keep your dog out of poisoning danger is to crate him or her.
- While there are thousands of plants out there, only a few are truly very dangerous to pets. Before you bring in any plant cuttings, florist arrangements, or houseplants, make sure they aren’t poisonous to your pet. If you let your dog go out into your backyard unsupervised, make sure to check out the plants outside, too. For cats, I worry most about lilies, while for dogs, sago palm. Here’s a video on what common plant dangers exist in your house or yard.
- 50 percent of calls to the Pet Poison Helpline are in reference to human medications: antidepressants, sleep aids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and heart/blood pressure pills. Last week, we talked about common tips to avoid having your pet poisoned by human medications! Here’s a video on the dangers of human medications.
- Spring cleaning? Keep pets away from cleaning products, particularly oven cleaners, toilet bowl concentrates, lime-removal products, and laundry detergents. Shut them out of the room while using these products.
- Have a dog that likes to drink out of the toilet? Make sure everyone in the household closes toilet lids to keep pets from drinking the water. This is particularly important if you use automatic chemical treatments for the tank or bowl.
- Keep mouse and rat poison far away from a pet's access. While these poisons often have "child-proof containers" (e.g., black plastic boxes housing the poison) and bittering agents, dogs still seem to be able to chew through and swallow them! Certain rodenticide products do not have treatment antidotes. Know what a product's active ingredient is and its potential toxicity for pets.
- Own a bird? Don’t use any spray aerosols or heavily fragranced products (including plug-in products) around caged birds or other caged pets. Due to their unique anatomy, birds are very sensitive to fragrance.
- Keep open dishes of potpourri (liquid or dry form) out of reach.
- Don't leave batteries of any type lying around. Your remote control, cell phone, etc., all play dangerous corrosive risks to your dog when chewed on.
- Remember, dogs eat their own feces, and will eat anything you might consider garbage or unpalatable. Even your cigarette butts pose nicotine poisoning risks to pets.
- Don’t let your pets into the garage — there are several lurking poisons in there that can be fatal to your pets. Keep all automotive products (e.g., windshield wiper fluid, motor oil, antifreeze, tiki torch oil, etc.) out of reach from pets. Clean all spills up immediately and thoroughly by wiping them away and hosing the area well with water to dilute any potential poison.
- There are so many garden dangers that are threats to dogs, and they seem to like to eat fertilizers. Keep bags tightly sealed. Use products according to label instructions.
- Certain garden and yard products contain metaldehyde, organophosphates or carbamates, all which are very dangerous to pets when ingested. Even certain types of organic fertilizers (e.g., bone meal, blood meal, etc.) are dangerous! When in doubt, store these appropriately out of reach of your pet, and only use them in your yard if you can prevent your dog or cat from being exposed to that area of the yard.
Have any other helpful hints to avoid poisoning in your pets?
Next week, kitchen poisons lurking in your house!
Dr. Justine Lee