Parents go to great lengths to baby-proof their homes by blocking electrical outlets and ensuring there are no sharp edges to fall or bump against. Making your home safe for your dog or cat is a little more complicated, yet necessary.
If you have a cat or dog, here are some of the most common household dangers they might face.
You might not think flowers would be an issue, but some are lethal for cats. Any flower that belongs to the genus Lilium contains a chemical that can damage your cat’s kidneys, and lily poisoning can be fatal if not treated quickly.
“Lilies are especially toxic to cats when ingested, but can also be deadly just by biting a petal, licking the pollen off their coat while grooming, or drinking water from the vase,” says Dr. Cindy Galbreath from Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care.
“If you suspect your cat has come into contact with any of these flowers, take them to the vet immediately for emergency care.”
Specific flowers to avoid include:
- Easter lilies
- Stargazer lilies
- Asiatic lilies
- Lily of the Valley
If your cat becomes lethargic, starts vomiting, is drooling, or loses their appetite, take them to the ER right away.
2. Food scraps on the floor
Have you ever seen your pet nibbling on a crumb of something you haven’t cooked in weeks? Pets are excellent scavengers, and if you drop something on the floor and don’t pick it up, they’ll find it, whether that’s an hour or a week later.
The problem with not picking up food scraps is that some items might be toxic to your pets. For dogs and cats, the most common concerns are onions, garlic, cherry and apricot pits, avocados, walnuts, raisins, and grapes.
No matter where it falls, even if you have to get a flashlight, get in the habit of immediately picking up any food scraps and crumbs that fall to the floor. It also helps to train your dog to know what “drop it” and “leave it” mean.
3. Sharing crackers and other snacks
If you have a habit of giving your dog a bite of everything you eat, you could be feeding them dangerous spices without even knowing. For example, paprika is especially bad for dogs and can cause heart problems. You’d be surprised to see how many crackers and other crunchy snacks contain paprika, like Goldfish crackers and Cheez-Its.
Another serious ingredient to avoid is xylitol. Since this has become a popular sweetener, lots of pets have become seriously ill from xylitol poisoning.
Instead of giving your dog a bite of your snacks, get them a bag of treats made for dogs, and then you can enjoy a snack together without harming your pup.
4. Raw dough with yeast
Raw dough is bad for your pets, which includes dogs and cats. Cooked bread isn’t healthy, either, but it doesn’t pose the same danger as it does when raw.
If you make anything out of dough that contains yeast, don’t feed the raw dough to your pets. Inside their stomach, the yeast will ferment the carbohydrates, which creates ethanol and carbon dioxide. If your pet eats uncooked dough, they can end up bloated, disoriented, and sometimes ataxic, which can be fatal.
Dogs and cats are both curious and unaware of the dangers of swallowing random things around the house, like batteries. If your pet ingests an alkaline battery that has been punctured, it will leak fluid, can burn the esophagus and mouth, and can obstruct or burn holes in the intestines.
The best way to prevent battery ingestion is to be conscious about handling batteries. Never leave them lying around on the floor or a counter, and don’t let your kids play with them – they might drop them or leave them somewhere accessible to your pet.
Cats and dogs love dark spaces, and when you open the footrest on your recliner, your pets will probably climb inside. If you don’t know they’re in there, you could end up hurting them when you close the footrest. If you have this type of recliner, keep your eye out for your pet before putting the footrest down.
Keep your pet safe with some forethought.
Although there are plenty of potential hazards around, you can prevent harm to your pet by creating habits that make your home safer. Simple rules like not sharing your snacks and picking up food scraps will go a long way to keep your pet safe. If you need specific advice, you can always ask their vet.
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