Keeping Your Best Friend Safe – Part One

If you are lucky enough to be a dog owner, chances are he (or she) is a beloved family member. The days of the family dog being banished to the backyard and rarely kept in the company of human family members are generally gone, thank goodness; dogs are “pack” animals and their human family is their “pack”. Dogs thrive on being in the company of those they love, and become lonely and depressed if they are not included and given attention and affection. Dogs today are much more likely to spend at least some of their time indoors with the family, and even finding dogs living happily in apartments is no longer uncommon.

Just as it is imperative to be safety-aware with our human children, so it is crucial to be aware of common household dangers to dogs and take steps to ensure their safety. Whether your dog is a new puppy or a canine senior citizen, there are hazards common to every home of which owners must be aware, and take necessary steps to prevent access for canine family members.

Hazardous To Dogs:

Chocolate. Surprisingly, not everyone is aware of just how dangerous this human treat is to dogs. And don’t be fooled – dogs love the taste of chocolate. But chocolate is toxic to all dogs; while some dogs may consume it and be OK “this time”, chocolate can sicken and even kill a dog very quickly. It is amongst the most common causes of canine poisoning. Dogs can have seizures, and develop pancreatitis or pancreatic failure. If you ever think your dog has ingested any chocolate at all, an immediate trip to the vet is critical. (Dark chocolate is by far the worst).

Medicines. Just like children can get into medicines, so can dogs. A pill bottle, box, or blister pack may seem like a fun chew toy, but if the dog inevitably breaks through to the goodies inside, the consequences will likely be serious.

Household Cleaners. Like medicines, these are very dangerous. Keep them up and out of reach, or even better, locked away.

Food Leftovers. Your pooch will likely sit by and salivate as he watches you eat your scrumptious dinner, and many are very good at laying a guilt trip on their human family at dinner time. Leftovers, even in the rubbish bin, can be risky to dogs. Cooked bones, for example, while ever so appealing to Fido, may land him in hospital; they tend to break easily and can puncture internal organs. Painful, life threatening, and very expensive in vet fees.

Household Items. The list of household items which your god will view as playthings, and which are dangerous to dogs, is endless. Just for starters, think: balloons, candles, rubber bands, hair pins and elastics, string, wool, tinsel, sewing needles, pencils, paper clips, staples, razors and razor blades, cosmetics, plastic bags, twist ties, bottle tops, electrical cords… this writer knows someone whose dog ate a plastic disposable razor. But she has two dogs, BOTH of whom had to go to the vet, be sedated, be x-rayed, so the culprit could be identified and undergo emergency surgery. Lesson learned.

Come back next time for Part Two of how to keep your dog safe…

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