Happy New Year! A new year is the time many people make resolutions, and one thing a lot of us do is, at some point in January, have a bit of a cleanup. It might not be spring, but it can be a great time for a “spring” clean. It’s also a really good time to remove those things from your home that can be a hazard to your beloved pets.
Dogs and cats are renowned for getting into things they shouldn’t, and if you spot these common household dangers to pets in your home, either get rid of them or store them safely so that your pet can never have access.
- Foods: ALL of the following can be harmful or fatal to pets:
- Fat Trimmings
- Cooked bones (these can splinter)
- Raw Fish
- Avocado (toxic to dogs, birds, livestock, horses, rabbits and mice)
- Corn Cobs
- Macadamia Nuts
- Medications: human or animal, these can be very toxic if misused or ingested inappropriately. For example, paracetamol (in Panadol, Tylenol, Codral, etc) is extremely toxic to cats even in the tiniest amounts. Some canine flea treatments are also dangerous for cats. Always keep medications of all kinds high up and out of reach and access by kids or pets. Never medicate your pet unless according to the advice of your vet.
- Xylitol – this is a common low-carbohydrate substitute for sugar. It is used as a sweetener in some toothpaste, in chewing gum, and in some baked goods and low-fat peanut butters. It is safe (if not exactly healthy) for human consumption but is very dangerous to dogs. This is because a dog’s metabolism works differently to that of a human. If a dog consumes xylitol, even in another food, it can develop hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and this can cause seizures, liver failure, clotting issues, and death if it’s not treated by your vet immediately. If you offer any treat, including peanut butter, check first that it does not contain xylitol.
- String – cats in particular like to play with anything “stringy” – including string, yarn, dental floss, ribbon, hair elastics and rubber bands. They even eat them and this can be catastrophic. Many a cat that has eaten string or rubber bands – even the ribbon attached to children’s’ balloons – has experienced intestinal obstruction as a result – and this can be fatal.
- Snail/Slug Baits – dogs are easily attracted to these, and while they are more an outdoor hazard, they are stored indoors. It is a common, distressing, and very dangerous form of poisoning in dogs, and the pellet forms of these baits resemble dog food.
Keep your pet safe by removing access to all of these items and by being aware. If your pet is home alone a lot, consider doggie day care to know they are safe and entertained. If your child has a balloon, be aware that your cat might like to sample the string. Never offer your pet any human food without knowing exactly what is in it. Your pet needs you to make their environment not only happy and healthy, but safe as well.