Our pets are not humans. They don’t process information about the foreign objects inside and outside of your home the way we do. Consequently, they cannot always assess whether or not they are dangerous. The truth is that your entire house is often filled with items that can be hazardous to your pet, which is why knowing what these dangers are, and taking the time to try to minimize them will help to lessen the chances of an emergency visit to your veterinarian.
Common Pet Dangers
• Electrical Cords – Dogs, cats, hamsters, and bunnies all like to chew, and if there’s nothing else to chew, an electrical cord can be inviting. If any of your pets show a tendency to chew non-food objects, make sure you watch them when they’re near cords and hide/block the cords when they cannot be watched.
• String, Yarn, and Tinsel for Cats – Watching your cat play with a ball of string can be enjoyable, but when left unmonitored the fibers can rip off and cause intestinal blockage. A little bit of time with a ball of yarn can be fine when you’re monitoring them, but as soon as it looks like fibers are close to ripping off, make sure you take them away.
• Tampons, Pads, and Diapers – Dogs can sometimes eat anything that smells enticing, and with all of the fluids in tampons, pads, and diapers, they can smell delicious to them. Be careful about leaving any of these in an easily accessible location when your pet isn’t being watched because they may become a toxic pet treat.
• Garbage – Garbage can also be a common household danger for your pets. In the garbage, there are potentially toxic foods such as chocolate and xylitol, not to mention mold. Pets that get into the garbage are at great risk of getting sick or worse.
• Socks, Underwear, and Fibrous Material – It can be cute watching a dog play with one of your old socks, but the fibers from those socks are not meant to be chewed by heavy biters, and the fibers (and in some cases, entire socks) can get stuck in a dog’s body.
• Old/Ripping Toys – Yes, even household items made for dogs can be dangerous if left unwatched. It’s very common to let a dog play with a toy too much without watching them. If you start seeing pieces fall off the toy, those pieces can get stuck in a pet’s stomach and make them sick.
• Household Cleaners and Chemicals – Several cleaners and chemicals around the home can be very toxic to pets. Most pets will stay away from things like bleach, but some chemicals – like antifreeze – have a sweet taste that make them inviting and potentially deadly to pets.
• Hot Burners on the Oven – Cats often find themselves on the kitchen counter. While they usually do an above average job staying away from heat, some burners (especially electric burners) look flat and harmless when recently turned off, and cats may find themselves walking over them and injuring their feet.
• Toxic Foods – Finally, many foods that humans eat regularly are toxic to dogs and cats. We mentioned chocolate and Xylitol (found in gum and candies) earlier, but other foods such as onions, grapes, raisins and more can all be very toxic and very dangerous to your pets, which is why it’s crucial to make sure that your cabinets are locked up and that those foods are away from your pets.
As a pet owner, it’s up to you to protect your pet from all of the potential dangers around your home. Make sure you pay attention to these and the other household dangers above, and you’ll be going a long way towards protecting your beloved family member.