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Hidden Dangers to Pets in Your Home

Cats Dogs Family Life Safety

Golden Retriever Laying Down with Paw Prints on wood floor in home

Before taking home a new addition to the family, pet parents try to make sure the house is fully and completely ready for the arrival of a new dog or cat. From setting up a bed, buying toys, filling their food bowls, to putting up gates, laying out wee-wee pads, and covering the furniture. New pet parents’ minds swarm with what could be added to the house to make it as comfortable and welcoming as possible. But what about the things that should be taken out?

What may seem like a harmless or staple item to the household for us, could make the biggest difference in the safety and health of our beloved pets. Before welcoming home your new best friend, take a look around your home for a few of these hidden dangers:

Food

All of us are guilty of keeping a few guilty pleasures around the household. Whether it be the bag of chips you pull out at midnight, the chocolate bar you have waiting for you for dessert, or the fruits you keep out on the kitchen counter, we all have them. Because we make them so accessible to ourselves, we are in turn making it equally accessible to our pets. Some pets can certainly stomach eating a few of the same foods we do, but others can’t. What’s even worse is that certain foods are deadly if your pet gets their paws on them. 

  • Chocolate - Chocolate is known for being harmful to dogs. While less fatal for cats, they still should not be fed large amounts of chocolate. This universally loved sweet has theobromine, which dogs’ bodies are not capable of breaking down like humans can. If it doesn’t cause death, it will likely cause increased blood pressure, seizures, abdominal pain, or dehydration.
  • Bones - Bones from your leftover chicken wings can easily cause splinters in your pet’s mouth and leave behind a couple cuts. The same can happen to their stomach, esophagus, and other parts of their digestive tract, too, if swallowed. 
  • Other Hazardous Foods: Grapes, onions, coffee, tea, salt, candy, macadamia nuts, alcohol

  • Medication

    Humans have to obtain a special prescription to take certain medications, so imagine how dangerous it could be for your pet to take it. Medications or additives not meant for your pet can introduce a long list of harmful side effects to their body, or even supplement them with an excess amount of vitamins and minerals that their body does not require.

    Toys

    If you have a younger child and they’re constantly leaving their toys around, it’s super important that they learn to properly put their toys away. Many of the toys on today’s market are made in the smallest sizes and with the smallest accessories and parts. If left out, your inquisitive feline or canine can ingest it and suffer from choking or a blockage. Your own pet’s toys can even be dangerous! If too small for their mouth, they are at the same risk of accidentally choking. Or if they’re aggressive chewers that rip their toy up into pieces, chances are they’ll get right to munching. This is why you must pick a high quality toy that suits your companion’s play habits.

    Small Objects

    Like toys, small objects left lying around the house are not the safest for our curious little comrades. Your pet will find an assortment of ways to interact with these items, whether it’s by eating it or getting hurt trying to play with it. This could include change in between the couch cushions, lucky pennies on the ground, recently switched out batteries, or thumbtacks just waiting to poke their next victim. 

    Outlets

    Most houses have multiple outlets in every room, and if your cat or dog is bold enough, they might just lick it or stick a paw into it. They’ll be in for a shock when they get … shocked! Prevent them from getting electrocuted by picking up a few outlet covers at a nearby store.

    Plants

    Plants and flowers are beautiful additions to the house. They liven up the room in an instant, but can dim your pet’s health just as quickly. Certain plants are toxic to animals. Varieties of lilies, mistletoe, poinsettias, ivy, and many other plant types should be kept out of your companion’s reach. Even if they don’t threaten your pet’s life, they can still cause extremely unpleasant reactions like vomiting, drooling, throat irritation, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, etc. Before purchasing a plant, do your research to see if it’s safe for animals. You can also purchase a set of fake flowers instead. No one will be able to tell (besides your pet whose life you are kindly saving, of course)!

    Cleaning Supplies

    You’re bound to have cleaning products somewhere in the house. It’s the only way to take care of your pet’s accidents and mishaps! But it’s better if your pet doesn’t know that. Cleaning products contain aggressive chemicals and even essential oils and scents to get the job done. These should all be placed together in one designated spot away from your pet. Try to find the most natural, least harmful cleaning supplies you can, as pets are notorious for walking along the floor, licking their paws, and biting at random furniture. This can lead to them indirectly ingesting those chemicals.

    Traps & Repellents

    Just as cleaning supplies do, bug and rodent repellents often contain toxic chemicals designed to kill off unwanted pests. Your pet shouldn’t come into contact with these repellents, nor should they be let near any rat traps. Or else your furry friend’s paws might get stuck in a painful pinch.

    Holiday Decor

    Every holiday comes complete with their associated decorations. The Fourth of July is known for its loud and overwhelming fireworks. Valentine’s Day has flowers and candy around for all. For Halloween, it’s a mountain of candy and candles. Christmas is studded with lights, glass and plastic ornaments, garlands, and tinsel. New Years has noise makers and confetti. Easter is candy again with plastic easter eggs loosely protecting it. Each and every one of these holiday staples pose a threat to your pet’s safety. They can not only ingest and choke on these toxic decorations, but they could potentially step on broken plastic or glass. Or they might experience uneasiness and anxiety due to the loud noises of the celebration.

    It’s understood that even though these hidden dangers are dangerous to your pet, it would be difficult for you to get on without them in your day to day lives. If you don’t want to cut out the chocolate, mistletoe, or Clorax wipes, you don’t have to. The key to protecting your pet against these dangers would be to supervise them as much as possible. Place all of these supplies out of their reach, and continue to keep an eye on them to make sure curiosity doesn’t kill the cat.


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