We all know to child proof our homes to keep young children safe, but what about “pet proofing” our homes too? Many edible and non-edible dangers for your pet may exist in or around your home. Knowing about these dangers can help you make your home a safer place for your pet.
Some food and drink items that you consider tasty treats may be dangerous for your pet. As tempting as it might be to share your food or drink with your four-legged friend, please resist! Some of the more hazardous edible items include:
- Alcoholic drinks and food products containing alcohol
- Avocado (only mildly toxic to dogs and cats, but can be severely toxic, even deadly, to birds, rabbits, horses, and ruminants such as cattle, goats, and sheep)
- Caffeine (found in a lot of drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks)
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes and their refills)
- Xylitol (a sweetener found in products such as some sugar-free chewing gum, sugar-free candy, cough syrup, mouthwash, and toothpaste)
- Yeast products (like raw bread dough)
While not necessarily toxic, some food items can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction (a blockage in the digestive tract) if your pet swallows them. For example, avocado seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, corn cobs, and bones can get stuck in your pet’s esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
Fruit pits in the Prunus genus of trees and shrubs, which includes cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums, contain cyanide, but cyanide poisoning is rare unless your pet eats a lot of pits and chews them up. The pits must be crushed or ground up to release the cyanide. A gastrointestinal obstruction is the bigger risk for dogs and cats that eat these fruit pits.
Pets, especially dogs, will often eat non-edible items. Some non-edible household items that may be dangerous for your pet include:
- Fabric softener sheets
- Ice melting products
- Liquid potpourri
- Rat and mouse bait
- Various household cleaners (including bleach and toilet bowl cleaners)
- Swimming pool chemicals
- Salt dough Christmas tree ornaments and play dough
Plants and Flowers
Threats to your pet’s health can also come from outside the home. Some plants and flowers can be harmful if your pet eats them. Below is a list of the more common plants and flowers that may be dangerous for your pet:
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If you think your pet has eaten any of the potentially dangerous items listed above, call your veterinarian or a pet poison control center right away.
Pet Poison Control Centers
- Pet Poison Helpline, 855-764-7661, http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Resources for You
- Good Dog, Bad Food: Foods for People That Are Bad for Your Dog
- Keep Your Dogs and Cats Safe From Holiday Hazards
- Take the “Oh No!” Out of Your and Your Pets’ Holiday “Ho-Ho-Ho!”
- Household Hazards (AVMA)