While humans have a pretty good idea of what’s poisonous and off limits for eating, pets aren’t always quite as clued in on poison prevention. And unfortunately, thousands of pets each year succumb to poisoning in the US. Here are some of the major groups of toxic substances to keep away from your animals.
Nibbling on the wrong plant can have unfortunate consequences. Common toxic houseplants include poinsettias, sago palms, tulips, hyacinths, azaleas and lilies. Reactions to eating these plants can range from mild mouth irritation and drooling to severe stomach damage or death, so better safe than sorry! Try zinnias or daisies if you want some pet-safe green in your home.
Lawn and Garden Products
While plants themselves can be problematic, a lot of the products that help them grow can also be quite toxic. Watch out for fertilizers, soil additives and pesticides. Even more natural yard solutions like compost must be kept out of reach of pets. Compost contains mold which can cause tremors, vomiting and seizures if eaten.
Many of our favorite people treats are toxic to pets. Keep avocados, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, chocolate, alcohol and sugar-free sweets far away from your four-legged bestie. Common signs of poisoning include vomiting, difficulty breathing, diarrhea and fatigue. Feed your pet dog or cat food or lean cuts of meat as a special treat only instead.
It’s pretty intuitive to keep household chemicals away from your pets, but it’s worth a reminder. Have your animals stay away from bleach, paint, antifreeze, pool additives, pest poisons and cleaning products. These products can all cause problems if consumed and even internal chemical burns. Try using vinegar as a pet-safe cleaning agent.
Flea and Tick Preventatives
Ticks and fleas are a reality of pet ownership and thus so are flea and tick preventatives. As a pet owner you might use pills, collars or topical treatments. While these are pet-friendly, it’s important that you only use them as directed as they can be toxic if used improperly. Always make sure you are administering the correct dosage so that you aren’t harming your animal. And when in doubt, opt for green or organic preventatives as these can be less toxic. If you end up with an infestation, be sure to let your exterminator know that you have animals in your home. They have pet-friendly alternatives that can treat your pest problem without poisoning your dogs and cats.
Even though pets are regularly prescribed medications for various ails, it’s important to remember that administering the wrong dosage can have serious consequences. Prescriptions that are often “over taken” include painkillers and dewormers. Always look at the directions for dosages before giving your pet a medication. Usually a dosage is specified based on your animal’s species and weight. Whenever in doubt, consult your veterinarian. Also before you give your pet any medication, check with other members of your household that they haven’t already given your animal the dosage.
While you probably wouldn’t willingly give your pet any of your human medications, be sure to take extra care to keep them away from your animals. Pill bottles should be super secure and stored in places pets can’t reach. Even over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements are off-limits for our fuzzy pals.
If you suspect that your pet has consumed any substance on this list, call your veterinarian immediately!