safety tips household hazards

Safety First

Whether you let your pet roam freely or they happen to escape, your home and the outside world can be a dangerous place. We recommend meeting your pets’ basic needs with appropriate food, to fulfill their nutritional needs; fun, safe toys to satisfy their behavioural needs of chewing and playing; safe collars, leashes and tie-outs keeping their environmental needs in check and appropriate grooming tools, for their safety and yours.

Like small children, pets are curious and will put almost anything in their mouths. This is exactly why you must prepare your home for your new pet’s arrival. For the most part, anything that’s poisonous to us needs to be out of reach to them. There are also common household items, some of which can be deadly, that every pet owner needs to be aware of.

Food, Drink and Indigestible

Although most are harmless to us, these items can be potentially lethal to your pet: Alcoholic beverages, avocado (skin & pit), caffeine (coffee, tea, soda), chocolate, cigarette smoke and tobacco products, moldy or spoiled foods, mushrooms, raw meat, eggs, bones, onions, garlic, chives, raw peanuts in shell, macadamia nuts, fruit seeds, salty foods, grapes and raisins.

Chemicals and Toxins

Fumes from certain chemicals and toxins are harmful to all pets, but especially to birds. The following is a list of the most common chemicals to watch out for:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammonia
  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach
  • Cleansers (floor, drain, oven, etc.)
  • Deodorants
  • Detergents
  • Felt tip markers
  • Flea bombs
  • Floor/furniture polish
  • Gasoline
  • Glues
  • Hair sprays & hair dyes
  • Hand & body lotion
  • Insecticides
  • Iodine
  • lead
  • Lighter fluid
  • Nail polish & remover
  • Matches
  • Mothballs
  • Over-heated non-stick cookware (Teflon®)
  • Paint & paint related products
  • Perfumes
  • Propane
  • Scented candles, incense
  • Smoke (including cigarette smoke)
  • Spray starch
  • Suntan oil & lotion

Toxic Plants

Many common household and outdoor plants are toxic to pets. If eaten, these can cause serious illness and even death. We recommend taking some precautions:

  • Hanging indoor plants out of pets’ reach
  • Use commercially-prepared, pet-safe repellents
  • Use safe adverse tactics, such as clean water bottle sprayed, or motion-sensitive devices
  • provide safe cat grass to chew

Plants that ARE harmful to your pets: Amaryllis, azalea, bird of paradise, bulb flowers (iris, daffodil, etc.), calla lily (leaves), cherry tree (all parts but fruit), chrysanthemum, crab-apple (leaves only), eggplant (all parts but fruit), elderberry, English ivy, eucalyptus, foxglove, holly, marijuana, honeysuckle (leaves and berries), juniper, lily of the valley, morning glory, mistletoe, mushrooms, oleander, philodendron, poinsettia, poison ivy/oak/sumac, rhododendron, rhubarb, skunk cabbage, sweet pea, tulip/narcissus bulb, yew

Outdoor plants that are NOT harmful to your pets: bamboo, beech (American & European), blueberry, dogwood, grape vine, hibiscus, marigolds, raspberry, pyracantha, rose, willow

Indoor plants that are NOT harmful to your pets:  African violet, aloe, Boston fern, Danish ivy, fig plant, grape vine, rose

Is Your Home Pet Proof?

Unfortunately, you cannot remove all potential pet dangers. You can however make sure your pet is safe from the following hazards:

All Pets

  • Common household hazards: Cleaning supplies (glass cleaners, disinfectants, floor and furniture polishes), open washer and dryers, open toilets (keep lids closed), hot pots and pans with non-stick coating releases fumes that can be toxic, candles, filled bathtubs and sinks (especially hot water), open doors and windows
  • Medications, including: vitamins, pain killers, cold medication, diet pills, incorrect use of veterinarian medication
  • Chocolate (contains theobromine, which in large quantities can be fatal)
  • Swimming pools left unattended
  • Hot electric/gas/wood stoves
  • Frayed electrical wiring
  • Warm weather hazards: extreme heat (heatstroke very common and can be deadly), swimming pools, treatment supplies, citronella candles, outdoor plants and bulbs, garden products, including insecticides, misuse of flea and tick products
  • Cold weather hazards: Anti-freeze, ice melting products, rat and mouse bait, hyperthermia (must provide clean, dry shelter)
  • Fighting from other pets
  • Holiday hazards: Christmas tree water, ribbons or tinsel, batteries

Signs of Trouble

It is not always easy to tell if a pet has been exposed to or ingested toxic material. In some cases it is instantaneous, but in other cases, it can take days or even weeks. Here are some common signs to look for:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Apathy or depression
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bloody feces
  • Excessive coughing and sneezing
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Skin irritations
  • Weakness

What To Do

It is always better to be safe than sorry. If you think your pet has ingested or been in contact with any toxic items, contact your veterinarian immediately.