Among the most common reasons for emergency vet visits is the accidental ingestion of poisonous substances commonly found around the house and yard. In order to avoid a life threatening emergency and the accompanying bills, pet proofing your home is essential. Similar to child proofing for your toddler’s protection, this will reduce the chances of your pet getting a hold of something toxic. Never underestimate your pet’s resourcefulness and curiosity!
Here are some of the most common poisons pets get into:
- Plants and flowers. Lilies are particularly toxic to cats. Refrain from purchasing poisonous plants and flowers entirely. Check the landscaping in your yard as well as indoors. Items like mulch, mushrooms and your compost pile pose a danger, so supervise pets while outdoors.
- Human medicines and supplements can be extremely dangerous, even in small amounts. Never give medicine to your pet unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian! Keep all medicines and vitamins – whether for humans or animals – in secure containers out of your pet’s reach.
- Household cleaners, even those labelled “natural” or “non-toxic.” Store these in a cabinet out of reach. Keep pets out of the room while these products are being used. Keep the toilet lid closed and secure garbage can lids.
- Insecticides and rodenticides are obviously toxic; only use these in places completely inaccessible to your pets. A quick mouthful can be hazardous, so ensure that doors to rooms with these products are closed and locked. Clean the area thoroughly before allowing your pets back in. Rethink the use of chemicals in your garden.
- People food! Our pets quickly master the art of staring longingly at our plates, but some of our favorite foods are off limits. Grapes, onions, macadamia nuts, chocolate, garlic, alcohol, fatty and salty snacks, raw meat and eggs, dough and foods containing xylitol should not be fed to your pets. Keep food scraps behind closed doors.
These are the most frequent poisons reported, but there are many others. When you’re not around, keep your pets safe with closed doors or baby gates.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, don’t delay! Two 24-hour hotlines are the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 and the ASPCA Poison Control at 888-426-4435. Both of these charge a fee to use and will let you know if you can treat your pet at home or should see a veterinarian. In addition, the ASPCA has an app for your smartphone. Petpoisonhelpline.com also has a lot of information. This link from our Facebook page is specifically about cat proofing. Use these resources and some vigilance to keep your pets safe.