A puppy sitting on a tile floorWhen we think of dangerous items that may be in our homes, we probably aren’t thinking about mundane things like chocolate or aspirin. These and other items we might have lying around deserve a second look, however, as they can pose a poisoning risk to our four-legged friends.

Pet poisoning situations are one of the most common causes of pet emergencies, but preventing a scary accident is as simple as moving dangerous items out of your pet’s reach. The start of a new year is the perfect time to take a look around your home for household pet toxins and make sure they are stored safely.

Household Pet Toxins 101

Safety-proofing the house for your pet begins with identifying household pet toxins and removing them or securing them out of reach. The most commonly found dangers include:

  • People foods Chocolate, raisins/grapes, onions, alcohol, and anything containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol should be kept away from pets.
  • Medications – Medications can be surprisingly tempting for pets, and items such as over-the-counter pain medications, ADHD medication, albuterol inhalers, and other prescription drugs should be kept out of your pet’s reach.
  • Chemicals – While you might consider it unlikely that your pet would be curious about the cleaning products you keep under the sink or the hand sanitizer in your purse, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, as these products are extremely toxic if ingested.
  • Houseplants – Many pets are interested in greenery, but certain houseplants pose a poisoning risk to pets. Lilies are especially poisonous to cats, and even one bite can be fatal. Check out this list of other toxic plants.

Garage Safety

It’s hard to imagine a pet who wouldn’t jump at the chance to root around in the garage. Make sure the following toxic items are safely stored in a secure cabinet or some other place not accessible to your pet:

  • Antifreeze
  • Gasoline
  • Rodenticides
  • Insecticides
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Lawn and garden chemicals and fertilizers

A Discerning Look

The safe and proper storage of household pet toxins is the key to preventing an accidental poisoning. Consider the following tips:

  • Backpacks, purses, and coats often contain tempting items, such as leftover food, medications, and other potential pet toxins. Commit to hanging up or putting these items away immediately upon entering the home.
  • Keep garbage cans covered, put leftover food away promptly, and don’t feed table scraps to your pet.
  • Store all medications, cleaning products, and personal care products in locked cupboards or on high shelves.
  • Extreme care should be taken to ensure that pets never come into contact with antifreeze, which can be tempting due to its sweet smell and taste. Protect your dog or cat by cleaning up spills immediately and storing containers somewhere safe.

Handling a Pet Poisoning Emergency

Despite our best efforts, pet poisoning emergencies can and do occur. If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested something he or she shouldn’t have, please give us a call or dial the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline immediately.

Pet emergencies can be costly, but you can help alleviate the burden by enrolling in one of our pet wellness plans. The staff at Androscoggin Animal Hospital is happy to assist you in finding the right plan for your pet and your budget. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.