Pet-Proofing Your House: Dangers You May Have Overlooked

Curiosity Did What?

We all love the playful, fearless manner of our furry friends, but sometimes their roving noses can get them into trouble. Many veterinarians are now suggesting that owners consider crating their dogs while they are away. Puppies go through a chewing phase that can last for many months. And what pets chew may make them sick — or worse.

As a general rule, owners should always be aware of their pets’ whereabouts. Many cats enjoy the warmth of laundry in the clothes dryer, so take a peek inside for paws and whiskers before turning on a load. Also, cats and small dogs can be crushed by recliner chairs, so make sure no napping pets are snoozing under these chairs before closing them.

Having a dog or cat does not mean that you cannot also enjoy a germ- and pest-free household. However, you should take precautions to ensure that the chemicals in your cleaning products kill only what is intended and don’t hurt your pet. Follow the product recommendations. Use the product only as directed and do not mix products. After using cleaning products, keep the area secluded and your animal confined until the area is thoroughly dry. Lock away all products when they are not being used.

Avoid the use of rodent poisons. Unfortunately, these products are a common source of companion animal poisoning. Pet owners should strongly consider not using such chemicals and instead stick to live traps for rodents. In addition, pets should be kept away from rodents that have possibly ingested rodenticides.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

If you believe your pet has come into contact with a poison, toxic plant or harmful food, immediate action must be taken. Make sure to have all emergency numbers handy. In addition, you will need key pieces of information — such as your pet's weight and the names and doses of any medications he’s on. Finally, you will need to provide information about the specific situation: If it’s a product poisoning, have the label with you when you call; if it’s a plant, knowing the scientific name is ideal because that name is universal.

If you suspect that your pet may have consumed a poisonous material, you should immediately call your local veterinary clinic or emergency center or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 (a fee will be charged for this service).

Although many potential hazards exist in the typical household, taking the right precautions and being prepared and aware will give you the peace of mind to safely enjoy sharing your home and heart with your feline or canine friends.

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