When our children are young, we automatically childproof our homes and monitor their every activity, inside and outside the home. Pets, like children, don’t recognize the dangers that can be present in our homes and every day environment. It is up to the owners to recognize these dangers and correct them.
Animals can be poisoned by everyday things around our homes or garage. One frequent poison is anti-freeze, kerosene or gasoline. They might lick the substance from the driveway or absorb it through their skin or feet.
Signs of poisoning include: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty walking, tremors, seizures, coma or death.
If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, immediately call you veterinarian. Do not induce vomiting. If the substance is on their skin, immediately wash the pet while you call your vet. Balloons, tinsel, shoestrings, ribbon and yarn can cause intestinal obstruction. Certain plants, like poinsettias, are dangerous to both cats and dogs, who might chew on the leaves.
A relatively new poison is laundry detergent pods. The colorful, soft, pods begin to cause problems as soon as soon as the animal bites down. The detergent in the pods is highly concentrated, and under pressure. This can cause the material in the pod to be easily aspirated or swallowed.
Symptoms include: vomiting coughing, lethargy. There is also the risk that the plastic coating on the pod could cause an obstruction in the throat or stomach.
Foods we love and enjoy can cause serious health problems for our pets. Chocolate, grapes, raisons, onions, and certain types of nuts are toxic, even in small amounts, to both cats and dogs.
Keeping medications, both prescription and over the counter, from pets is as important as keeping medications from young children.
“Button” batteries, like the type used in a watch, pose a special hazard for pets. If the animal swallows two batteries, the magnets can attach and close off the pet’s esophagus. If the pet swallows one magnet, and the magnets reaches the intestines, it can cause a perforation, infection, or blockage.
Any door that latches when closed, like a clothes dryer, refrigerator, freezer or storage unit requires supervision. Small pets, like a cat, might wander into the storage unit or freezer while the door is opened. Once the door is shut, the animal has no way to escape.
One of the major dangers for our pets will always be accidents, inside and outside the home. Always make sure the collar or harness is snug, but not tight.
If your pet wears a coat during the winter, when spring arrives make sure you re-adjust the size of the harness. Check the fit of the collar several times per year.
If your dog is a “puller”, make sure you are using a collar that avoids direct pressure on the esophagus. The esophagus is made up of many small bones, and putting pressure on it can cause serious injury or death to your dog.
Most of the same safety measures we use with children apply to our pets. Keeping them safe is our job!