No pet owner deliberately sets out to harm their pet, especially by exposing them to any potential poison. Many people, however, don’t realize how hazardous some common items around the house are to pets. The ASPCA lists the top five common household items that can be lethal.
1. Prescription Human Medications
The ASPCA handled over 24,000 cases regarding pets ingesting human prescription medications in 2013. Human meds have been the top offender for six years in a row. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to are heart medications, antidepressants, and pain medications. Many instances of exposure occurred when pet parents dropped their medication and the pet quickly swallowed it.
Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals, and 16% of calls to the ASPCA’s poison hotline in 2013 were related to insecticides. Pet parents need to read and follow all label directions carefully. Some insecticides remain dangerous to pets for many days, others only for a few hours. Doggy Day care may be a good idea if insecticides are needed. Store any leftovers locked away from pet access.
3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications
Over-the-counter human products, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements, accounted for nearly 15% of calls to APCC in 2013. Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested. Keep all medications locked away from pet access and places pets frequent. Take meds in the bathroom with the door closed and Fido out.
4. People Food
Human foods are appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions/garlic, grapes/raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals. Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (ASPCA received an average of 26 calls a day last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures. Pet death is also a possibility.
Houseplants beautify homes and bring nature indoors. Pets and some greenery just don’t mix. More than 9,000 calls in 2013 were pet parents worried about their animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Click to see a list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information.
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