Pet owners are often surprised to learn that many household items are dangerous to their furry pals. Being able to recognize the pet hazards in your home is critical to maintaining your four-legged friend’s comfort and safety. Your home is a haven for security, love, and contentment, so learning which products are toxic and hazardous to your pet is important to maintaining your safe space. Our Town & Country Animal Hospital team describes common household dangers from which you should protect your furry friend.

Noxious edibles: Foods that are toxic to pets

Occasionally, you may share a snack with your cat or dog. However, this heartfelt gesture can spell trouble if the food you share is toxic to pets. Pets cannot easily digest many foods people enjoy. In addition, some are poisonous. The following foods are off limits for pets because they are toxic:

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana in any form
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocados
  • Onions, shallots, and garlic
  • Fruit pits
  • Unbaked bread dough
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach

Harmful houseplants and other pet-toxic plants

Plants can beautify the home and garden, but many plants are poisonous to pets, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and more serious effects. Know the difference between non-toxic and toxic plants before you bring them home, and avoid the following poisonous plants:

  • Lilies 
  • Poinsettia
  • Philodendron
  • Yew
  • Sago palm
  • Azalea
  • Cyclamen
  • Autumn crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Oleander
  • Rhododendron
  • Daffodil and narcissus bulbs

Human medications that are unsafe for pets

People often rely on medications to treat health conditions and the occasional ache or pain, but these drugs can be hazardous to pets. Over-the-counter (OCT) and prescription medications, including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antidepressants, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs, and cold medications, are the most common pet poisoning culprits. Always check with your Town & Country Animal Hospital veterinarian before you give your pet any medication. Pick up dropped pills or capsules, and wipe down liquid medication spills to prevent your pet from accidentally ingesting a drug.

Chemicals and cleaners that are harmful to pets

Household cleaners and lawn and garden chemicals contain ingredients that can be toxic to pets. Ensure you store chemicals and cleaners in securely closed cabinets or on high shelves. You should be aware of the chemicals household products contain before using them around your pet. Common household chemical toxins include:

  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Products containing glycol ethers or formaldehyde
  • Fragrances containing phthalates
  • Fertilizers and herbicides
  • Insecticides and rodenticides
  • Mothballs

Small and sharp objects are hazardous to pets

Tiny items create a world of wonder for curious pets. Cats love to bat around small objects, simulating stalking and hunting. Dogs like to play with objects and are likely to taste them. Items that can fit inside your pet’s mouth pose choking, digestive obstruction, or other injury risks. For your pet’s safety, keep the following objects off of floors and low tables:

  • Rubber bands
  • Hair ties
  • Buttons
  • Coins
  • Batteries
  • Keys
  • Small toys
  • Jewelry

Electrical cords and pet safety

If your pet loves to chew, electrical cords may be their target. Puppies, kittens, and small mammals often chew various things around the home. Chewing an electrical wire, however, can cause your pet a shock, burn, or sometimes death. Ensure you attach cords high on the wall, beyond your pet’s reach, or wrapped in cord protectors that prevent your furry pal from biting through the wire. 

Pet-proofing your home

You may wonder how you can protect your pet from household dangers. To mitigate your furry pal’s injury and toxicity risk, follow these tips:

  • Only give your furry pal food that is nontoxic to pets.
  • Bring home only nontoxic plant varieties.
  • Store medications in the medicine cabinet or a secure area, and always consult your veterinarian before giving your pet medications.
  • Store all household cleaners and chemicals in a storage shed, closet, or shelf out of your pet’s reach. Consider using pet-friendly household cleaners.
  • Keep the floor and low tables free from small or sharp objects.
  • Cover electrical cords and wires with study cord protectors.
  • Have the Pet Poison Helpline number on your phone and the fridge, along with our Town & Country Animal Hospital team’s contact information.

You can create a safe environment for your furry friend by understanding which household items are dangerous to them, helping prevent poisoning and injury. If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxin or dangerous item, call our Town & Country Animal Hospital team.