There’s no shortage of cats and dogs that tend to get their snouts into things they’re not supposed to. The innate curiosity of companion animals can be quite surprising at times, and many pet owners find themselves thoroughly amused at the situations that their furred animal companions can get into when left to their own devices.
However, this sense of adventure and discovery can also lead to trouble. It’s entirely possible for cats and dogs to encounter everyday items that can lead to poisoning. In fact, it’s been estimated that more than 232,000 cases of pet poisoning occur annually in the US. How can you prevent such events from taking place in your own home?
As pet owners, there are a few practical things that you can do to reduce your animal companion’s chances of ingesting substances that can poison them. Here’s how you can keep your home safe for your pets:
Plan How You Can Safely Use Poisonous Substances in Your Home
Not all cats and dogs have a well-developed sense of preservation. Some companion animals are fascinated by the unusual smell of poisonous or even corrosive substances like bleach, which has a similar scent to animal urine.
If you’re actively using substances that can potentially poison your pet, such as when you’re cleaning your kitchen or applying herbicides to plants in your garden, keep your pets away by putting them in a separate room or a fenced-in part of your home. Put their stainless steel bowls, pet food, pet beds, and toys in there with them as well so that these items will not be accidentally exposed to toxic substances.
Before letting your pets back into the area, check that the space is free from residues and cleaning implements that can be dangerous for your pet.
Make a Habit of Labeling Your Cleaning Agents Properly
Cleaning is an essential activity for pet owners, so it can be difficult to rid your home of cleaning agents that can potentially harm your companion animals.
To prevent pet poisoning and to remind the people you live with to put away cleaning agents properly after use, practice proper labeling techniques. This way, your family members or roommates can immediately identify poisonous substances and keep them out of your pet’s reach. This is especially important if you tend to transfer cleaning agents into smaller bottles or containers so that they can be more easily used around the home.
Keep Medications and Cleaners Out of Your Pet’s Reach
There are many human medicines that can be harmful to dogs and cats. So, aside from keeping cleaning agents in an inaccessible place, be mindful of where and how you keep your medications safe from your pets.
No matter if you’re taking supplements, maintenance medications, or medicines to address particular health concerns, keep these items in a location where your pet can’t reach them. Many medications can be kept safely in a locked bedside drawer or a small lockbox inside the fridge.
Give Your Pets Meds Only When Advised by a Veterinarian
Humans, dogs, cats, and other animals have different ways of processing medications. It’s dangerous to give a dog medication that has been prescribed to you or that is meant for a cat and vice versa. Even if both your dog and cat have the same symptoms, the medical treatment for one type of animal is not transferable to the other.
Should your pets exhibit any concerning symptoms, make sure to get them checked by a veterinarian and strictly follow the administration instructions for their medications. This way, the treatment has a better chance of working and your pets won’t be exposed to substances that may cause their condition to worsen.
Read the Label Before Using a Product Around Your Pet
It’s a good habit to read the instructions before using a product for the first time. Doing so will inform you of how to maximize its intended effect and how to minimize the risks that come with using it.
Check if there are special precautions you should do before using the product, what its possible negative effects are, how to apply first aid in case of accidental exposure, and the signs of poisoning or allergic reactions that the product can trigger. Do this every time you use a cleaning product, medication, or even a pet product on your pet dog or cat.
Familiarize Yourself with Food That Can Poison Your Pets
There’s a long list of ingredients and food items that people consume daily that are known to be bad for dogs and cats. This list includes chocolates, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, almonds, onions, and garlic. Acquaint yourself with these and other common food items that can poison your pets and refrain from giving your cats and dogs human food even if they beg earnestly for them.
Recognize the Poisonous Plants You May Have at Home
Aside from food items, there are also plants that can poison cats and dogs. If you have indoor plants or if you keep a garden that your pet can easily access, check out if your collection has items that can potentially harm your pets.
Among the plants that you should keep out of your pet’s reach are lilies, sago palms, tulips, and begonias. Before adopting a new plant, check out if it poses any poisoning risk for your pets as well.
Poisoning is a real threat to curious canine and feline companions, but this risk can be controlled with a few mindful habits and careful preparation. Consider these tips when using potentially poisonous substances in your home and around pets to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.