Our homes may feel safe and cosy, but they’re often filled with potential health hazards. Each year, thousands of pets experience accidental poisonings in the home, and the number in South Africa is on the rise. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to pinpoint and deal with the hazards lying around your house. Here, we go over some of the most common dangers to look out for if you’re living with a furry friend.
Many common household plants are poisonous if consumed by your pet. Sago palm, dieffenbachia, Easter lily and oleander all contain components that are toxic to small animals. Around Christmas time, you should avoid decorating with live poinsettias, as these flowers are hazardous as well. If you’re unsure whether or not a plant is dangerous, it’s best to ask your vet. Toxic plants should either be kept out of reach of pets or disposed of before bringing an animal into your home.
Many cleaning products are poisonous to both humans and animals. While we know better than to drink out of a bleach container or eat Tide pods, our pets don’t. You should keep all cleaning products sealed and stored safely away in a cabinet, preferably with child lock. The same goes for any other hazardous chemicals as well, including insecticides, antifreeze, paints, and solvents.
Plenty of foods that are fine for us to eat can be toxic when ingested by animals. It’s best to keep all food packaged and secured where your pet can’t get to it just to be safe. Always avoid leaving out chocolate, tea, and coffee grounds, as these can be deadly in relatively small amounts. There are also some fruits and vegetables to keep locked away in the fridge instead of out in a bowl, including avocado, grapes or raisins, onions, and garlic.
In addition to fresh foods, you should ensure that your pet can’t get into rotting materials in the garbage. Food that’s been sitting in your trash may contain harmful bacteria and their byproducts, which can make both pets and humans seriously ill. It’s a good idea to invest in a garbage can with a locking top to prevent your pets from foraging when you’re not around.
Pills and Medications
One of the most common reasons that pet owners have to bring their furry friend to an emergency vet is because of unsecured medications. It’s easy for a hungry pet to mistake pills for kibble and eat enough to cause an overdose. Even seemingly innocent medications such as acetaminophen, antihistamines, diet pills, cold medicine, and antidepressants can have a deadly effect on the small body of a pet.
Many common foods, cleaning products, and even decor can pose a threat to your four-legged friend. If you're bringing a cat, dog, or another animal into your home, it's vital that you take steps to either throw out or secure any potentially dangerous items. By being vigilant about what your pets have access to, you can avoid a costly vet visit or worse later on down the road.