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Poison-Proof Your Home for Your Pet

One of the easiest ways to avoid your cat or dog ingesting a toxic substance is to not have the substance around to begin with. Unfortunately, creating a 100% poison-proof home is not always possible, so if you do have any of the below items in your home, be sure to keep them safely out of reach of Fido and Fluffy.

If you believe your pet has ingested any of these substances or items, call your nearest animal emergency clinic or the National Animal Poison Control Center:

Animal Poison Control Center
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
(888) 426-4435

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Website

Non-Toxic Substances for Dogs & Cats

The following items are considered non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals.

  • Water-based paints
  • Toilet bowl water
  • Silica gel
  • Poinsettia
  • Cat litter
  • Glue traps
  • Glow jewelry (e.g., glowsticks)
  • Christmas tree water

Foods to Avoid Feeding to Your Pet

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough

Warm-Weather Hazards

While you can’t keep your pet from getting into every nook and cranny, you can stay alert of the presence of the following creatures and substances to get one step closer to a poison-proof home.

  • Animal toxins (insects, spiders, snakes, scorpions, and, especially in Florida, toads such as the Bufo)
  • Blue-green algae in ponds
  • Citronella candles
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Compost piles
  • Fertilizers
  • Flea products
  • Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies

Cold-Weather Hazards

  • Anti-freeze. Contact your vet immediately if you think your pet has consumed any.
  • Liquid potpourris. Exposure to some types can result in severe oral, dermal, and ocular damage.
  • Ice-melting products. Many contain ingredients that can irritating the skin and mouth.
  • Rat and mouse bait. Place these products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.

Pesticide Hazards

When using herbicides or insecticides in or around your home:

  • Always use pesticides in accordance with label instructions.
  • Keep pets away from treated areas for the amount of time recommended on the label.
  • Store unused products in areas that are always inaccessible to pets.
  • Be aware that fly baits containing methomyl and slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde are particularly dangerous.

Medication Precautions

Prescription medications not intended for animals can be extremely toxic. Always check with your vet before giving your pet a medication.

  • Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets, and remind guests to store their medications safely as well.
  • Painkillers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal, even in small dosages.
  • One regular-strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) can cause stomach ulcers in a 10-pound dog.

Christmas Tree Hazards

  • Christmas tree water. After sitting for a while, it may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach. Stagnant tree water can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.
  • Electrical cords. If they are chewed, they could electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electrical cords and never let your pet chew on them.
  • Ribbons or tinsel. These can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction, a very common situation for kittens.
  • Batteries. If ingested, the corrosives can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Glass ornaments. These can cause internal laceration when ingested.

If you follow the above steps, you’ll be much closer to having a poison-proof home for your pet.

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