March is Poison Prevention Month! To raise awareness, here is your guide to pet-proofing your home in order to prevent a pet poisoning.
In the House
Don’t leave any food lying around the house. Also, don’t leave pantry doors open. Remind all house guests not to feed your pet any table scraps. Foods that are toxic to pets: alcoholic beverages, chocolate, coffee beans, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onions, raisins and grapes, salt, and yeast dough.
Secure Inside/Outside Trash Cans
Speaking of not leaving food around, this includes inside the trash can. Pets can dig their noses into trash and eat moldy, expired food. Pet owners can prevent this by keeping all trash in sealed, contained trash cans or bins.
Many common houseplants or flowers are toxic to your pets, especially cats. Before bringing any plant into your home, make sure it is pet-friendly by using the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Guide. One of the biggest dangers are lilies – they can cause kidney failure in cats and even the smallest nibble can be fatal. If you are uncertain, don’t risk bringing it into your home!
Whether it’s human or pet medications, keep them both out of reach of pets. This includes common cold medicines and even Vitamin D supplements. Don’t leave any medication unattended on the counter, lying in a purse or bag, or in an easy-access cupboard.
Keep all cleaning supplies in a cupboard that cannot be opened by your pet. To be safe, you can use a child-proof lock.
After your dog goes outside in the winter, make sure you wipe off his/her paws before coming back inside. Get all of the ice melt salt off of your dog’s paws. If he/she licks his paws without being cleaned, there is a chance of poisoning.
Common Household Items
Many common items found around the house can poison your pet. These items include: Human dental hygiene products that contain xylitol, mothballs, potpourri oils, coffee grounds, homemade play dough/slime, fabric softener sheets, dishwashing detergent, batteries, gorilla glue, and hand/foot warmers.
In the Garage or Shed
Hose down the area if you spill any chemical fluids in your garage or driveway. Keep your pet away from the contaminated area.
Keep car necessities such as gasoline, antifreeze, oil, etc… on high shelves in the garage to save your pet from accidentally licking up a spill.
If you use any rodenticides, keep them out of your pet’s reach. Make sure your pet cannot access any traps that you set around the house. If your pet ingests a rat that was poisoned, your pet can also be poisoned.
In the Backyard
Again, use the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Guide to know which plants, trees, and vegetables are poisonous to your pets and which ones are safe. Lily of the valley, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew, and foxglove can affect your pet’s heart. Rhubarb leaves and certain species of lilies can cause kidney failure. Cycads and some species of mushrooms can cause liver failure.
If you use any chemicals on your lawn or garden, keep your pets away from the area. Weed killers or insecticides can also be dangerous to your pets.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous item, call your veterinarian right away. If he/she is unavailable or busy with other appointments, call the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota. Both our Oakdale and St. Paul locations are open 24/7, all year round.
Find more tips for pet-proofing your home here!