Common Household Hazards
Our homes contain a variety of everyday items and substances that we may not consider dangerous, but can be dangerous or even fatal if ingested by our furry friends. By becoming aware of the most common hazards, you can protect your pet’s health.
- Many foods that are perfectly safe for human consumption can be harmful to dogs and cats. Please keep your pets away from the following: Coffee grounds, chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes/raisins, onions, alcohol, garlic and chewing gum.
- Always keep garbage out of a pet’s reach, as rotting food may contain mold or bacteria that could lead to food poisoning.
- Many household cleaners that are used in the kitchen are pet safe, but if the label states “keep pets and children away from the area until dry,” follow those directions to prevent potential health risks.
- Products containing bleach may disinfect household surfaces, but if ingested by an animal, may cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and should be kept out of reach of an animal.
Bedroom & Living Room Hazards:
- Medications that treat human medical conditions can be toxic to animals. Never give your pet any medication unless you speak to you veterinarian first. The following medications should be stored away: NSAID (Ibuprofen, Naproxen), Acetaminophen, Diet pills, Birth control pills, Vitamins, Antidepressants/Antianxiety drugs, & all other prescription medication.
- Be sure to keep toilet lids closed to prevent your animal from ingesting treated toilet bowl water with “drop ins.” Treated water could causing irritation to the digestive tract, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Garage & Yard Hazards:
- While many of us enjoy having a house that smells good, many liquid potpourri products contain essential oils and cationic detergents. The essential oils can cause mucous membrane and gastrointestinal irritation, and dermal exposure & ingestion can lead to ulcerations, and inflammation of the mouth.
- Mothballs are often used in closets in the home, but many people do not know that these products contain naphthalene. Naphthalene based mothballs are extremely toxic, and signs of ingestion typically include lethargy, icterus, liver damage, and blood cell damage.
- Tobacco products, pennies and alkaline batteries should also be kept out of your pet’s reach. Ingestion of these products can lead to excessive salivation, excitation, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and collapse.
- Antifreeze – ethylene glycol containing antifreeze, even in small quantities, can be fatal to both dogs and cats. Antifreeze products containing propylene glycol are less toxic, but they may still be dangerous to your animals.
- Insecticides/herbicides – When chemical treatments are applied to the backyard, please be sure to follow the manufacturers recommendations in regards to animals. Be sure to keep your pet away from the treated area for the specific recommended time. If ingested, these chemicals can cause gastric upset.
- Paints/Solvents – If an animal ingests or comes into contact with paint thinners or other solvents, severe irritation or chemical burns can occur. Most house paints typically only produce minor stomach irritation.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxin, call your veterinarian immediately, or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 FREE – consultation fee may apply)! Keep all product containers or plant samples with you to assist in the identification so that proper treatment recommendations can be made.
- Lily of the Valley, Oleander, Azalea, Yew, Foxglove, Rhododendron and Kalanchoe – may cause cardiac problems if ingested
- Rhubarb leaves and Shamrock – may cause kidney failure
- Certain lilies (Lilium & Hemerocallis species) – highly toxic to cats, resulting in kidney failure
- Sago Palms (Cycad species) – may cause liver damage
- Fungi (mushroom variety) – may cause liver damage or other illness
- Lantana – liver damage
Poinsettia – may cause gastric upset
English Ivy – may cause gastric upset
Chrysanthemum – may cause gastric upset