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5 Essential Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Getting a new pet is exciting but when you bring one into your home, you make a commitment to keep it safe and healthy. This involves more than just providing shelter, food and water. It also means protecting them from potential dangers. Everyday items and products, such as certain foods, plants and cleaning products, can be a danger to their health.

1. Take a look at household chemicals

There are a number of common household chemicals that could harm your pet. has a comprehensive article about the top 10 harmful household chemicals. Making sure pets can’t get hold of household cleaners containing toxic chemicals can help to prevent sudden illnesses or health problems. 

Laundry detergent pods are just one of the items that can be harmful if pets bite into them or eat them as they contain a high concentration of chemicals. Mothballs are another example of a common household item that’s highly toxic for pets. 

2. Consider all dangerous chewable items

Everything that is potentially dangerous for a pet to put in his or her mouth (glue, scissors, wires, medicines) should be kept well out of reach in a drawer or closet. 

Puppies and kitties love to chew. If they chew electrical cords, they can receive a shock or a burn. Make sure all electrical cords are out of sight and it will help if they are encased in a cord organizer. 

3. Be aware of potentially toxic foods

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, you need to take it straight to the vet. Chocolate contains theobromine which humans can metabolize easily but which dogs process way more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. It can cause seizures, internal bleeding, muscle tremors and even heart attacks.

Macadamia nuts are also poisonous to dogs, and it’s easy to forget that they may be in the cookies or snacks you’re tempted to share. Other foods that are potentially toxic are grapes and raisins, which can cause acute renal failure. 

Raw eggs, candy, avocado and onions are also on the list. Puppies can get nicotine poisoning by chewing on cigarette butts so you shouldn’t leave an ashtray where they can get to them.

4. Get rid of toxic plants

Certain plants and flowers can be toxic to pets. Lilies, for example, are highly toxic when eaten by cats and even small amounts can cause kidney damage. Tulips contain toxins that can cause drooling, loss of appetite, convulsions and gastrointestinal irritation. Azaleas and Chrysanthemums can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.

All parts of the Oleander are poisonous and eating them can have serious effects, such as abnormal heart function and even death. Eating the roots of a Cyclamen plant can cause severe vomiting. English Ivy, Peace Lilies and Sago palms are also on the list of plants to avoid.

5. Don’t underestimate the danger of a backyard pool

If you bring home a new puppy, you will need to safety-proof your pool with a pool fence. If a young puppy ends up in the pool, it doesn’t have the strength to swim to safety or climb out of the pool. 

You can take pups for swimming lessons by gently carrying them into the water and then guiding them out again, with plenty of treats and praise when they manage to climb out. 

However, sometimes pups like the swimming lessons so much that they may find a way to get into the pool when you’re not around. In this case, a pool alarm can be a lifesaver. Many are available to choose from and in some states, they are required by law. 

Posted by Emily Dawson on Aug 2, 2020 8:26 PM Europe/London

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