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Household Items That May Harm Your Pet

Updated on June 16, 2008
Golden Lab with rubber chicken.
Golden Lab with rubber chicken.

Just like children, your pet must be protected from harmful household objects. Everyday things around your home pose surprising risks to your cat or dog. Here are some examples of items that you should watch for.

Plastic bags: Pets are in just as much danger from suffocating on plastic bag as your children would be. Cats and dogs can chew on plastic and get pieces of it lodged in their throats, choking on it. Also, pieces of plastic can become trapped in their digestive system and cause stomach or intestinal problems that need a vet's care.

Milk Bag Clippings: These are the little triangular pieces of plastic that come off the top of a milk bag when you clip it open. Cats love to play with these when they find them on the floor, but the size and shape of them make them a very dangerous choking hazard for cats. If the cat eats this plastic clipping, it can get lodged in the windpipe and your cat would not be able to breathe.

Houseplants: There are some houseplants that are poisonous to dogs and cats. Lilies are especially bad, and can cause kidney failure in pets. English ivy is another example of a plant that should be kept out of reach of dogs and cats. Other plants that can cause upset stomachs, diarrhea, and blisters on the mouth are: poinsettas, dieffenbachia, and philodendron.

Toilet Water: Almost all dogs enjoy drinking out of the toilet bowl. But owners need to pay attention to what is in that bowl before permitting the dog to drink. If you use any sort of puck that remains in the bowl to clean automatically, it is better to leave the toilet lid down to prevent your dog from ingesting chemicals that could harm him. Your dog is better off drinking fresh, clean water from his water dish.

Antifreeze: This is a deadly chemical to cats and dogs. If you are filling up your anitfreeze in your car and spill some on the ground, be sure to clean up the spill thoroughly. Antifreeze has an appetizing smell to pets, but is a deadly poison, causing kidney failure in very small doses. Also, remember to keep empty bottle of antifreeze away from pets, as they can lick the remains from the container.

Cleaning Products: All cleaning products should always be kept in a cupboard or closet that is innaccesible to pets and children.

String: Many cats love to play with pieces of string or yarn, or even rubber bands. This is fun as long as you are monitoring the pet. Do not leave your cat with a piece of string unattended. If your cat eats the string, it can get tangled in their intestines and cause a blockage.

Christmas Decorations: A fully decorated Christmas tree is a very tempting play-toy for dogs and cats. Tinsel is especially harmful, for the same reasons as string. Glass ornaments can be hazardous if they are dropped and broken, causing cuts on the feet of your pets. Poinsettas, a common Christmas plant, causes irritation on the mouths of pets if they chew the leaves.

Food: There are many types of food that humans can eat that are toxic to a cat or dog. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney damage in dogs. Onions and garlic can cause blood problems in cats. Chocolate, coffee, tea, and alcohol are all on the list of bad foods to give your pet. Even table scraps can be damaging to your dog or cat's health, not just because of toxic ingredients, but because of the potential to create an overweight and nutritionally-malnourished pet. A standard pet food from a reputable maker is the only food your dog or cat should need.

Electrical Cords: Some pets enjoy chewing on electrical cords. Obviously, this can be extremely hazardous because of the danger of electric shock. To prevent this, wrap cords in plastic tubing, or use cayenne pepper on the cords to create a bad taste for the pet.

This is just a partial lists of the hazardous items around your home. No matter how hard you try, accidents do happen. If your cat or dog ingests a toxic substance, or shows any signs of distress and pain, please visit your veterinarian immediately.


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    • Gregorythompson profile image

      Gregorythompson 9 years ago from Illinois

      Cinnamon is sometimes harmful to dogs. I found this out the hard way. Good information for pet owners.