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Protect Your Pet From Household Hazards

Updated on November 27, 2011

Household Hazards for Your Pets

I admit that I always thought it was only dogs that would eat anything. However, I had a cat that would eat anything that flew in the window and then throw up. Often I would hear him crunching on something and I knew I hadn't given it to him - then the throwing up began. Knowing this particular kitty convinced me that some cats are just as bad as dogs when it comes to eating anything - even something that is hazardous.

It's important to remember, too, that even if you put things up and away, cats are climbers and can get into anything. Hazardous items need to be kept where even the nosiest cat cannot find it.

Following are two lists. The first is a list of common household items that you may leave laying around thinking your pet has enough sense not to eat, lick or step in; that may not be true. Your pet may step in something hazardous indoors - like floor cleaner or bleach - and then lick it off the paws.

The next list explains what to do in an emergency including a toll free poison hotline for pets. It is up to us to be cautious and prepared - and not think cats know better.


Pennies (and other items containing zinc) - pennies are considered the most dangerous of all coins because some contain zinc which can be harmful. However, all coins are a choking hazard. Make sure your giant coin jar has a top. (I had a cat that would climb up on top of my highest armoire and push down the coins. He didn't particulary care for the dog so maybe he knew the dog would eat the pennies). Other items with zinc that your pet has access too are the nuts and bolts on kennels and carriers.

Batteries - the most common batteries are alkaline. If your pet licks or chews on them it can result in a burn to the mouth. Cats love to play with items that roll or can be knocked around. This also includes those button cell batteries from watches and MP3 players. In our effort to recycle we may leave these laying around for too long. Look for battery recycling at:

Detergents (as well as bleach and disinfecting products) - danger often lies in your pet walking on a just cleaned floor and then licking the paws. Make sure your pet cannot enter or stays away from a just cleaned area. Frankly, I think it's time to remove all toxic chemicals from our homes. Meanwhile, childproof locks can work. I had a cat that could open any cabinet in search of food so more precautions are needed.

Fabric Softener Sheets - I just read an article that said this is one of the most dangerous household hazards as it contains harmful detergents known as cationics. While, it is suggested that we store these securely, as any other chemical, I think it's time to get this stuff out of the home.

Mothballs - the objective here is to kill moths so mothballs contain an insecticide known as paradichlorobenzene. If they contain the ingredient napthalene, they can kill your pet. If you must have these in your home they must be in a sealed container. Don't think the cedar blocks are safer - they contain toxic oils.

Certain Plants - when I checked the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) website for dangerous plants it listed 433! There are many more but these 433 are the ones that were deemed most common and dangerous having systemic effects and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Many are outdoor plants but indoor plants include the diffenbacchia, aloe, calla lilly, and many more. Refer to the aspca website at:   (this is an excellent website to peruse before you have an emergency).

Their hotline is 1-888-426-4435


- vitamins (unless high in iron) -

- silica gel packets -

- toilet bowl water - (without the automatic cleansers)

- hand lotion -

In my research it stated that your pet may get an upset stomach but won't suffer long-term effects. Of course you have to be sure that any one of the items on the list is what your pet ingested and only in small quantities. Be safe and call the toll free ASPCA hotline. Read carefully through the list below to learn what to do in an emergency.


1 - Know in advance who offers 24 hour emergency service - have this phone number on hand just in case your vet cannot be reached.

2 - Call the the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or call your vet - the number for the Posion Control Center is 1-888-426-4435 - you should also keep your vet's number readily available.

3 - Try to know how much of what was consumed - try to have the product bottle or packaging when you call. Take it with you should you go to the vet or the hospital.

4 - Be prepared with your pet's statistics - keep your pet's age, weight, gender and breed and any other vital information in an easy to access place - treatment can vary due to weight and size. (I was surprised to find that my son keeps a running log for his pet snakes in great detail - every time they eat and how much, when they shed, bowel movements, their growth by length, etc. - he would be prepared in an emergency and can grab the log book and go if he had to).

5 - If your pet has difficulty breathing, has a seizure or loses consiousness immediately take your pet to the hospital - find one in advance. You can locate one recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association at:

For more information there are excellent articles here on hubpages.

Prevention is everything!

Meanwhile, if you think your dog or cat is interesting enough to be in showbiz, or you're just tired of seeing them laying around - see the link below. Cats, by the way, usually earn more money working in show business.

sick as a dog


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    • Lizolivia profile image


      4 years ago from Central USA

      Thanks for the helpful tips. Got a 10 month old pup a week ago that likes to chew on things while we sleep.

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Glad you liked the hub Gunnar22 - and thanks for the linking!

    • Gunnar22 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very informative. Thanks for sharing. I have it linked to one of my hubs. Good job.

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I guess this is a reminder too of just how much junk we have in the house. Thanks for writing!

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      8 years ago from USA

      This is very valuable advice. Thanks for sharing.

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So true GreenThumbLady - and dogs can be just as bad as children - and put anything in their mouths. It's up to us to be the responsible ones - since we create all this mess.

      Nice to meet you by the way. I'm enjoying your new hubs!

    • GreenThumbLady profile image


      8 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

      Such useful information! Most people don't think about pennies, etc laying around...they certainly are potentially hazardous! It's amazing the things that animals will think they can eat!

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You know what's interesting theherbivorhippi? The fact that Malachi had to eat pumpkin, bread and rice in order to be healthy again - not that awful processed dog food that we are always told our pets MUST have. I'm glad you included all that information.

      There's so much toxic stuff in our homes that we don't even think about. Thanks for writing!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      This makes me laugh because I think of things that Malachi ate when he was a puppy and indeed almost an entire bright blue flip flop was in that list that landed me a nice emergency vet doctor bill. He had to eat pumpkin, bread and rice for days to push it through his system. was freaked out when they came to clean the yard and found bright blue particles in the yard in his piles of poop. I did not know about fabric softner sheets though! Both my dogs steal them and shred them if they drop out of the dryer but they don't eat them thank goodness! Now I know I can't let them have them. Thanks for sharing!

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're so welcome Tracy711! I even had a kitty that would put anything in her mouth. I'm glad the hub is useful!

      Your kind comment is appreciated.

    • Tracy711 profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow thank you for writing this hub I have two little dogs that get into everything. It amazes me they have toys chew bones everything and they still look for other stuff to get into..thank you for sharing and caring..God bless

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It is wise to be informed and prepared Lgali!

    • Lgali profile image


      9 years ago

      very useful info I do not have pets but good to know for future

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It just doesn't end LadyBird33.

      Someone took down the smoke alarm in our building to replace the batteries. While it was laying on the floor open with batteries exposed, my neighbor came in with his dog and his dog went right for the batteries - to sniff? Maybe to lick? Good grief!

      Glad this hub is useful!

    • Ladybird33 profile image


      9 years ago from Fabulous USA

      I had no idea! Very informative, thank you. Now I have to go check for these items, with a young son I am sure they are everywhere!

    • BkCreative profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hi Shalini Kagal - glad this can be useful. Dogs are notorious for eating anything - too bad we have homes filled with so much temptation. And my cat really surprised me - he'd lick anything!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      9 years ago from India

      This is an eye-opener! I didn't think plants like aloe could be dangerous. Thanks for the ASPCA link - I must go read about all those plants. My dogs try and eat everything too so we make sure most things are out of reach. At least, we try!


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