Pet Safety

In 1961, The U.S. Congress decreed that the third week of March would forever be Poison Prevention Week. They created this important educational and safety week with families in mind. The goal was to keep young children safe from accidental death by toxins. However, those of us with pets know that our fur babies are just as much a part of the family as the rest of the household, so reviewing poison prevention for dogs is the responsibility of every pet parent.

A good rule of thumb is that anything that would be toxic to humans is also toxic for your dog. The problem is that we generally have many products in our home that could be downright deadly for dogs. Some of those things we may not even think of, as they are perfectly harmless for humans.

Since dogs can’t really read warning labels, it’s your job as a pet parent to go through certain precautions to keep the little guy or gal safe. Here is a list of some of the biggest offenders of dog poisoning, and how to accidentally prevent dosing your pet with them:

Plant life. Dogs love to stop and smell the flowers, or give a little nibble on some grass. However, a lot of plants can be harmful to your dog and his or her digestive system. Try to keep the following plants out of your pup’s curious reach:

  • Azaleas
  • Easter Lily
  • Sago Palm
  • Oleander
  • Castor Bean
  • Yew plant material

And, of course, any plants that are harmful to people, like poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak can have the same itchy reaction to dogs, so make sure your yard is clear of those, too.

Cleaning products. Household cleaners are just as harmful to dogs when ingested or inhaled, as they can be for adults. Some cleaners may only cause your dog an upset stomach or mild chemical burns, but others like bleach could be fatal. Make sure to keep all cleaning supplies in cabinets that your dog doesn’t have access to, or on shelves that are well out of reach.

Medication. Do not give your dog any sort of medication that a veterinarian hasn’t specifically prescribed for them. This is generally a good rule for humans, but for dogs it’s especially vital. Giving your dog human medicines, or even medication meant for cats or other types of pets, can cause serious issues, and even be life threatening. Many medicines that are helpful to humans are harmful to dogs. For instance, a single 200mg ibuprofen tablet can give small dogs stomach ulcers. Pain killers, cold medicine, antidepressants, diet pills, and even vitamins can be lethal to dogs. So, make sure to keep all your medication stored in a medicine cabinet above your sink or counter, well out of reach of your furry friend.

Chocolate. We can all use a chocolatey snack every now and then, but it could give your dog serious digestive problems that are potentially fatal. Make sure you don’t leave any uneaten candy lying around for your curious little guy or gal to get ahold of… no matter how much they may beg with those sad little eyes.

Car products. You know not to guzzle down on gas or antifreeze, so make sure your dog can’t either. These products should be sealed tightly, and placed out of reach. It only takes a small amount of these products to be harmful. A 20-lb dog can be killed with less than a teaspoon of antifreeze. Make sure you clean up any spills as well, so your pup can’t get a taste.

Baits. Rat bait. Ant traps. Roach Motels. These items are meant to kill pests, but they’re harmful to dogs as well. Many of these products put out scents that can get your dog’s attention, so make sure to only set them out in places your pet cannot reach.

Miscellaneous: The following household products can also be lethal to dogs:

  • Mothballs
  • Potpourri
  • Detergents
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cigarettes
  • Batteries

If in doubt whether a product is dog friendly, make sure to carefully read any warning labels and directions on how and when the product should be used. Only give your dog products specifically meant for them, and keep anything that could be harmful out of reach or locked away.

Should your dog happen to get into anything that could be toxic, you should immediately contact the Pet Poison Helpline, or your local emergency veterinarian for assistance.