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Is your pet safe at home?

From food to everyday home essentials it's hard to believe that there are so many items found right at home that can be very dangerous for our beloved pets. We all know the big "no-no's" like chocolate and antifreeze, however you may be surprised to learn some other items that can be poisonous to your four (or two) legged pal. Keep in mind that in most cases the size of your pet and the quantity that is consumed plays a huge role in the danger involved.

Pet safety at home

Poisonous Foods

Food is a hard one. Our pets feel so much like family that it's only natural we would want to share with them. And let's be honest, who hasn't enjoyed the perk of an ever present vacuum while cooking or eating dinner? While some foods are nothing more than a tasty treat, others can be very poisonous, even deadly to your pet.

  • Onion/garlic/chives/leeks — can cause damage to red blood cells which can lead to anemia along with GI issues
  • Grapes/raisins — while the exact toxin that affects an animal has not been identified, kidney damage is the main concern
  • Citrus — the psoralen compounds and the aromatic oils is what can be poisonous causing issues with the central nervous system
  • Nuts — while some nuts in small quantities shouldn't cause a problem, others can cause major issues; nuts definitely aren't GOOD for your pet so the best bet is to avoid them all together
  • Chocolate — theobromine is metabolized very slowly in dogs, allowing it to build up to a toxic level and depending on the amount consumed, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, internal bleeding and heart attack; dark chocolate and baking cocoa have the highest levels of theobromine
  • unsafe foods for house pets
  • Coffee/Caffeine — like chocolate they contain theobromine
  • Alcohol — while the effect is the same on pets as humans, they are much more sensitive; alcohol is extremely toxic for pets and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems and in severe cases, death
  • Avocados — while the persin found in avocados is highly toxic to birds and larger animals (horses, cows) there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer on how it affects dogs and cats; however the pit of an avocado can definitely be a choking hazard; all things considered it's best to avoid giving avocados to your pets
  • Peanut butter — can contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which causes potentially fatal low blood sugar and acute liver failure
  • Yogurt /pudding — can contain Xylitol
  • Chewing Gum — can contain Xylitol

Harmful Home Essentials

Many home essentials are just that — necessary to have around the house. However it's very important to understand how they can impact your pet. And let's be honest, if it can be eaten, your pet will likely find a way so better to play it safe than sorry!

  • Chip bag — you may think that a mostly empty chip bag is harmless but it can be especially dangerous for dogs. As they push their head into the bag a vacuum like seal can be created around their head that makes it nearly impossible for them to remove, resulting in suffocation.
  • Toothpaste — can contain the sweetening agent Xylitol which causes potentially fatal low blood sugar and acute liver failure.
  • Medications — animals don't have the same chemical makeup that humans do so their reaction to medicine is different than ours. Always make sure to call your vet before giving your pet medicine.
  • Pesticides/Insecticides — assuming your pet doesn't consume a large quantity most pesticides/insecticides will act as a basic irritant causing drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. Take caution though as some pesticides and insecticides can contain the very dangerous organophosphates or carbamates which can be deadly.
  • Zinc — found in coins, hardware and some topical ointments, animals can have a very severe reaction that if left untreated can result in death.
  • harmful things around the home
  • Laundry detergent — if ingested, detergent can lead to burns in the mouth, difficulty breathing and lethargy. Watch out for the laundry pods as they are extra enticing for an animal.
  • Cleaning supplies — many cleaning products can cause chemical burns both externally and internally. Use the same caution that you would for a child, keep cabinets locked.
  • Antifreeze — probably the most known and dangerous, if an animal ingests even a small amount of antifreeze it can be deadly. Swift medical intervention is necessary in order to save their life.

Keeping your pets safe at home

You likely spend a lot of time and energy keeping your family safe. Now cue your cute, fuzzy pet that thinks everything is theirs to chew or eat. It's not always easy keeping up with their every move. After all, they are adventurous and that's why we love them. However, not everything that is safe for humans is safe for our pets so it's important to be aware of the seemingly "safe" items lurking in your home that can cause major problems.

Plants are also found in almost every home — both inside or out. The colors and arrangements are so aesthetically pleasing that it's easy to overlook the potential dangers that some plants can bring to our pets. While there are more than 700 plants that can prove dangerous to animals, here are 18 common plants to keep away from your pets.

Do your best to remove dangerous items from your home or keep them locked up. And remember — if your ornery little friend does get into something they aren't supposed to, don't panic. Your vet and poison control hotline is the place to start. Chances are your furry friend will be A-OK and back to their mischievous ways in no time.

Just in case, the National Poison Control Center (for pets and humans) can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-1222 or online at — Stay safe!

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