Sometimes curiosity can kill the cat… or dog. Both of these common companion animals love to explore dark secluded spots like kitchen cabinets, supply closets, garages, etc. Unfortunately, their innocent exploration may turn tragic if they consume a toxic substance. Often, the animal will not intentionally consume the poison, but may get it on its paws or fur and ingest it when grooming. Here are some tips to help your pet avoid these common and daily household hazards:
ELECTRIC CORDS AND DEVICES: A favorite plaything of kittens and puppies, an electric cord could deliver a serious, even fatal, shock if the animal gnaws through its protective covering. Other electric items with spinning or moving parts, such as fans or shredders, can also present an opportunity for injury! Discipline your pet and offer a safe alternative for chewing and playing.
TANGLY THINGS: Believe it or not, a ball of yarn or string may be a cat's worst enemy. Although cats love to play with them, they can become entangles or worse, swallow the string! Your local pet supply store will have plenty of safe alternatives for your cat.
CHOKE CHAINS: Although a common and effective means by which to leash-train your dog, these collars are not meant for everyday use. Remove the collar when not training the dog in order to prevent accidental injury. Use a flat buckle collar at all other times.
OPEN CONTAINERS OF WATER: Everything from swimming pools to unattended bathwater can pose a drowning hazard for your cat or dog. If they fall in, their claws may be ineffectual in pulling them out against wet, slippery porcelain or concrete.
HEAT: Asphalt and cement can reach astronomical temperatures in the desert, and a cat or dog can suffer severe burns to the pads of their feet if forced to walk on these surfaces. To avoid this, exercise your pets on grassy areas, preferably during the twilight hours. Keep your animals indoors during the summer days, or at least provide ample shade, water, and ventilation. Dogs and cats are extremely susceptible to heat exhaustion!
CIGARETTES AND SECONDHAND SMOKE: Smokers beware-your secondhand smoke or cigarette butts may present considerable danger to your animals. Just like humans, the passive inhalation of tobacco smoke can cause lung cancer in animals. The nicotine contained in cigarette butts is also dangerous. Two butts contain enough of this poisonous substance to kill a puppy!
ANTIFREEZE: This common automotive product is extremely poisonous, but has a taste both dogs and cats crave! To keep your pet safe, make sure any antifreeze is stored in closed containers out of the reach of your pets. Pet and child-safe antifreezes are now regularly available through automotive supply shops and mechanics.
COCOLATE AND OTHER "PEOPLE" FOODS: This common candy is highly toxic to cats, dogs, and birds. Even small amounts can make them sick, or even kill them. A more common problem comes from feeding your animals "table scrapes". Although most are not toxic, these "scraps" are often loaded with fats, calories and sugars which are no better for your pets than they are for you!
THE KITCHEN: Most dogs and cats will quickly identify the kitchen as the room where the food is stored and probably spend a great deal of time here. Unfortunately, the kitchen presents numerous hazards: sharp utensils, boiling liquids, hot surfaces, electric appliances, etc. Be careful that your pet is not getting underfoot while you are cooking!
OPEN CLOSETS, CUPBOARDS, WASHING MACHINES, ETC: Enclosed spaces make dogs and cats feel secure, but not every space is "pet friendly." Be careful that your pet is not inadvertently trapping himself in a dangerous place. Check your local pet supply store for safe crates, condos and pet "houses" to give your cat or dog a secure place to rest.
KEEP POISONS, CLEANING PRODUCTS, PAINTS, LACQUERS, TURPENTINE, THINNER AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS, ETC. STORED IN A PLACE INACCESSIBLE TO PETS. Remember, a high shelf may not be a proper deterrent for a cat, so think carefully before storing these products.
BE CONSCIENTIOUS WHEN USING BUG SPRAYS AND OTHER PESTICIDES: Remember, dogs and cats may walk through these poisons during the course of their day. Safe alternatives can be suggested by your local nursery or pet supply store.
DISPOSE OF EMPTY POISON CONTAINERS IMMEDIATELY AND SAFELY: Some dogs like to root through the trash, so make sure your garbage containers are secured.
PROPERLY DISPOSE OF OLD MEDICINES AND ROTTEN FOOD: Pets will not make the distinction between what is proper and improper to eat. Animals will often put non-food objects in their mouths!
KEEP PET "TRAFFIC LANES" CLEAR OF HARMFUL OBJECTS: Such as glass, nails, and other sharp objects; or anything the pet might swallow.
PRACTICE THE SAME PRECAUTIONS FOR PETS AS YOU WOULD FOR KIDS!
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