article When it comes to protecting your pets, you almost have to look at it in terms of childproofing your home. Pet owners should already know to keep obvious things out the reach of pets, such as rat poison and insecticides, however these two things continue to be the most common sources of animal poisoning. There are other less obvious sources of dangers for pets in your home, which are identified by The Humane Society of the United States.
  • Antifreeze consumption is responsible for many pets getting poisoned every year. Particularly, antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol is deadly. It is so dangerous because to pets, it has a sweet taste. It only takes one teaspoon of antifreeze to kill a 7 pound cat. If you must store antifreeze in your home, choose a propylene glycol formulation instead, which can be tolerated by animals in small amounts.
  • Cocoa Mulch ingestion is also dangerous for animals. Sold in garden supply stores, this mulch has a chocolaty scent that some animals can’t resist.
  • Fertilizers and plant food are chemicals that should not be ingested by animals. Use care to not have pets unsupervised in areas where you have it spread out.
  • De-icing salts are another concern. When pets go outside in the wintertime, it sticks to their paws. Licking it off can cause the pet to become poisoned. This is why your animal’s paws should be washed and dried as soon as he comes in from the snow.
  • Rodent traps and poisons are another culprit. Even if you are not using any of these products, your neighbors might be. A dog or cat can also become poisoned if they eat a rodent that has been killed by poison.
  • Flea and tick products surprisingly can also be dangerous for pets. Particularly, over-the-counter flea and tick medicines contain dangerous insecticides. Using prescription medications is a better option as they are much safer as well as more effective.
  • Many human medications are also toxic to animals. These include pain killers, cold medicines, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills. Medicine containers as well as tubes of ointments and creams should be kept away from pets as they can chew through them.
  • Poisonous household plants are another problem. Plants that are poisonous to animals include mistletoe, azalea, lilies and philodendrons.
  • String, yarn, rubber bands and dental floss can all be swallowed by animals and get stuck in their intestines or cause strangulation.
  • Toys that have pieces that can break off are also a problem. For example, stuffed animals that have plastic eyes will sometimes get chewed off by a dog. The dog can then choke on one of them.
  • Rawhide dog chews can be toxic to dogs if they have been contaminated with Salmonella. Give these treats to your dog with caution as they can also pose a choking hazard.
  • Holiday lights and decorations become dangerous to animals, particularly if they chew on the cords. This is why it is best to confine your pets to an area that is free of them while you aren’t home.
  • Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats.
  • Chicken bones may shatter and choke a dog when he chews on them.
  • Some human foods are naturally poisonous to pets. Foods that are toxic to pets include: onions, onion powder, alcoholic beverages, yeast dough, coffee grounds and beans, salt, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb, avocados, grapes and moldy food.

What to Do

If you are concerned that your pet has been poisoned, take them to their veterinarian immediately. Some signs to look for include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever. Another option is to call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline that is available 24-hours a day and 7 days a week at 888-426-4435. It will cost you $65 when you call, however. Information you need to have ready includes the name of the poison, the amount, how long ago, the species, breed, age, sex and weight of your pet, as well as the symptoms they are experiencing.