Common household dangers for cats and dogs

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Common household dangers for cats and dogs

This is part three of our toxic plants and household dangers for cats and dogs series.  If you haven’t already, check out part one: ‘Dogs and Toxic Plants‘ or if you have a cat, you need to read part two, Cats and Toxic Plants.

In part three, Kevin Crawshaw has put together a list of common household dangers for cats and dogs.  Pets4Life is all about cats and dogs well-being but let’s don’t forget our other pets! Ensure your birds, rabbits, chickens and any other pets are safe from household dangers.

Kevin shares a few tips to help keep your pet safe from serious injury …not to mention high vet bills from unexpected emergencies. 

Common household dangers for cats and dogs list

Household itemPossible effect on your cat/dog
Rodent (Rat) Poison (always read the label or research for ‘pet-friendly’ products)Pale gums or small pin point haemorrhages on the gums, lethargy, bruising under the skin, blood in the urine or faeces, bleeding from the nose, continued bleeding from small wounds or cuts.
Some Insecticides (always read the label or research for ‘pet-friendly’ products)Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, seizures, trouble walking and breathing and possible increased heart rate.
Some Fertilisers (always read the label or research for ‘pet-friendly’ products)There is an extremely wide range of fertilisers with a very wide range of possible health impacts (leading to death in severe cases) on pets.

Life-threatening signs can include drooling, vomiting, severe lethargy/collapse, diarrhoea, excessive tearing, urination, abnormal heart rates, difficulty breathing and pancreatitis. (Authors note: Have seen a dog die from pancreatitis from most likely ingesting fertiliser. It’s horrible.).
Top-spot pet medications (flea and tick treatments for dogs)These are quite safe for dogs but can have serious health implications for other pets, including cats.
Symptoms can include muscle tremors, incoordination, seizures, hyperthermia, and death in severe cases.
Xylitol - sugar substitute (can be found in chewing gum, tooth paste etc)Can lead to hypoglycemia in dogs, with the following indications: Vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing, depression or lethargy, tremors, seizures and then to coma/death in very severe cases.
String, thread, dental floss, rubber band.May cause painful and potentially deadly intestinal obstructions.
Cooked BonesThese can splinter, causing gastrointestinal obstructions which can be fatal.
Many Food types (incl avocado, chocolate, onion, garlic, fat trimmings, raw fish, liver and sugary foods, grapes)Each food type in excess can lead to many differing hchocolate (large amounts can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack) through to grapes (vomiting, diarrhoea, and lethargy (tiredness).
ParacetamolOne regular strength tablet may be toxic to a cat, and a second ingested 24 hours later may be lethal. The signs of toxicity are brown gums, difficulty breathing, blood in the urine, jaundice and swelling.
For dogs, a mild case of paracetamol poisoning can cause an upset stomach, and they may appear to be tired. More serious cases can include signs of staggering, vomiting and restlessness.
Other Medications (from Ibrufen to anti-depressants)Even one tablet of Ibuprofen to pets can cause gastric ulceration whereas access to anti-depressants can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, fever, tremors, sensitivity to sounds and noises, depression, dilated pupils, vocalization, blindness, drooling, difficulty breathing, difficulty walking, disorientation, coma, and rarely death.
General rule is that it is extremely unlikely that any medication for human consumption can be anything but harmful to animals.

Tips to keep your cat and dog safe from common household dangers

  • Use childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets
  • Place medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves or behind secure doors
  • Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet
  • Check for and block any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinets or behind washer/dryer units
  • Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn’t harmful, the wrapper could be)
  • Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals
  • Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, televisions, stereos, and telephones out of reach
  • Put away children’s toys and games
  • Move common house plants that may be poisonous out of reach. Don’t forget hanging plants that can be jumped onto from nearby surface
  • Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread
  • Keep any medications, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces
  • Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing

However cautious you might be, pets can always find a way to play with, lick or swallow something they shouldn’t. Listen to our podcast small animal veterinarian, Dr Anne Fawcett who talks about common cat and dog emergencies you need to be aware of.   If your pet shows any signs of illness, take them to the vet immediately!

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