You may think you live in a safe, animal-friendly environment, but every home is a potential minefield of hazards for your dog.
Here are some common household dangers to look out for:
Most people know that rat bait can also poison dogs, but many don’t realise eating a poisoned rat can be fatal too. To reduce the risk of accidental poisoning, put the baits in a place that only the rats can reach. In the roof, between walls, and along known rat runs are all safe places that your dogs should not be able to access. Store rat baits safely in the original packaging within another sealed container, and keep this in a high cupboard out of reach of pets and children.
Some rat baits are safer for pets than others but be careful with any brand, If you think your dog has had contact with rat bait, call your vet immediately.
Most snail baits contain metaldehyde, which is highly toxic to dogs. To reduce the risk of accidental poisoning, put the baits in a place your pets can’t access. In your garden, place a barrier around garden beds and garden mesh over the top. Store snail bait in the original packaging within another sealed container and keep this in a high cupboard out of reach of pets and children. If you think your dog has had contact with snail bait, call your vet immediately.
Most of these contain boric acid which is toxic if a dog eats large amount for its body size. Many ant killers have a sweet smell and taste to attract ants. This can be equally appealing to dogs and cats, so always put the ant killer in places your pet can’t get to. Store these insecticides in an air tight container in a high cupboard, out of reach of pets and children. If you think your dog has ingested ant killer, contact your vet immediately.
These can be a major hazard for pets, especially young puppies and kittens. They love to run under and hide in reclining chairs. Kittens are especially likely to climb up inside the chair and curl up for a nap. When someone sits or starts to rock in the chair, pets can become caught or even fatally injured. Always check where your pet is before reclining or closing the recliner on the chair.
The oil used in oil burners is caustic but can taste sweet to some pets. If licked or swallowed, oil can cause burns to the mouth or oesophagus that may become life-threatening if left untreated. If you think your dog has ingested oil from an oil burner, contact your vet immediately.
Bins are full of hazards, especially for inquisitive dogs. If a bin is left open, or can be easily knocked over, pets can pull out dangerous or toxic rubbish such as food wrappers, dental floss and cigarette butts, or cooked bones and food skewers that could splinter and cause life-threatening damage of the digestive tract. Keep bins covered and out of reach.
Medicine that’s safe for you is not necessarily safe for your dog. Some medications like common headache tablets are highly toxic for animals. If your pet has a health problem, please don’t treat them yourself with human medications or ointments, always contact your vet.
Dirty clothes baskets
Dogs are notorious for seeking out interesting smells from unwashed clothes. Dirty socks are especially dangerous and can cause a life-threatening obstruction in the digestive system that requires emergency surgery. If you know your pet is a dirty clothes hunter, keep the laundry basket out of reach.
Puppies love playing with clothes pegs and will often chew on them. This is potentially hazardous as pegs can lodge in their mouths or oesophagus. Most household cleansers are also dangerous if ingested. Some dogs are attracted to the ammonia in floor cleaners or bleach, and may lick a recently cleaned floor. If your pet ingests floor cleaner or bleach it can cause life-threatening burns to the mouth or oesophagus, so you should contact your vet immediately.
It’s recommended to keep all electrical cords out of reach of pets, especially puppies that will often chew, drag and pull on any cords they find. If your pet chews and exposes the wiring it can cause severe injuries. These include burns to the mouth and tongue, and in more serious cases, seizures, difficulty breathing or cardiac arrest. For your family’s safety, if you see your pet chewing an electrical cord or find chew marks on any cord, unplug and replace it immediately.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure – a big part of taking care of your dog is ensuring that any safety hazards are removed from his environment.