Is Your Home Safe for Your Dog?
People are talk about childproofing their homes to protect their babies and young children. Yet when we talk about ‘dog proofing’ a house, we are usually referring to protecting our home from our dog! It is, however, also highly necessary to think about the ways in which we can make our home a safer environment for our pets. There are plenty of hazards like cleaning chemicals in cupboards or medicines in bathroom drawers, that dogs could potentially get into. And the list does not end there. Below is a useful checklist to see if your home is safe and secure for your canine friend.
1. Human Food
Food eaten by people is not always safe for dogs. Chocolate for instance is highly toxic for dogs because it contains caffeine and and can cause hyper-stimulation in the way of tachycardia, vomiting or diarrhea and in large doses, even death. Other dangerous foods for dogs include grapes, raisins, avocados and some nuts; these can cause tremors, seizures or gastroenteritis. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in some sweets, cakes and chewing gum, may cause severe hypoglycemia, resulting in loss of coordination, weakness and shivering – or in worst cases, liver failure. Keeping your dog away from your cupboards may not be enough. Some dogs have a nasty habit of raiding the rubbish bin. Take out the trash or make sure the container is inaccessible to the dog when you leave the house.
2. Rat Poison and Insecticides
Rat traps that contain a bait may sometimes be accidentally ingested by dogs. If you catch a dog eating rat bait, induce vomiting and take him to the vet right away. If you notice your dog to be lethargic and weak, with no appetite, check for pale gums: the kind of rat baits that cause internal bleeding in rodents, may take around four days to show in your dogs and these symptoms appear first. Rat poison will ultimately be lethal for dogs, so your vet will immediately administer blood clotting agents or even a transfusion, if necessary. Just as rat baits, ant or roach baits may occasionally contain edible materials that dogs like the smell of. Whilst these products rarely contain enough poison to be harmless to a dog, or are in fact non-poisonous to mammals, eaten in large quantities they may nevertheless cause serious symptoms of poisoning. If you do have to treat your home with rat or insect poison, always place these toxins in areas where the dog cannot reach. Always keep the product packaging too: if you think your dog may have ingested poison, you must take him to the veterinary clinic urgently and it will be helpful for the vet to know what chemical needs to be counteracted.
Never give your dog any medication, canine or human, unless previously talking it through with your vet. Some over the counter drugs for people are lethally toxic for dogs – like ibuprofen or children’s lice shampoos. Keep all medication well away from your dog’s reach. The same goes for veterinary medication, especially since some of these are fashioned into treat-like dog snacks. Apply the same tactic as you would with poisons, keeping all medicine packaging and taking it to your vet together with your dog if you suspect he has eaten something he shouldn’t have.
4. Plants and Fertilizers
Some common house and garden plants – for example chrysanthemums, narcissus, hyacinths, rhododendrons, yew, cyclamen and oleander amaryllis are poisonous for dogs. At the same time, fertilizers and insecticides (see above) that are sprayed on plants, should only be applied where the dog will neither lie down, nor gain access to eat the leaves. The same goes for bags of fertilizer or insect poison; these should always be kept safely out of a dog’s reach where he cannot chew the product packages or bottles.
5. Cleaning products, chemicals and heavy metals
Most cleaning products will be toxic for your dog and should be kept out of his reach. There are a few hard and fast rules if you catch your dog swallowing household chemicals. Bleach and drain cleaner, for example, should never be thrown up as they can burn the dog’s mouth and esophagus, so never try to make your dog vomit if he has ingested these. Small coins, namely pennies containing zinc, can cause zinc toxicosis. Some dogs love to chew and swallow just about anything they find, but usually surgery is the only way to remove coins from a dog’s digestive tract. Lead is found in some brands of paint these days, although they are now the exception. Bear this in mind, however, if renovating your house – lead poisoning can be lethal for a dog. Another liquid that can appear appetizing to dogs is antifreeze. Antifreeze is sweet in taste but highly toxic, causing fast kidney failure. Propylene alcohol used as antifreeze is not nearly as aromatic or as toxic, so where possible, use it instead. The rule of thumb is to read any product labeling and keep anything that says ‘toxic’ out of the dog’s bounds. If it’s poisonous for us, it’s poisonous for them.
In case of an emergency
If you’re dog is a ‘chewer’, it is a good idea to keep some 3% hydrogen peroxide and large syringe in your dog’s first aid kit – when administered in the mouth, hydrogen peroxide induces vomiting and can flush out toxins quickly if you have caught your dog ‘in the act’ of swallowing something he shouldn’t. Keep a saline solution handy for washing out your dog’s eyes or skin too. And finally, always know where your emergency veterinary telephone number is: keep it handy on your fridge door or in your mobile phone directory. And if you leave your pet in the care of a friend or a house sitter, educate them about dog home safety and make sure they also have the vet number and your dog’s medical history on hand.
Image source: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Other_g374-Girl_And_Her_Dog_p111945.html
Image courtesy of Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Johanna Bergstrom is a blogger and content writer who enjoys blogging about the myriad of mishaps that occur at home – as well as sharing travel tips, recipes and child development advise. She loves all of God’s furry creatures, especially, man’s best friend. Currently she is associated with Versatile Dog Supply, which helps dog owners easily access high quality dog training collars, for that perfectly trained dog.
Filed under: Dog Care
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