Your pet is part of your family, so you certainly wouldn’t want to cause it harm. However, you could unintentionally put them at risk if you expose them to these dangers.
Chocolate Isn’t For Pets
You may love chocolate, but don’t feed it your dog or cat. It contains theobromine which can trigger heart palpitations, seizures, and death. Dark chocolate has the most theobromine.
Caffeine Can Be Deadly Too
Caffeine is also very dangerous for animals as it elevates their heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature which can lead to seizures and death. Significant amounts of caffeine exist in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, and tea bags, chocolate, energy drinks, and diet pills.
Avoid Grapes & Raisins
These foods are healthy for humans, but not for dogs or ferrets. They can cause kidney failure and death. Raisins are far more toxic than grapes since they’re more concentrated.
Xylitol Harmful to Dogs
This is a common sweetener found in many products which is very damaging to dogs. It causes a severe drop in blood sugar which can lead to liver failure.
Xylitol is often found in chewing gum, packaged baked goods and baking mixes, candy, jams, peanut butter and nut butters, and other diet or sugar-free items.
Know Your Nuts
Dogs can eat some nuts, but others either cause health problems. Pets can have nut allergies just like humans too, so use caution.
Generally, peanuts, cashews, and hazelnuts are fine in small amounts, but ensure your pet doesn’t choke. Avoid almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamia, and hickory nuts. They either cause gastric distress or they’re toxic.
Walnuts are dangerous for cats too, and nuts aren’t really a great choice as a snack anyway since they’re very high in fat.
Avoid Allium Family
The Allium family of plants includes onions, garlic, chives, and leeks. They are all poisonous to cats and dogs, but garlic is the most toxic.
Some animals are more susceptible than others, but poisoning can damage the red blood cells and make them more likely to rupture. There may be a delay in the onset of symptoms too, so when you realize there’s a problem it’s already serious.
Keep human and animal medications away from pets. Over the counter drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) can interfere with oxygen flow or harm your pet’s liver.
Pet medication is often flavored to make it more likely your pet will consume it. However, they an overdose just like humans, so keep their meds hidden.
Safeguard Household Chemicals
Cleaners, detergents, fabric softeners, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, de-icers, antifreeze and rodenticides all have the potential to kill you pet or seriously harm them. If you have a rodent or insect issue in your home, consider non-toxic traps. Use organic fertilizers and store all chemicals in a safe place away from your pets.
Choose Toys Wisely
Use the same precautions when you buy pet toys as you would when buying for a child. Avoid toys with small parts that can easily separate as your pet could choke on them.
Cats are especially attracted to items such as string, yarn, hair elastics, and even fishing line. It they eat any of these items it could either strangle them or lodge in their intestinal tract prompting an emergency visit to the vet.
Plants Can Poison
Plants are attractive and produce oxygen, but many are irritants or toxic to animals. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides an in-depth database where you check which plants are toxic for cats, dogs, and horses.
Your pets can also put you at risk of liability claims. If your animal harms another person, they could sue you for damages.
While your Rhode Island homeowner’s insurance policy usually does cover bites, it may limit coverage or exclude breeds. Discuss your coverage with your insurance agent to ensure you’re properly covered and avoid these risks so your pets stay safe.