Keep your best fur friend safe from toxic substances

Sam Hyer

Sam Hyer


Ahh March, with our thoughts turning to spring and all of its promise, a part of that thought process turns to spring cleaning. Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking at “pet level.”

According to the ASPCA  in 2008, over 140,000 cases of pets being exposed to toxic substances were logged. The most common call involved a pet getting into human medications. But what are the other things that can cause your pet its life and you your best fur friend.  Here are some of the items on the chart that I keep at the kennel and send home in my puppy and rescue care kits.

Pet hazards list-around the house

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc), acetaminophen, cold and flu medications, decongestants, antidepressants, vitamins, home insect products, rat and mouse bait, bleach, diet pills, disinfectants, fabric softener, lead (paint and paint chips), linoleum (in older homes), lighter fluid, mothballs, anti-cancer drugs, solvents (paint thinners etc.), flea and tick products, drain cleaners, liquid potpourri, slug and snail bait, oven cleaner sprays, lime/scale remover, fly bait, detergents, tobacco products, plants-house and yard (aloe, amaryllis, andromeda japonica, Asian lily, asparagus fern, Australian nut, autumn crocus, azalea, belladonna, bird of paradise, bittersweet, black locust, branching ivy, buckeye, Buddhist pine, caladium, calla lily, caster bean, ceriman, clematis, cordatum, corn plant, cycads, cyclamen, daffodil, day lily, devil’s ivy, dieffenbachia, dumbcane, Easter lily, elephant ears, emerald fern, English ivy, eucalyptus, ferns, fiddle-leaf philodendron, gold dust dracaena, Florida beauty, foxglove, glacier ivy, gladiolus, golden pothos, heavenly bamboo, honeysuckle, hurricane plant, hyacinth, hydrangea, iris, Jerusalem cherry, jimson weed, kalanchoe, lantana, lilies, lily of the valley, lupine, marble queen, morning glory, mother-in-law, mountain laurel, narcissus, needlepoint ivy, nephthysis, nightshade, oleander, panda, peace lily, philodendron, poison hemlock, precatory bean, privit, red emerald, rhododendron, ribbon plant, sago plam, satin pathos, schefflera, striped dracaena, sweetheart ivy, tulip, water hemlock, wisteria, yew, and yuccaall cause poisoning.

Harmful foods

Avocados, chocolate, coffee, onion and onion powder, garlic, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, alcoholic drinks, moldy/spoiled foods, salt, fatty food, gum candies or other foods with Xylitol, tea leaves, raw yeast dough

Objects of harm

Balls that are small or have an outer coating, batteries, bread twist ties, buttons, coins, cotton swabs or balls, glass, hair pins, jewelry, nylons, paper clips, plastic wrap, socks, rubber-bands, sharp objects (knives razors shears needles), string, yarn or dental floss, towels, wax.

Home trouble areas

Balconies (falls they can’t judge distance), bath tubs or sinks (drowning even in small amounts of water), doors and windows (walk or run away), electrical cords (electrocuted), fireplace (burns), toilets (drowning and poisoning), washer and dryer (they can crawl in without you knowing and being injured).

Outside trouble areas

Algae, antifreeze or coolant, fire pit or grill, fences and gates (damaged can cause injury or escape), deck lattice (get stuck, strangled or impailed), de-icing salts, compost, gas, oil, fertilizer, insecticides/pesticides, cocbean shell, mulch, swimming pools and hot tubs.

Holiday hazards

Valentines day (flowers and candy, many flowers and most candy can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rate, tremors and seizures, and in some cases chocolate poisoning is fatal. Easter- fake grass, small toys and candy. Choking hazards and poisoning even damage to the intestinal tract).

4th of July (fireworks not only scare unprepared pets but can cause serious injury).

Halloween (the repeated opening of the door, a pet can go missing. Candy… again. Xylitol is toxic to pets).

Thanksgiving (bones, contrary to popular belief, are not that great for a dog). Turkey and chicken and other small animal bones are different from the large bone available at the pet store or meat market. They splinter easily and can cause serious injury. Hot containers-pets have a natural curiosity and may
get burnt.

Christmas (did I mention candy)! Holiday plants, ribbons, bubbling lighting, fire salts, angel hair (spun glass), Christmas tree water, decoration hooks, styrofoam, ornaments and tinsel-all items of potential harm to your fur child.

New Year’s (balloons and confetti causing choking hazards).  Loud noises… it is a evening of loud celebration.  Pet ears are sensitive, so consider having a care giver or putting them in a room far from the party.

In all things think to yourself what is my pets level of curiosity, and then common sense will guide you to choosing the right protection for your pet at home.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.