If you have just adopted your first dog, then one consideration you should keep in mind, is the safety of new friend in your home. As noted by the ASPCA, in 2018 alone, it received 213,773 pet poisoning cases, with everything from food to over-the-counter medications causing harm to pets. The good news is that these problems can be easily overcome. Most simply require intelligent storage and with a couple of small structural changes, your dog will be safe and happy in no time.
Storing Away Toxic Items
The range of poisons that can harm pets is wide, so take a good look at your home before Fido steps inside for the first time. Those which should be kept in pet-safe storage include household cleaners (think bleach, ammonia, and chlorine), household garbage (think old cans with food, old product containers, expired food, etc.), and antifreeze. The latter is particularly dangerous because it has a sweet, appealing taste yet is highly toxic to pets. A mistake as small as leaving a bucket with bleach within your dog’s reach can result in poisoning, so make sure to not only store away products, but also any solutions you make with them. Mop water should immediately be thrown away after use.
Reducing the Toxic Overload in Your Home
In addition to storage, consider relying on steam vacuuming and natural cleaning products to reduce your home’s chemical load. Remember that dogs move close to the floor and they often sit on floors and carpets for various hours. Ensure they are never in close contact with bleach and other harsh products.
What is Your Furniture Made Of?
Many dogs are allowed on sofas and soft furnishings so it is important to ensure these are safe. Many commercial sofas contain flame retardants, which can cause health problems if they penetrate the skin or are inhaled. Formaldehyde, meanwhile, used as a disinfectant and preservative, has been found to cause cancer in animals – according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Reducing Falls and Injuries
If you have adopted a puppy or an older dog, long stairways can be a particularly big risk for falls. This is easy to remedy. Install a baby gate at the top and bottom of the stairs. Do the same in the kitchen entryway. Dogs can get burned by hot pots spilling over. Often, owners who are unaware that Fido is in the kitchen can trip over him, thus resulting in harm for both human and canine.
Keeping Toxic Foods Out of Reach
It can be very easy for your dog to reach toxic foods left on the dining table or other furniture at home, so everyone in the home should be vigilant. The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that some of the most toxic foods for dogs include chocolate, coffee grounds, tea, fatty foods, avocado, yeast dough, grapes or raisins, onions or garlic, nuts like pistachio or macadamia, and any foods made with the artificial sweetener, Xylitol. It will take plenty of discipline to ensure even children in the household are very strict about leaving food exposed to pets. When you leave the home, if you’re leaving your pets behind, have one last quick check through the dining room, kitchen, bedrooms etc. to search for food. Better yet, restrict your pet to a safe part of the home.
There are many household hazards that can cause injury or poisoning. By keeping toxins stored away and ensuring your furniture and cleaning products are toxin-free, you can reduce your pet’s poisoning and cancer risk. Look at your home and identify potential opportunities for falls and injuries as well, making any changes that are necessary for your pet’s safety.
Article by: Jane Anderson, a freelance writer, editor and dog owner