Hidden Pet Poisons in Your Home

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From leftover candy to table scraps, dogs and cats have a propensity to eat anything around the house that isn’t boxed up or tied down. Yet, even the most cautious pet owners admit – it’s not easy keeping our roving furry friends from devouring harmful foods.

However, what may be most dangerous to your dogs and cats isn’t just “human food” off the table. Seemingly innocuous household items like houseplants and everyday medications can be poisonous and even deadly for your pet!

Are there dangerous foods for your pets around the house too?

Here are four household items which can pose a toxic risk to your pets:

1. Ibuprofen

Did you know that one of the prime culprits for pet poisoning is hiding in your medicine cabinet? While common medicines like Advil, Motrin or Midol (which contain Ibuprofen) can alleviate your pain or fever symptoms, those pills can have disastrous effects on dogs and cats.

Ibuprofen inhibits the blood flow to the kidneys and attacks the stomach lining in pets. Cats are even more sensitive to ibuprofen poisoning as compared to dogs - a single 200 mg tablet of ibuprofen could be fatal! Dogs are at a high risk as well, and can suffer from stomach ulcers or kidney failure depending on the level of dosage.

Protect your pets by keeping your medicines tucked away and out of reach of those prying paws. Don’t be careless either! Pets are quick to swallow accidentally dropped pills. And remember, never give your medicines to your pets. You’d be surprised at how many pet owners unintentionally poison their pets trying to relieve their symptoms with an Ibuprofen.

2. Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch, derived from cocoa shells, is becoming popular for landscaping because it smells…well, chocolate-y. Unfortunately, it’s likely that your dog or cat can’t resist that scent either, and might munch on the mulch while playing in the yard. Cocoa mulch contains the same offenders, caffeine and theobromine, which makes chocolate highly toxic for dogs and can lead to various symptoms such as vomiting, hyperactivity, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and seizures. If you plan to use cocoa mulch in the garden, it’s a good idea to keep your dog out of harm’s way.

3. Azaleas

You might have heard that lilies are a no-no in the garden if you own a dog or cat, as many varieties can be fatal if consumed. But lilies aren’t the only plants to steer clear of. The beautiful Azalea bushes you’ve spotted growing in your neighborhood contain grayanotoxin, which is poisonous even in tiny quantities. All parts of the plant are highly toxic to your furry pals, so you should prevent them from even nibbling on the leaves.

4. Antifreeze

Antifreeze, used to get your car’s radiator primed for winter driving, can turn into a silent killer for your pets if not handled with care. In the winter months, be sure to store antifreeze in a pet-proof container, and clean up any leaks or drips on garage floors and driveways. Antifreeze has a deceptively sweet taste and smell which can tempt your dogs and cats to lap up the liquid. However, it also contains ethylene glycol, a tablespoon of which can be lethal for your pets. Telltale signs of antifreeze poisoning are similar to alcohol poisoning, and your pets may exhibit symptoms such as delirium, uncoordinated movement, excessive urination, or vomiting within hours of ingesting the fluid. If left untreated, acute kidney failure can also occur.

It’s not always easy to detect poisoning in your pets, but if you suspect that your pet has accidentally eaten any of these household substances, contact a veterinarian immediately. The first few hours are usually the most critical, and symptoms can worsen if left untreated. Consider a Pet Insurance plan so that you are covered if you have to make an emergency trip to the vet.

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