For the love of your pet: How to poison-proof your home for pets

June 12, 2014 at 1:12 a.m.

By Shana Bohac

There is a wide variety of plants that can be potentially harmful to your pet. It is very important for you to evaluate your plants both inside and outside your home. Lilies, English ivy, oleander, sago palm, azaleas, rhododendrons, tulips, Kalanchoe, amaryllis, autumn crocus, chrysanthemums and poinsettias are all toxic to animals.

There are many common household items, medications and foods that can get your pet very sick. You will need to take a look around your house from your pet's perspective. Anything a child can reach, your pet can likely reach. This article will help you pet-proof your home so that all your fur babies are safe and sound.

It is important to keep home fragrance products out of reach, including open dishes of liquid potpourri and simmer pots. You will also want to keep ashtrays and nicotine-containing products out of reach.

Batteries and glue are items that can cause serious harm if ingested by your animals. Certain glues can expand once in the stomach and cause gastrointestinal obstruction.

It is essential to know what foods are poisonous to pets. Some things that are toxic to your animals include raw onion, potatoes, grapes, raisins, garlic, yeast dough, macadamia nuts, fatty foods, sugar-free gum and chocolate.

Garbage cans should be kept behind a closed door or have a lid that your pet can't open. Trash can contain many toxic or harmful items such as cigarette butts, coffee grounds, moldy food and bones.

Medications should be kept up and away from pets. If left on a table or countertop, there is a chance for them to be knocked down and the bottles chewed through. Never medicate your pet with human medications without first consulting your veterinarian.

In your kitchen and bathroom, keep cleaning products stored where pets cannot get to them. If you are using cleaners in a small space, you will want to keep your pets out of these areas.

You will want to close all your toilet lids to keep pets from drinking the water - especially if the water is being treated by automatic bowl cleaners. Don't forget about the bathroom trash. This can be an enticing treat for your pet that you may not think about.

Do not use insecticides or rodenticides around your pets. If you plan to use any of these products, be sure to read the labels, learn the ingredients and only use the poisons as suggested.

Organophosphates and carbamates are two common yard insecticides that can be very dangerous if ingested in high concentrations. There are also many other active ingredients in similar products that are very toxic and potentially deadly to our pets.

Antifreeze or ethylene glycol is extremely toxic to pets. If you spill antifreeze, you will want to keep your pets away and clean it up immediately.

Propylene glycol is a safe alternative. Automotive products such as windshield cleaner fluid can also be toxic to your pet, so clean up spills immediately.

If you have any questions regarding toxic household items, please feel free to contact me at

Dr. Shana Bohac has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. She works on both small animals and equine patients. Submit questions to



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