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What’s Wrong Here? 6 Common Pet Safety Hazards

See If You Can Spot the Safety Hazards in These Pics

By Meredith Alling. February 07, 2014 | See Comments

Brown dog eating chocolate

Think you know a thing or two about proper pet safety? Check out these pics and put your knowledge to the test.

Owning a pet is a lot of fun, but it is also a big responsibility. Our pets depend on us to keep them healthy, happy, and out of harm’s way. Here we’ll look at six common pet hazards, and what you can do to keep your pet safe.

1. What’s Wrong Here?

This dog Could Eat Poisonous Food

Plenty of dogs and cats beg for food under the table, search for scraps on the floor, or poke their noses into cupboards looking for a tasty treat. The problem with this behavior is that some of the foods they are seeking could be poisonous. Chocolate, onions, garlic, salt, apricots, gum, caffeine, and alcohol can all cause a pet to become seriously ill, or even die.

What You Can Do:

  • Learn which foods are poisonous to your cat or dog.
  • Store poisonous foods and drinks where your pet won’t be able to reach them.
  • Keep cabinets and refrigerators closed.
  • Never leave any poisonous foods unsupervised in a room, even if they are high up on a table (most pets are clever enough to find a way).
  • Contact your veterinarian or animal poison control if your pet ever consumes a poisonous food or drink.

2. What’s Wrong Here?

This Cat Could Get Into Household Poisons

Dogs and cats are curious creatures who like to explore, often with their mouths. This is a perfectly natural instinct; however, there are many items that are kept around the house that can be fatal to a pet if ingested. These include human medications, pest control treatments, household cleaners, and glow sticks.

What You Can Do:

  • Learn which household items could be poisonous to your pet.
  • Lock away human medications, pest control products, cleaners, and glow sticks in cabinets where your pet won’t be able to reach them.
  • Contact your veterinarian or animal poison control if you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous household item.

3. What’s Wrong Here?

This Dog Could Get Into The Garage

You may be thinking, “What’s the problem with my pet getting into the garage?” The problem is that highly toxic substances, including antifreeze and rodenticides, are often stored in the garage. If your pet consumes one of these substances while exploring, it could be fatal.

What You Can Do:

  • Do not keep your pet in the garage.
  • Keep the garage door closed and locked at all times.
  • Keep rodenticides locked away.
  • Do not store any products containing ethylene glycol -- the active ingredient in most antifreeze solutions -- anywhere around your home.
  • If your car ever leaks antifreeze, clean it up immediately.
  • Do not winterize the pipes in your home with antifreeze as pets sometimes drink from toilets and sinks.
  • Contact your veterinarian or animal poison control if you suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze or rodenticide.

4. What’s Wrong Here?

This Cat Could Choke On Yarn

Many pets begin chewing when they are teething as a way to soothe the painful sensation of new teeth coming in. However, some pets may continue this behavior into adulthood and chew when they are bored or anxious. It is not only destructive to your home and belongings, it can also be dangerous if a pet ingests something sharp, large, or indigestible.

Cats are especially drawn to stringy things, and these can cause immensely dangerous “linear foreign bodies” -- getting wrapped in and around their digestive tract, and requiring surgery to safely remove.

What You Can Do:

  • Hide items that your pet likes to munch on. For example, does your dog like to chew on your slippers? Start keeping them in the closet.
  • Find something appropriate for your pet to chew on, like a chew toy or a bone. Make those new toys enticing to your pet by rubbing something tasty (and pet-safe) on the outside, or stuffing them with a treat.
  • Keep a chew toy around at all times. If you notice your cat going in for the arm of the couch, offer them a toy to chew on instead. When your cat chooses the toy over the couch, offer lots of praise and treats.
  • Keep your pet stimulated with exercise and interaction. Many pets chew because they are bored or don’t know how else to release excess energy. If your pet will be left alone during the day, be sure to leave plenty of interesting toys.
  • NEVER pull on or try to remove a string that’s stuck in your pet’s throat or butt. The string could be wrapped around their digestive tract and you could cause serious internal damage. Instead, take your pet to the vet right away.

5. What’s Wrong Here?

This Always-Full Food Bowl

It might seem like a perfectly acceptable arrangement, but keeping your pet’s food bowl full all day -- also known as free feeding -- can result in a number of health problems, including diabetes, obesity, and early onset arthritis.

What You Can Do:

With a full food bowl just around the corner at all times, it’s no wonder than many free-fed pets munch away when they are bored and end up putting on extra weight. The best way to feed your pet is on a schedule and with portions that are appropriate for their age, weight, and activity level. Some pets do well with a once-a-day feeding, while others might need breakfast and dinner. Ask your veterinarian to recommend:

  • a nutritious food
  • the correct portion size
  • an appropriate feeding schedule

6. What’s Wrong Here?

This Pet Is Pulling Against The Leash

Does it sometimes feel like your dog is walking you? Not only is this a frustrating behavior to deal with every day, it can also lead to other problems, such as general misbehavior and dominance issues because the dog believes that they are the pack leader.

What You Can Do:

  • Teach your dog to heel! Despite how things may seem, your dog doesn’t like having to assume the leadership role and pull you along -- they’d feel much more comfortable with you in control. Teach the “heel” command and then practice, practice, practice! Soon you’ll both be enjoying your walks a lot more.
More on Pet Safety

3 Ways to Be Safer Walking a Dog at Night
Cat and Dog Fire Safety
Be Prepared for Emergency Pet Care: Steps to Take Now
Buckle Up Your Pets: It's the Law

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