Home Safety

Your home should be the safest place for your pet to be. Unfortunately, even the home has a number of items that pose a threat to your pets. Here are a few.


Common antifreeze contains the sweet-tasting substance ethylene glycol. Even a small amount of this chemical can be fatal. If a cat walks through a puddle on the driveway and then licks his paws, he can ingest enough to cause his death.

Prevention is simple.

  • Keep new or used antifreeze in sealed containers.
  • Ask your local auto supply store whether they dispose of used antifreeze.
  • Clean up any spills on driveways and other hard surfaces.
  • Consider using the type of antifreeze that is safe for pets.

The New Puppy or Kitten

Very young pets are always curious and highly active, and they go through a teething stage. They”re quite likely to investigate dangerous places, lick or sniff at anything that smells interesting and chew on anything soft or pliable. Make his new home a safe one by:

  • limiting contact with electrical cords (great for chewing)
  • preventing jumps from high places, such as from your arms, to prevent the fracture of little bones
  • shortening draw cords and pulls that pose a choking hazard.

Plants, Pesticides and Insecticides

Pets, particularly cats, like to explore. Keep pets safe in your yard and in your home by selecting plants that are non-toxic. Remember that many of the decorative holiday plants are harmful. Sometimes the unlikeliest is the most harmful (i.e. Easter Lilies can be deadly to cats).

With plants often come unexpected dangers in the form of herbicides, and “safe” insecticides such as boric acid. Before using a chemical in or around your home, verify that it”s safe for use around animals.

Pets and Young Children

They can mix. It just takes time…and a lot of supervision. Children love to touch and feel animals. They often become very excited and they show it by yelling, clapping hands or dancing around, all of which can terrify an animal. Young children don”t realize that pulling Kitty”s tail hurts her, that Rover doesn”t appreciate having his ears yanked, or that Mickey (the mouse) doesn”t like to be shoved into the toilet paper tube. The key is supervisionfor the safety of your pet and your child.

Unsafe Treats

Know what treats are safe for your pet before feeding them to her. If you have any questions, speak with your veterinarian. For example:

  • If your bird or rabbit (or any other pet) enjoys apples, make sure to remove the seeds. They contain the chemical cyanide, which can cause breathing difficulty and collapse.
  • Avoid “death by chocolate.” To many of us, this sounds heavenly, but when it comes to dogs, the phrase can be taken literally. Just three ounces of baker”s (dark) chocolate is enough to kill a 20-pound dog. Milk chocolate is slightly less lethal, but to dogs, chocolate is chocolate. Make sure chocolate candy and other treats aren”t lying around on countertops or tables where your dog can get to them.

Other Household Dangers

You”ve no doubt heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat.” To keep your explorer safe from his curiosity, secure areas that pose a danger:

  • front-loading washers and dryers: Keep the door closed at all times.
  • toilets: Keep the lid down to prevent potential drowning.
  • mop buckets: If you use a mop and bucket to clean your floors, empty the bucket as soon as you”re through. A soapy bucket poses a drowning or poisoning hazard.

Construction Dangers

Be especially careful if you have construction going on at the home. Home construction zones can contain quite a few dangers, including:

  • unstable structures: Freestanding walls may tip over and land on your pet if disturbed.
  • toxic paints and chemicals: Your pet may “taste-test” the paint or other chemicals.
  • exposed wiring: Pets may see wires and cables as great toys, but they may electrocute or strangle an unsuspecting pet.
  • bits and pieces of inorganic material: Small pieces of plastic, metal or wood may be ingested by your pet. These items may pose a choking hazard and may also seriously damage his mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.