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Protect Your Companion Animals From Common Household DangersAntifreeze - the types containing ethylene glycol have a sweet taste that attracts animals but are deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven pound cat. The types containing propylene glycol are safe in small amounts but still toxic in large doses.
Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine - emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.
De-icing salts used to melt snow are ice-paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options: doggie boots with Velcro straps to protect Fido's feet, and make your cat an indoor pet.
Insect control products - the insecticides used in many over-the-counter flea and tick remedies may be toxic to companion animals as well. Prescription flea and tick control products are much safer and more effective. You should never use any product without first consulting a veterinarian.
Fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly to birds. Always be cautious when using any pump or aerosol spray around birds.
Human medications - Pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medication containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.
Foods that could be poisonous: Alcoholic beverages, Apple seeds, Apricot pits, Avocados (poisonous to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle, and goats), Cherry pits, Chocolate (poisonous to dogs, cats, and ferrets), Coffee, Hops, Macadamia nuts, Moldy foods, Mushroom plants, Mustard seeds, Onions and onion powder, Peach pits, Potato leaves and stems (green parts), Rhubarb leaves, Salt, Tea (caffeine), Tomato leaves and stems (green parts), Walnuts, Yeast dough
Poisonous household plants: For a comprehensive list, visit Vet Med Library.
Rawhide doggie chews may be contaminated with salmonella, which can infect companion animals and humans who come in contact with the chews. These kinds of chews should only be given when you're with your pet, as they can pose a choking hazard as well.
String, yarn, rubber bands and even dental floss - easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.
Toys with removable parts - like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes-that can come apart can pose a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with your pets as you would with a small child.
Use all household products with caution, and keep a companion animal first aid kit and manual readily available. If all of your precautions fail and you believe that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.