Most pet owners consider their pets to be family members. They look forward to coming home and spending time with them. Pets can entertain us with the many tricks they learn, but they can’t be taught to keep themselves safe. They rely on their owners to do that.
Safety begins at home. Take the time to look around your home and yard for items that can be dangerous for pets. Hazards come in many forms. The key to identifying them is to look at areas your pet has access to from your pet’s point of view. You may never think of licking the towel used to wipe off excess Gorilla Glue, but it may seem like a tasty treat for your dog. Know the nature and habits of your pets. Animals lick, chew, rub and roll. They’re quick and sneaky. Keep hazardous items out of their reach to prevent a dangerous situation.
Post the numbers to animal poison control centers near your phone. You should always have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian in case of possible exposure to toxins, but time is crucial. The professionals at the animal poison centers can give you immediate and life-saving advice. While most will charge a fee, your pet’s life is more than worth it. When you contact one of the poison control centers, be prepared to supply necessary information such as:
- Your name and contact information
- Type of pet
- Age and weight of pet
- Toxin exposed to
- Amount of toxin and time elapsed since exposure
- Pet’s symptoms
Pet Poison Helpline
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
National Animal Poison Control Center of the University of Illinois
For lists of common toxins, visit the following sites:
As with toxins, it’s best to survey your pet’s home and take steps to remove or reduce the physical dangers.
- Pick up small toys and hardware to prevent ingestion of foreign bodies
- Secure loose cords and wires which can be chewed or tangled in
- Do not leave pets unattended in “choker” style collars as they can lock in place
- Do not use metal link collars or chains which can easily get caught and trap your pet
- Remove any sharp objects to prevent injury
- Check fences for loose boards, wire, and holes which allow escape
- Be sure pets have no access to swimming pools. Even pets that enjoy swimming could fall in and drown. Always supervise them.
Many pets enjoy a ride in the car or walk through the park. Any time you take your pet out of the home you may encounter situations over which you have limited control. Again, preparation is your best defense.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for other animals, people or vehicles. Your pet may react to strange smells and sudden noises. Try to look ahead for potential distractions.
- Keep your pet under control. While they may enjoy exploring off leash, you will have no way of restraining them from toxic substances or dangerous items. They may also be startled and run away.
- Secure your pets during car rides. Crates work best for cats and small animals, but be sure to tie the carrier firmly to prevent movement. Special “seat belt” harnesses are available for larger dogs.
Whether at home or traveling, remember to keep your pet’s safety as a priority. Plan ahead and monitor your surroundings to keep all pets safe and secure.