The nation’s professional pet sitters have one simple plea for dog owners everywhere: Protect your pet from poisons.
“Many household pets are naturally curious creatures,” says John D’Ariano, president of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, who issued the appeal as part of this week’s National Poison Prevention Week. “While great care is taken to create a safe environment for the family, many are not as comprehensive with their furry family member. We believe it’s vitally important for pet parents to become educated on dangerous substances to create a safe environment and prevent accidents for each household member.”
To create a pet-friendly home, NAPPS encourages pet parents to conduct a room-by-room safety examination:
In the kitchen
Ensure that all food is in secure containers, and only feed pet food to your pet. Even small amounts of food such as grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in gum and other foods) and chocolate can be dangerous to your pet. Purchase a garbage can with a heavy, secure lid.
In the living area
While plants can seem harmless, some plants contain toxic substances. Plants to ban include aloe, amaryllis, calla lily, and baby’s breath. Consult with your veterinarian before purchasing a new household plant.
In the bathroom
Keep all medications in original, safety top containers, personal care products in a medicine cabinet, and cleaning supplies in a secure location. Install child-proof cabinet devices to prevent pets from opening cabinet doors.
In the bedroom
Under-the-bed storage space can be great for keeping last season’s sweaters out of sight, but do not use the space to store toxic substances. Examine the room for perfume, medicine or personal care items and store them in drawers or boxes.
In the laundry room
Keep laundry detergent and supplies in tightly closed, original containers.
In the garage
Bug spray, weed killer, paint, charcoal, gasoline and antifreeze can be fatal for your pet. Store these items in a locked cabinet or box to prevent your pet from accidental ingestion.
If a pet ingests a substance suspected to be poisonous, contact your veterinarian or an animal hospital immediately. Owners can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 in an emergency (there is a $65 consultation fee). When bringing your pet to a clinic, bring the substance with you so the veterinarian can best treat your pet.
For more information on protecting your pet from poisons, visit the ASPCA website.