I'd hate to make worry warts out of us doting pet parents but I thought the safety tips below might be useful to DW readers. As a concerned mother to my furry kids, I always want to be in the know on this sort of stuff.
While the following list does not include all hazards, you may be surprised to find some items on there. It includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, certain foods, and dangers such as spiders and snakes. It is important to put an emergency plan in place for managing such issues, especially if you are camping with your pooch or otherwise far from home.
Thanks to veterinarian Angie Delillo for this information.
Dangerous Foods (Dogs and Cats):
- Onions (and onion powder)
- Xylitol sweetener (found in sugar-free candy and gum)
- Chocolate (cocoa)
- Cooked bones from chicken, steak and other meats (not toxic but can cause choking and splintering in throat and stomach)
- Bunnies should NOT get meat of any kind, they are vegetarians.
- Tylenol: lethal to cats. 1 Tylenol tablet can kill a feline.
- Aspirin: toxic to cats but not toxic to dogs unless in very high doses.
- Ibuprofen products such as Aleve, Advil and Motrin: extremely toxic to dogs and cats.
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Many human medications (e.g., birth control pills)
- Brown recluse spider
- Copperhead snake
Household Chemicals and Objects
- Snail and slug bait
- Anti-freeze, which often drips from car engines in winter and has a sweet tastes
- Thread, string, dental floss, fishing line and yarn are very dangerous to cats.
- Cocoa Mulch (a substance often used in gardening)
- Thin plastic grocery store bags, which can cause obstruction if ingested
- Poinsettias and all kinds of lilies (For a list of other hazardous flowers and plants, visit aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/)
- Glue traps
- Poisons to kill rodents, slugs and insects
Remember also that a cat, dog or any wildlife can be also poisoned by ingesting a rodent that has ingested the poison). There are many more humane, natural and far more effective ways to manage pests.
Summer's heat can be more dangerous than we might think. Never leave a pet alone in a car even with windows open or cracked. The risks of doing so are serious and not always immediately visible. Often the effects of such heat are not reversible once certain internal temperatures are reached. Similarly, do not leave a pet chained outside (illegal in many states) and do not tie a leashed dog to your bike as you ride: You can pedal farther than a dog can run, and heat exhaustion is also a danger.
Another thing to keep in mind in our travels, is that it is best to contact a wildlife rescue or rehabilitator right away before attempting to feed or move wildlife that appears to be abandoned or injured. Sadly our best intentions can result in doing more harm than good, so the guidance of a wildlife expert can be truly life saving.
And lastly, always provide fresh water and shade or keep companion animals indoors. Make sure to offer water to pooches when hiking or even just during a summer stroll. Fido may not always tug at your sleeve to let you know he needs hydration.
Dr. Pia Salk