Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tips for a Poison-Safe Household

Ten Tips for a Poison-Safe Household


  1. Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your pet's yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, mistletoe, sago palm, Easter lily or yew plant material by an animal could be fatal.

  2. When cleaning your house, never allow your pet access to the area where cleaning agents are used or stored. Cleaning agents have a variety of properties. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth and stomach.

  3. When using rat or mouse baits, ant or roach traps, or snail and slug baits, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your animals. Most baits contain sweet smelling, inert ingredients, such as jelly, peanut butter and sugars, which can be very attractive to your pet.

  4. Never give your animal any medications unless under the direction of your veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. One extra strength acetaminophen tablet (500mg) can kill a seven-pound cat.

  5. Keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of your pets' reach, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills are common examples of human medications that could be potentially lethal, even in small dosages. One regular strength ibuprofen (200mg) can cause stomach ulcers in a ten-pound dog.

  6. Never leave chocolates unattended. Approximately one-half ounce or less of baking chocolate per pound of body weight can cause problems. Even small amounts can cause pancreatic problems.

  7. Many common household items have been shown to be lethal in certain species. Miscellaneous items that are highly toxic, even in low quantities, include pennies (high concentration of zinc), mothballs (contain naphthaleneor paradichlorobenzene - one or two balls can be life threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents (contain cationic detergents which can cause corrosive lesions), batteries (contain acids or alkali which can also cause corrosive lesions), homemade play-dough (contains high quantity of salt), winter heat source agents like hand or foot warmers (contain high levels of iron), cigarettes, coffee grounds, and alcoholic drinks.

  8. All automotive products such as oil, gasoline and antifreeze, should be stored in areas away from pets. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be deadly in a seven-pound cat, and less than one tablespoon can be lethal to a 20-pound dog.

  9. Before buying or using flea products on your pet or in your household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of products are recommended for your pet. Read ALL information before using a product on your animal or in your home. Always follow label instructions. When a product is labeled, "for use in dogs only," this means that the product should NEVER be applied to cats or other pets. Also, when using a fogger or a house spray, make sure to remove all pets from the area for the time period specified on the container. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer or your veterinarian to clarify the directions BEFORE use of the product.

  10. When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides, always keep your animals away from the area until it dries completely. Discuss usage of products with the manufacturer before using. Always store such products in an area that will ensure no possible pet exposure.
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