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Everyday Hazards That Can Kill Your Dog
And How to Guard Your Pet Against Them


When you have a dog you are responsible for its health and well-being. You are responsible for taking it to the vet for regular checkups or sick visits. You should also take responsibility in ensuring your home is hazard-free. Having a dog is like having a small child. They can get into any number of things that are no good for them, and ingesting something hazardous can take only a second even if you are in the room. To help prevent accidents, you need to "dog-proof" your home. Keep household products or anything toxic out of your dog's reach, and never keep them in an area where your dog might sleep or play.

To prevent your dog from being poisoned by a plant do thorough research on which
plants are toxic, and which could kill your dog. In considering the risk to your dog from these plants, you need to take into account your dog's age and how likely it is to chew on plants. For puppies, it's probably best to keep all plants out of reach.

Oleander is highly toxic, and most poisoning cases involve puppies (or toddlers). Dumb cane can be potentially fatal if a dog has even a little nibble.

There are also a number of plants that have toxic oxalates, which irritate. These can cause the mouth to swell, and in severe cases, if the mouth swells quickly the dog can become asphyxiated. A few examples of these: Boston ivy; neththytis ivy, majesty; red princess, marble queen; emerald duke and arrowhead vine.

Other plants that are toxic but not potentially fatal can cause vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps in your dog. If your dog begins exhibiting any of these types of symptoms consult your vet immediately.

Many plants used in Christmas decorations can be harmful or toxic to dogs. It has become widely believed that poinsettias are poisonous. This is not true, however; the plants are very bitter and will cause the dog to vomit if ingested.

Other common
poisoning hazards are acetaminophen or pills with acetaminophen in them. Always make sure you put medications away after taking them; never leave pills sitting out to take for later and keep the bottles secured in your medicine cabinet. Brightly colored pills left sitting out can be a deadly temptation to a dog that might believe that it has found candies. Laxatives can also be highly poisonous to dogs.

Examine your bathroom and make sure it is dog-proof. As a general rule you shouldn't leave any product with the cap off. Other poisonous substances to your dog that can be found in the average bathroom are perm solutions, deodorants and deodorizers, drain cleaner, rubbing alcohol, hair coloring, soaps and suntan lotions.In the summertime, cars that overheat can spill antifreeze or other coolants. In the winter make sure you clean up any antifreeze you might spill while filling your radiator. Dogs are attracted by the sweet smell, and even a small amount, if ingested, could kill your dog. Thoroughly clean up all spills at once. Keep your antifreeze containers closed tightly and out of any areas where your pets might have access to them.

Garages and Storage Area
Keep your garage or wherever else you keep your automotive and household products well-organized and neat. Brake fluid, carburetor cleaner, gasoline, windshield fluid and kerosene are all extremely harmful products if ingested by your dog.

Make sure to clean up spills when working on home projects. Don't leave soaked rags sitting unattended. Mineral spirits, paint and paint remover, woodstains and furniture polish all pose a threat if ingested.

Also keep your laundry room dog-proofed. Detergents, bleach, and lye are threats to the dog that swallows them. Dogs can be attracted to sweet-smelling odors usually added to these products.

Human Foods
Keep chocolate, coffee, tea and soda out of your dog's reach. Chocolate itself is not poisonous to dogs, but it contains theobromine. Theobromine is a compound that can act differently in different dogs. Theobromine can bring on epileptic seizures in dogs that are prone to them. It can also cause cardiac irregularity, and in severe cases can bring on a myocardial infarction, which can kill the dog. In some cases, it can cause internal bleeding, which left untreated can quietly kill them over several days.

Walnuts are especially dangerous because they commonly carry a fungus that causes seizures in dogs. Nuts, in general, are not good for dogs; the high phosphorus content can lead to bladder stones.

Since chocolate and walnuts are a common ingredient in candies and foods around the holidays, make sure you tell your family members not to give the dogs any table scraps or holiday cookies. Explain to them your reasons why this can actually be harmful to your dog and is not a treat.

If your dog has ingested any of these items, immediately call your vet or check with the emergency room of your local hospital and ask for the number of the local Poison Control Center. You can also call the National Animal Poison Control Center, which offers three fee-based hotline numbers. The easiest to remember is (888)4-ANIHELP.

Be sure not to induce vomiting unless told to do so after consulting with your vet or an animal poison control center. Sometimes a toxic substance can be more damaging to a dog if it's brought up again. Never induce vomiting more than two hours after the substance has been ingested.