Ten Tips for a Poison-Safe Household

by Jill A. Richardson, DVM Veterinary Poison Information Specialist ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center

  1. Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your dog’s yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, mistletoe, sago palm, or yew plant material, by a dog, could be fatal. (A list of poisonous plants appears below).
  2. When cleaning your house, never allow your dog 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 attracting to your dog.
  4. Never give your dog ANY medications unless under the directions of veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. One extra strength acetominophen tablet (500mg) can cause severe liver damage to a 10lbs dog. One half of a regular strength naproxen (200mg) could cause stomach ulcers in the same size dog.
  5. Keep all prescription an over the counter drugs out of reach of your dogs, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. Less than one regular strength ibuprofen (200mg) could cause stomach ulcers in a 10lb dog, and about six could cause kidney failure. Never throw medications away in the trash can. The trash can is like a gourmet restaurant to most dogs! Instead, flush all unwanted medications away in the toilet.
  6. Never leave CHOCOLATES unattended. Approximately one half ounce or less of chocolate per pound 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 (one or two balls can be life threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents (contain cationic detergents which could 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 pet access. As little as one tablespoon of antifreeze could be lethal to a 10lb dog. If a leakage of such products is discovered, you should remove all pets from the area before cleaning the spill.
  9. Before buying or using flea products on your dog or in your household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea products are recommended for your pet. Read ALL information before using a product on your dogs or in your home. Always follow label instructions. When a product is labeled “for household use only” this means that the product should NEVER be applied to your dog. Also be aware of animal size and age restrictions of products used on your dogs. When using a flea 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 liquid fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides, always keep your animals away from the area until the area dries completely. Before application, you should discuss usage of products around pets with the manufacturer of the products. Always store such products in an area that will ensure no possible animal exposure, preferably, in a secured cabinet.

These tips were extracted from the website www.germanshepherds.com