Never Assume These 5 Things Are Safe for Pets

Most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but might not be aware of some other things that may not be pet safe. Here are 5 that could be sitting in your house.

1. Medications

Never assume that a human medication is safe for your pet. Even though human medications may sometimes be prescribed for animals the dosages are rarely the same. Even over-the-counter medications can be toxic. Always check with your veterinarian and check out this video for more.

Most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but might not be aware of some other things that may not be pet safe. Here are five that could be sitting in your house.

2. Sago Palm

Dr. Justine Lee warns that the sago palm is often used as an ornamental plant. All parts of this attractive plant are poisonous. Take a look at the full article.

Most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but might not be aware of some other things that may not be pet safe. Here are five that could be sitting in your house.

3. Asthma Inhalers

Asthma inhalers make a tempting chew toy for dogs. They can also contain albuterol which may cause seizures, shock or even death. Dr. Justine Lee can help you protect your pooch from this disaster.

Most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but might not be aware of some other things that may not be pet safe. Here are five that could be sitting in your house.

4. Milk

We’ve all seen the classic cartoon of a cat sipping on milk, but the truth is milk does not always agree with our felines. Did you know that some cats are actually lactose intolerant? So make sure your kitty gets cat-appropriate treats in lieu of milk to avoid indegestion, vomiting and diarrhea. Learn more about why you should avoid giving your cat milk in this ASPCA article.

Most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but might not be aware of some other things that may not be pet safe. Here are five that could be sitting in your house.

5. Lead

Hopefully there’s not too much lead around your house. Still, you may be surprised by common sources: fishing sinkers, paint, and even bullets. Dr. Justine Lee talks about the dangers of lead poisoning in her article Lead Poisoning in Dogs and Cats.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pet

9 Common Household Items That Can Poison Your Dog


[easyazon_infoblock align=”left” cart=”y” cloak=”y” identifier=”B017TZEPOA” locale=”US” localize=”y” nw=”y” nf=”n” tag=”natur0da-20″] People who have children usually know enough to child-proof their home, keeping medications, household cleansers and other poisonous items away from their toddlers. But how many of us think to do the same for our pets? You might be surprised to know that there are hundreds of thousands of pets poisoned by perfectly ordinary household substances in any given year. Many of them are perfectly harmless to humans, and some even to children. But they can be deadly if ingested by dogs.

The following are nine common household items that can kill your dog.

1. Human Medications

If you are on anti-depressants, keep them out of reach of your dog. Many anti-depressants can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death. Even ordinary pain-killers can be lethal. An aspirin or two will not likely kill your dog, but a single acetaminophen tablet could. Ibuprofen can cause kidney failure. A good rule of thumb is simply to keep all medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, away from your dog.

2. Flea and Tick Repellent

“What?” you are saying. “Flea and tick repellent protects my dog!” Well, yes, sometimes. But if a dog decides, for example, that a flea collar would make a good chew toy, that could be lethal. Small dogs are especially vulnerable.

3. Human Food

Chocolate, avocadoes, onions, tomatoes, grapes, macadamia nuts… the list goes on. And sometimes, all it takes is a very small amount to cause kidney failure, or even death. As a general rule of thumb, give nothing other than dog food or doggie treats. You’re just going to have to learn to resist those sad brown eyes if you’re going to keep your dog safe. Even foods that you might think are okay can often contain additives that could be lethal.

4. Antifreeze

You might know that antifreeze is poisonous to dogs, and you might be very vigilant about making sure that your car radiator doesn’t leak. But did you know that antifreeze can even be present in that pretty blue stuff that you use to keep your toilet bowl clean? Look, everyone wants a nice clean toilet, but if you’re using a “by the flush” bowl cleaner, make sure that the label tells you it is safe for pets.

House and yard plants are pretty, but they’re not always pet-friendly. Many can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney or liver failure, heart damage, and even death. Some of the more lethal plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, tulips and sago palms.

This can cause stomach upset at best, and death at worst.

Lead can be present in paint, batteries, and some types of flooring. If ingested, your pet could develop neurological and gastrointestinal problems, and could even die.

8. Fertilizer

Virtually all chemical lawn and garden fertilizers can be lethal to pets. Manure is a wonderful fertilizer. Your dog’s breath won’t smell great if he ingests it, but it definitely won’t kill him or even make him all that sick.

9. Rodenticide

[easyazon_infoblock align=”left” cart=”y” cloak=”y” identifier=”B017TZEPOA” locale=”US” localize=”y” nw=”y” nf=”n” tag=”natur0da-20″]I can’t even begin to tell you how dangerous rat and mouse poisons can be to your dog. In rodents, they essentially liquefy the digestive tract, and the rodent dies a horrible death. The same thing could happen to your dog if he ingests rodent poison, or even if he eats a rodent that has died after ingesting the poison.

My take on rodenticides is simply this – don’t use them. There are other ways to get rid of rats and mice, like the [easyazon_link identifier=”B017TZEPOA” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”n” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”y” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”y”] OUTXPRO Ultrasonic Electromagnetic Pest Control Repeller with Nightlight [/easyazon_link]. It works against mice and rats and even insects, by emitting electromagnetic and ultrasound waves that make pests so uncomfortable that they will exit your home and not come back. It ordinarily lists at $39.95, but you can buy it now at Amazon for $17.90. Most of the time, one is all you need, unless you have a very large house. To be on the safe side, you could order three and get free shipping.

If You Suspect Poisoning

If you think that your dog may have been poisoned, you are going to have to act quickly. Time is of the essence. Remain calm. If you think you know what might have caused the poisoning, take it with you to the vet. If the dog has thrown up, collect some of the vomitus so your vet can analyze it.

Of course prevention is always better than a cure, so keep all medications secured, and if you drop a pill, find it before your dog does. Follow all guidelines on products designed to keep your dog free of flea and ticks. Don’t give people food to your dog, but if you absolutely must, ask your vet what human treats are okay for your dog. Make sure chemicals and cleaners are kept secure – and never assume that your dog can’t open a cupboard door.

The Final Word

You don’t want to see how a poisoned dog dies. And even if death isn’t the result, you also don’t want to see how your dog is going to suffer while the vet struggles to save his life if he’s ingested something he shouldn’t have. Recovering from poisoning can take a long time, and often, the dog is never quite the same. So please, dog-proof your house the same way you would child-proof it.

I’ve heard so many people say, “My dog is my child,” and I’ve seen them say it while smiling at the dog as he plays next to a cabinet under the sink that holds abrasive cleansers, bleach, window cleaner, rat poison and just about every other toxic household item you could care to name. Might as well just toss the dog a handful of grapes for good measure.

Okay, I probably didn’t need to add that last bit. But seriously, please, if you love your dog, and I know you do or else you wouldn’t be reading this, take measures to poison-proof your home so that he can be your loving companion for many years to come.

Humane Society: Make hurricane plan with pets in mind

The Humane Society is urging pet owners to keep their pets in mind when finalizing their Hurricane Delta preparedness plans.

“Making a pet disaster preparedness plan is even more essential during the COVID-19 crisis because some services may be limited and families likely need to give extra consideration to their plans to align with social distancing recommendations,” said Diane Robinson, disaster services manager for the Humane Society of the United States. “Even amid the pandemic, it is imperative to heed evacuation orders from local officials and remember: If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.”

The Humane Society says they are assisting in the coordination and funding of evacuating animals who are up for adoption in several Louisiana shelters which are in the path of the hurricane.

Evacuating amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for families with pets, requires planning to ensure health and safety, they say.

If possible, the Humane Society says to identify family members and or friends in a safe location who can provide you and your pets a place to shelter in the event you need to evacuate. Staying with a friend or family member in a safe location is preferable to relying on an emergency shelter during this time because services may be limited and social distancing will likely be harder to maintain.

Have a disaster kit ready in your home at all times. Some items that should be included:

  • Food and water for at least 5 days for each pet. Also bring bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.
  • Medications for at least 5 days and all medical records, including vaccination history. Keep these stored in a waterproof container. You may also consider storing them digitally on a flash drive or online.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags for identification. Microchipping your pet is ideal as collars can be easily removed.
  • Pack a pet first aid kit.
  • Litter box with extra liter and a scoop.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely.
  • Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your animals.
  • Comfort items, which may include a pet bed or a special toy, to reduce stress.
  • Written information about your pets feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian. This information can also be kept digitally.

  • Masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Grooming items
  • Household bleach

Some helpful tips for the safety of your furry family members:

  • If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pet. Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets. Keep in mind that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency sheltering options may be limited. Have a list of hotels and motels that accept pets in a 100-mile radius of your home. Keep in mind that in a catastrophic event, local hotels will fill quickly and may not be available. Make arrangements with friends or relatives in advance to ensure that you and your pets are able to seek shelter in their home, if needed. If housing together is not an option, know the requirements of your kennel or veterinarian's office for pet boarding. And as a last resort, connect with your local animal shelter to determine if they will offer temporary boarding during the time of crisis. They may too be impacted by the disaster and unavailable to house animals.
  • Have a plan in place for when you are out of town or cannot get home to your pet when a disaster strikes. Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give them a spare key. Ensure that they know your pets feeding and medication schedule, and if using a pet sitting service, find out ahead of time if they will be able to help in the event of an emergency.
  • If you stay home, do it safely. If your family and pets must wait out the weather event at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide. Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area. Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification. If you have a room you can designate as a "safe room," put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet's crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape. Listen to the radio periodically and do not come out until you know it's safe.
  • If the electricity goes out. If you're forced to leave your home because you've lost electricity, take your pets with you.

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Make sure your disaster strategy includes a safety plan for your pets

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I should not be allowed to look at the news first thing in the morning. Whatever benefits I’ve derived from a restful sleep seem to be immediately replaced with angst and tension in my shoulders as soon as I look at the morning headlines.

Before I even got out of bed this morning, this was the headline that set the tone for the day:

“Deadly California Wildfires Scorch More Than One Million Acres With No End in Sight.”

Upon reading this, I slammed my phone down on the nightstand and pulled the covers over my head as if this action would somehow mysteriously teleport me into a different reality where wildfires aren’t a thing, and the only pandemic we have to worry about is bad fashion sense.

Alas, my attempt at teleporting was kiboshed because as it turns out, teleporting isn’t a thing.

One of the reasons this headline is so distressing to me is because I know it comes with a dangerous trend of folks leaving their pets behind in times of crisis or natural disasters. To be clear, I don’t believe anyone leaves their pet behind on purpose. But when disaster strikes, many are caught off guard and have to scramble.

The inconvenient fact is, we live in a state where earthquakes, severe heat waves, and wildfires are real annual threats – so there really is no excuse for us not to have a disaster plan that includes a safety plan for our pets.

Not sure where to start? Fear not, dear readers…I’m here to help! Here is a basic list to get your disaster preparedness plan started:

  • Proper Identification. Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average person who finds your pet won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag! Pro tip: Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag.
  • If you evacuate, take your pet. I mean…duh. If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Remember to make plans for ALL your pets during natural disasters, disaster plans for feral or outdoor cats, horses and animals on farms can be lifesavers.
  • Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind because by that time, they have to rush to get to safety. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.
  • Find a safe place to stay ahead of time. Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter or that shelters nearby will be able to accommodate everyone. Before a disaster hits, check the website of your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets. Also be sure to review how they are managing social distancing needs.
  • Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made seeking alternate housing arrangements more complicated. Access to reliable testing is still patchy. That said, if you and the people you hope to shelter with are able to be tested, it may provide some protection in case you need to share a space. You should also try to practice social distancing within the space you’re sharing.

Plan for your pet in case you’re not home. In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.

Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide. If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.

After the disaster, your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.

Vacationing with pets: Helpful tips and pet-friendly resorts to visit

Many hotels will accommodate pets these days, but never assume. Credit: Inn by the Sea

Opting for a road trip instead of air travel this summer because of COVID-19? You might consider inviting your dog, just like John Steinbeck did in 1960 when he drove from Sag Harbor to California with his French poodle, detailing his trip in a classic memoir, ''Travels with Charley.''

Not all pets are as willing to travel as Charley, and you probably know if you already have one of these. Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Cabral of the North Fork Animal Hospital in Southold says that in general, “cats do not like change and are happier in their own households. Even rearranging the furniture can stress them out.” Likewise, dogs who are particularly nervous about car rides might be better off with a pet sitter.

But lots of dogs are content to ride shotgun. For 15 years I included my mini poodle Mila, who suffered from extreme separation anxiety, in my travel plans. “Do whatever you need to do to make your dog as comfortable and safe as possible,” says Cabral. Indeed, packing for Mila and getting her ready to travel often took longer than packing for myself. But these preparations allowed me to enjoy a canine-friendly Vermont beer trail, the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, a windjammer cruise around Bar Harbor with my very best friend. Here is some advice, gleaned from experts and my own experience, to help you vacation with your own pup:

Before departing, check in with your vet to make sure your dog's immunizations are up to date. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/shironosov

Visit the vet: Before departing, check in with your vet to make sure your dog’s immunizations are up to date. Cabral notes that campgrounds require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and it’s also good idea to have one if you are crossing state lines. More good advice from the doctor: Ask for copies of your pet’s medical records if he or she has past or ongoing health issues and get an ample supply of any necessary medications. Inquire about carsickness and anxiety remedies, even if your dog has been fine on shorter rides, just in case. Try out those medications ahead of time to see how they respond.

Consider having a tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted in the scruff of her neck. The procedure is painless, inexpensive, and allows him to be scanned and identified if he is lost and then loses his ID tag. It’s also a good idea to research 24-hour vet clinics along your route and near your destination, just in case.

Pack a doggie bag: Essentials include food, water, bowls, treats, poop bags and leash. Depending on the types of activities you have planned, you might also include Frisbees, balls, and other outdoor toys, towels, dog shampoo, and paw wipes. Cabral suggests bringing comfort objects as well. “A familiar blanket or bed will provide that continuity,” she says. Make sure your dog has a well-fitting collar with a current ID tag and a cellphone number where you can be reached during your travels.

A crate or carrier is also essential. “Dogs need to be trained to travel,” says Gay Snow of Bridgehampton, who has taken Latte, her 11-year-old Havanese across the country several times. “I Ferberized her,” she says, referring to the technique of training babies to self-soothe, popularized by Dr. Richard Ferber. “I put her in the carrier for five minutes, and then gave her a treat. Then I repeated the process, extending the time she spent inside until she had no problem being there for a couple of hours.”

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During road trips, lots of dogs are content to ride shotgun. Credit: Getty Images/dlewis33

Drive safely with Fido: Amtrak only allows pets on select trains, and Greyhound restricts ridership to certified service dogs. In any case, driving is safer when it comes to avoiding COVID-19. Confine your dog to a crate or carrier that’s been anchored to the vehicle with a seat belt, or secure in a doggy car seat. The back seat is safest. If an air bag deploys while your dog is in the front seat, it might cause injury or even death.

It’s OK to let your dog hang his or her head out the window on local rides. But driving on the highway where there’s a lot of debris is another story. “Think of your windshield getting cracked when a pebble flies into it,” says Cabral. Ouch. Stop often for exercise and bathroom breaks. When possible, travel with a friend or family member, so you can take bathroom breaks of your own.

Finally, never leave your pet alone in the car. According to the Humane Society, a car’s interior can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes, when it is 85 degrees outside, even with the windows cracked open. Left to sit even briefly at a high temperature, dogs may suffer irreversible organ damage or death.

Pet-friendly resorts within driving distance of Long Island

Ramey, a foster dog, enjoys a room with a view at Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Credit: Inn by the Sea

There are pet-friendly hotels, and then there are resorts that go the extra mile to make dogs part of the vacation experience:

Ian and Mindy McCormick, owners of Emerald Glen Getaway ( in upstate Morris, about a 3½-hour drive from the city, welcome dog-loving visitors to their 120-acre property from May through September. The spacious grounds near Oneonta allow dog owners and dogs get to know each other while social distancing. “It’s the ideal spot to get away from things and relax without feeling like you are on top of your neighbor,” says Ian. Reserve a cabin, tent, or RV and prepare your food on a grill at the communal “Hound Hub.” Well-behaved dogs can roam off-leash, exploring 4 miles of trails with entries into a creek for cooling off. During downtime, owners relax in hammocks and zero-gravity chairs around the property.

Pampered pooches will enjoy glamping at Firelight Camps ( in upstate Ithaca, where deluxe tents with king-size beds can also house four-legged guests for a $25/dog/night fee. Hike Buttermilk Falls (accessible from Firelight), enjoy the dog-friendly Cayuga trail, which features a dog park and farmers market. Visit some of the dozen pet-friendly Finger Lakes wineries, or have dinner delivered to the glampground from one of Ithaca’s fine dining restaurants, to eat around your private fire pit.

Beach-loving pets and their owners might check out the INNcredible Pet Package offered by the Inn by the Sea ( in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where there is never an extra pet fee. Your dog will be welcomed with an Inn by the Sea dog bowl, a personalized L.L. Bean dog bed, an L.L. Bean dog toy, a nightly selection from the inn’s pet menu, and nightly turndown service including seasonally flavored dog treats. The Inn works in collaboration with the local animal shelter to foster about 45 dogs a year. Guests are welcome to walk and play with the foster dogs, and many guests have fallen in love and adopted a pooch during a stay at the Inn.

The Wilburton Inn (, in Manchester, Vermont, is a historic hilltop estate with 16 dog-friendly rooms and vacation homes ranging from a two-bedroom cottage to a 15-room mansion. The inn is not just dog-friendly, it’s “dog-celebrating,” says owner Melissa Levis, who also owns Jetson, the inn’s “canine concierge.” Along with Jetson, your dog can roam the 30-acre property off-leash, go on supervised strolls through town, and enjoy “doggy and me” massages. Organic dog biscuit are provided by Wagatha’s, a local dog bakery. There is a dog-friendly bridal suite, for couples who want to spend their wedding night with their pet.

Reserve pet-friendly lodgings: Many hotels will accommodate pets these days, but never assume. Inquire when you reserve about rules and restrictions as well as pet fees. Bring a blanket to cover furniture and avoid cleaning charges. Most hotels stipulate that pets not be left alone, and will go as far as evicting you if other guests complain about barking. So plan on doing a lot of picnicking, walking, and dog-friendly sightseeing at local promenades, parks, and beaches.

Many pet owners prefer the convenience of renting a pet-friendly home. Search airbnb to find listings that allow pets. Check each listing’s house rules to see if there is a limit on the number of pets allowed and if there are other restrictions, such as keeping animals off furniture. Always contact the host before booking, to make sure that the listing rules are current.

Owners of high-end properties renting for longer periods may take some convincing, says luxury specialist at Brown Harris Stevens in Bridgehampton. “Owners are more inclined to say yes to a dog if you can truthfully describe it as non-shedding, mature, and well-behaved.” While a standard security deposit is 10 percent, expect to shell out 15 percent to 20 percent in security for a pet-friendly rental.

Consider the great outdoors: Rules about dogs vary at campgrounds and national, state, and local parks. So before settling on a site to pitch your tent or park your RV, make sure your dog will be welcome.

Add a few items to your usual packing list: flea and tick repellent, dog brush or comb for removing burrs and knots, a dog-friendly first aid kit with tools for removing splinters, ticks, and thorns, a towel for cleaning up before bringing your dog back into the tent. Bring extra food for increased activity.

Most campsites require that dogs be leashed at all times, to keep them from chasing squirrels and stealing hamburgers from a neighbor’s barbecue. Obey leash rules on trails. No matter how good your dog is, she or he will surely be tempted to run off at some point if not properly restrained. To keep your dog hydrated during hikes, carry a water bottle and collapsible water bowl. And pack some pet snacks along with granola bars or trail mix for yourself. Carry poop bags and pick up after your dog wherever you go, because dog poop is a pollutant and a source of parasites.

At night, keep your dog safe from nocturnal animals by cozying up together inside your accommodations. Consider buying her a doggy sleeping bag and pad if you expect the weather to be chilly.

Watch the video: 12 Things You Must NEVER Do to Your DOG (May 2021).