Safeguarding Your Dog from Poisons in the Home

Protecting your puppy or dog from everyday poisons in the home and garden will be the focus of this article. Along with your veterinarian's phone number, you should have posted in prominent vicinity by the phone the number to a 24 hour emergency pet hospital and the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435). Make sure you know where the pet emergency hospital is before the need arises. Having these numbers available before you need them may save your puppy or dog's life. It is also suggested that you have a doggie emergency kit available consisting of the following: ? Bottle of hydrogen peroxide ? Bulb syringes (medium and large sizes) or large medicine syringe ? Saline eye solution ? Muzzle ? Clean blanket to wrap dog in if necessary ? Assortment of towels ? Portable pet carrier if dog is small ? Rubber gloves Most canines love to explore and sniff out new things. Most puppies and dogs lick things or put items in their mouth before you have a chance to tell them no or direct their attention elsewhere.

Keeping all unsafe items out of a dog's grasp is one way to protect them in your house. Keeping them on a leash helps protect them when away from the house or out walking. Placing cleaners in cabinets or cupboards and gardening supplies in the garage away from the dog is a start on making your home doggie safe. If your dog has access to the garage, make sure all gardening supplies or additives are on shelves or in an area of the garage inaccessible to the dog. Think how you would childproof your home and apply it to the dog. A dog can't climb but he can jump up on tables and grab anything he thinks is edible.

Fumes from paints, fuel oils and acetones are very harmful to animals and can also make humans ill. Keep these items in a well ventilated area and out of reach of dogs and children. Most people don't think of their prescriptions or over the counter medicines as a danger to puppies or dogs. A dropped pill on the floor could cause great harm to the puppy or dog that finds and swallows it. One little pill could cause live failure, depression, seizures or a multitude of medical emergencies.

If you drop a pill or anything on the floor, pick it up. Taking 2 minutes to locate the pill may save the life of your pet. Everyone must know by now that chocolate is harmful to dogs. It isn't that great for humans either but our weight gain (as a side effect of too much chocolate) is not as serious as the effect that chocolate has on dogs. Theobromine is a natural stimulate found in chocolate and affects the heart muscle and central nervous system of dogs. Eating a little chocolate won't hurt your dog but knowing how much is safe is hard to judge.

If you have a small dog even a little chocolate may be fatal. Theobromine may cause increased heart rate, increased urination and excessive panting. This then could lead to seizures, coma and death.

Keep all chocolate candies, cookies and cakes away from puppies and dogs and make sure the goodies are put away in the refrigerator or cabinets when leaving the room. If a dog wants a piece of chocolate, he may jump on the counter or table. Setting out ant and roach baits is dangerous for animals and children. Placing the bait containers inside cabinets and away from little fingers or paws is preferable to placing the containers in an open area.

Any pest control poisons or rodenticides are extremely dangerous to puppies and dogs. The key ingredient in some of these poisons is warfarin which stops the blood from clotting. Ingesting these poisons or a mouse or rat that has ingested these poisons could be fatal to your animal unless medical treatment is sought immediately. Make sure your puppy or dog is in their crate and unable to get near the poison if you do set it out. You could always set the poison in another room and make sure the door is firmly closed.

Before letting your dog have run of the house, please pick up the poison bait and either dispose of it or place it high on a shelf out of the dog's sight. Antifreeze kills many dogs and puppies each year. It is sweet tasting and curious animals seem drawn to it. If an animal drinks the antifreeze and you catch it right away you may be able to get medical attention and save them.

Making sure the containers of antifreeze are tightly sealed and placed out of reach of children and animals is one way to guard against accidental poisoning. Keeping your dog on leash when out walking and away from driveways is another way to prevent your dog from ingesting the antifreeze. Check your garage floor for any antifreeze runoff from the car and clean the garage floor if necessary. Staying alert to this danger and being watchful will help keep your furry friend safe. Before planting that spring garden, do your research and find out which plants are poisonous to dogs.

This information would be available in any library and online. You can also research poisonous houseplants to make sure your home is safe for your four legged companion.

Jim McKiel lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Doris and their pet family members Buddy and Buster. They have devoted their lives to the betterment of pet ownership. For more information, visit Large Breed Family Dogs

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