Keep Pets Safe From Household Dangers

Most responsible pet owners are aware that we must keep our cats and dogs from certain dangers in our home. We know that we need to keep them from chewing on electrical cords, from drinking toilet water that contains self-cleaning chemicals, to keep them away from antifreeze and other chemical products, and out from under the recliner. But our homes also present many other dangers to our feline and canine companions that we need to consider and take steps to prevent accidental poisoning or injury, possibly even death.

Paper Shredders

Most paper shredders have an on/off switch and automatic-feed buttons. The motors may become warm with use and cats are known to love warm places, and they will walk on anything. It offers the cat a cozy sleeping spot, and they may get their fur caught in the shredding teeth. There also have been reported cases of dogs getting their tongues caught in the shredder. Turn your paper shredder off when not in use, and never leave the auto-feed button on. Better yet, unplug the paper shredder until you need it.

Cat Litter

Avoid clumping cat litters, especially with kittens. Kittens have died after licking this litter off their paws. It will swell in their intestine, causing an obstruction. Deodorized cat litters have a chemical base. If your dog has the unfortunate habit of dining from the cat box, the litter can poison him. Stick with basic clay litters.

Washers and Dryers

Cats and kittens love warm, enclosed spots. Keep the lid closed on your washing machine when it is not in use, and make sure kittens aren’t snuggled up in the laundry basket before adding the load. When loading the dryer, keep an eye out that Fluffy doesn’t decide to jump in and get all cozy.


Pets can get caught in the wheel spokes whether chairs are in use or not. Store wheel chairs in a room or closet away from pets when not in use.

Wire Crates
Tags and collars can get caught in the bars. Be sure the floor fits properly and covers the bottom of the wire bars. The pet should have a well-fitted collar and the tags should not dangle down too far. If the pet will be left unattended in the crate, remove his collar when you leave and put it back on immediately when you let him out. Don’t put the collar on the top of the crate where he can get to it and chew on it.

Power Strips and Outlets

Put safety covers on any open outlets to keep your pet from licking the outlet or sticking a nail into it.

Home-Made Play Dough

Kids love play dough and pieces may fall off the table onto the floor. Home-made play dough has a high salt content and may cause salt poisoning in pets, which can be fatal.

Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

Nicotine can be fatal to dogs. Keep all cigarettes, pipes and tobacco, chewing tobacco, and all other tobacco products away from pets. Empty ashtrays often.

Plastic Food Wrap

Pets may ingest bits of plastic wrap when licking food residues off of them, and the bits can cause choking or an intestinal obstruction.

Floor Vents

Your pet’s tags or paws can get caught in the vents, pinning them to the hot surface. Cover all vents by wrapping them in layers of net and pushing the vent tightly into the floor. They may still catch a nail, but the net will help protect them burning their paws.


Dogs love to chew rawhide, but small bits may come off and lodge in the throat causing the animal to choke, or create an obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Rawhide chews may also harbor salmonella, infecting the dog and family members, and some unregulated manufacturers may use toxic chemical in the production of rawhide treats.


Even if you don’t use continuous-cleaning products in your toilet, keep the lid closed or the bathroom door shut. Small curious pets may fall in head first and drown

Christmas Ornaments

They may look like toys to your pet. Broken shards of glass can cut your pet’s paws, and any ornament can cause a life-threatening emergency if shards are eaten. Tinsel and ribbon are cat magnets, and can cause intestinal obstructions if your cat ingests them.

Swimming Pools

Don’t allow your dog access to swimming pools without supervision. Most dogs can’t climb ladders. Put stair steps in your pool and train your dog how to get out.


Cats especially (and some dogs) may find your liquid potpourri tasty but it is caustic and will burn the linings of their esophagus or even poison them.


Heavy doors can swing shut quickly on a small puppy or cat and crush them, or injure the paws or tails of larger dogs.

Trash Cans

Dogs love to rummage through the trash can, but there is much kitchen and household waste that can injure your dog or make him ill, even poison him. Seed and pits from apples, apricots, cherries, and plums contain a chemical that can cause cyanide poisoning. Onions and garlic can cause anemia in dogs. Coffee grounds and tea bags contain caffeine and tannin which are toxic to dogs. Cat love string, rubber bands, ribbon, and yarn, which can cause intestinal obstructions if swallowed. Pop bottle lids and bread tags are choking hazards. The edges of food cans and lids removed with a can opener can cause severe cuts to the tongue if they try to lick the rest of the food out, or cut their paws if they step on them. Keep the trash can covered with a tight-fitting lid or keep it under a counter with a child-safe door latch (smart pets can open doors that don’t latch!).


Your children’s’ plastic toys that have small pieces that can be removed, and stuffed toys with eyes that can be chewed off are all potential choking hazards to your pet as well. When buying toys for your pet, be sure they are well made with any parts that can’t come off. When toys start to wear or become chewed, or the stuffing starts to come out, throw them away and replace them.

Avoid tragedy by pet-proofing your home. Treat your dog or cat as if it were a curious child, ready to get into everything. Take steps to protect them from their own inquisitive nature, and have pet-safe toys for them to play with to keep them entertained and out of mischief.

Copyright © 2007, Ian White Acess 2000 Pty Ltd

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