Pets are curious and inquisitive by nature. This article highlights some of the most risky foods and household contents that pets find incredibly appealing. It also has some tips for reducing their risk and potential exposure to danger.
First we start with food. Its gross, but pets find going through the bin particularly attractive. Develop a strategy to keep you bin locked away and firmly closed. A few of the foods that are dangerous are; chocolate, coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans). They also like to dig up mouldy or spoilt food and compost. Kitchen ingredients including onions, onion powder, fatty foods, salt and sultanas are also appealing. Food wrapping such as string wrappings around rolled roast and absorbent pad found under meat are also often found to cause damage.
In the home, keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of reach. A high cupboard for storage is ideal as pets have such great flexibility and reach. Also toxici are human medicines such as painkillers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills. Some of these, even a small dose, can be very toxic. For example, less than one regular strength paracetamol tablet can be fatal to a cat. With dogs, one regular strength ibuprofen tablet can lead to stomach ulcers.
Alcohol, drugs and tobacco
Pets have been known to drink a wide variety of alcohols. These can range from methanol found in windshield washing solutions to human type alcohol. Many pets also find tobacco products quite attractive and tasty. It depends on the strength, but they all contain varying amounts of nicotine. Even the butts have about 25% of the total nicotine content.
All the poisons designed to kill insects, rats and foliage can be poisonous. Pet friendly ones are a common misnomer. Both dogs and cats need to see a vet if they have eaten ant or roach bait, weed killer, moth balls or rat and snail baits.
Other items in the house which are particularly attractive to dogs and cats include pieces of cloth such as socks, underwear, ribbons, tampons, sanitary pads and condoms. Also watch out for batteries, cleaning products, fertilizers, glow in the dark jewellery, liquid potpourri and silica gel. Silica gel is the small rectangular desiccant found in new purchases such as clothing, shoes and purses. In the shed or laundry be aware that painting products, varnishing products, turpentine, methylated spirits are toxic to pets.
If your pet has eaten something that you are concerned about, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. We would much rather you call and ask rather than have later regrets. Some clues about what they might have eaten, what they were last fed and where they have been will be most helpful to understand the associated risks.