Pet Proofing Your Home

Image of a woman, her toddler daughter, and their dog.

Your home is a haven and a place of safety for you and for your pet. But, inside every house are poisons, dangers, and hazards that can injure your dog or cat. Here are some helpful tips to help keep your pet safe and out of the emergency room!

According to consultants at PetProTech pet safety products, most pet emergencies result from ingestion of toxins, ingestion of non-digestible materials leading to intestinal blockages, and accidents causing fractures or soft tissue trauma. The ASPCA Poison Control Center urges pet owners to search every room of the home and try to look at it from a toddler's perspective. If the toddler can reach it, so can the new puppy or kitten.

Puppies chew to help explore their world as well as relieve stresses. Remember that puppies will often view anything on the floor as fair game. It is important to pick up potential hazards such as batteries, tobacco products, coins, and many household plants. Although new kittens are not prone to chew like puppies, houseplants, especially in the lily family, can be extremely poisonous to cats. To keep your kittens safe, keep dangerous plants out of reach, or, better yet, outside. For both types of pets, it is extremely important to put away all medications, both yours and theirs. A single acetaminophen caplet can kill an adult cat and many dogs will eagerly over consume the beef flavored pain relieving drugs created for them, leading to potential stomach ulcers, bleeding, or kidney damage.

Trash cans and garbage bags are often irresistible to both dogs and cats. The aroma of foods and other apparently "delicious" items is often too much for even a well trained pet. To the pet, getting into the garbage is its own reward when tasty leftovers and treats can be found. Keep food scraps, especially cooked bones, in a secure container, preferably behind a locked or child-proof door. Simply placing the trash can up on a counter will not always assure safety. Besides making a mess, garbage can raiding can lead to stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, or even obstructions and perforations of the intestinal tract.

During the holidays, many people become soft-hearted and give "just one treat" to the begging pet. Unfortunately, too many treats, or the wrong types, can cause severe stomach upsets and may lead to an emergency visit to the veterinarian. Bones, fatty foods, onions, and alcoholic beverages should not be on your pet's holiday menu. Thanksgiving can be especially difficult and many emergency rooms report higher than normal number of pancreatitis cases and intestinal blockages during this time. Chocolates, especially dark or baking chocolates, should never be given to pets. Even seemingly harmless treats, such as grapes or raisins, have caused deadly kidney damage to dogs. Ask your guests to honor your holiday wish and restrain from giving holiday food to your pet.

Other holiday dangers can include ingestion of mistletoe, holly, or the water from the live Christmas tree. All of these have the potential to make your pet seriously ill. If your cat is very inquisitive, it may be necessary to keep the tree behind a closed door. The tree's decorations are also a potential for causing an emergency visit due to ingestion or lacerations from broken ornaments.

Read the labels of insecticides well to insure that your pets will not be harmed by their use. Place rat, mouse, or ant traps and poisons in locations unlikely to be found by your pet. Pet safety experts say that granular pesticides are much safer than pellet pesticides because the pet is less likely to eat the granules. Anti-freeze is a well-known poison to pets, but other garage items, such as gasoline, oils, and fertilizers can be dangerous as well. Keep these items out of pet's reach and wipe up all spills as they happen.

The number of items in our homes that can hurt a dog or cat are just as numerous as items that can harm a child. Being proactive and preventing the pet from eating the wrong item or getting into a situation that can harm him or her is the best way to avoid injuries. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic or potentially been injured by a household object, contact us immediately. For more ideas on how to pet proof your home, please contact us.

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Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Thanks for the great peace of mind when I bring Oreo in . . . I know he is always getting the most technically advanced treatment that veterinary medicine has to offer! Thanks so much . . . I trust my best friend in your hands! Thanks so much for all that you have done for us!

    You guys are the best pet clinic in the area--really!"
    Steve & "Oreo"
  • "Dr. Gonzales, thanks for making my life easy when it comes to bringing Hershey in to the see you! Although, I think he may have a crush! I am convinced it's a crush . . . or those treats are doggone divine! But how could any four-legged creature resist? In all seriousness, thanks for providing Hershey and me the finest. most complete pet care available . . . with a lot of love. I have seen a lot of vets in the past and your genuine love and care is truly rare."
    Jennifer & "Hershey"
  • "Thanks to the Drs and professional staff at Pets First Veterinary Center. I feel like you all truly love what you do! Every time I come in to see you, both me and my kitten have had such a pleasant experience. Everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable--I'm really impressed! Ever since I moved to San Antonio you have made me feel so welcome to the area and to your family."
    Jack & "Jill"
  • "Thanks Dr. Gonzales for your loving and professional care for our newest family member! We appreciate you and your staffs' genuine concern for all our pets for the past 10 years. We have always felt like we have been treated as part of the Pets First Veterinary Center family. Its so reassuring to know that we don't have to worry when we leave our dog for medical treatment or a boarding stay. Thank you so much!"
    The Johnson Family & "Magic"
  • "I think the world of Dr. Wright. Not only does she and team at Pets First Veterinary Center provide the best veterinary care possible, but also unmatched personal service and of course lots of love! I trust you with my most precious posessions...and refer all my friends and family to Pets First Veterinary Center.

    Thanks so much to all of you!"
    Maya, "Amor & Abrazo"