Many foods edible by humans are toxic, or even deadly to household pets such as cats and dogs. This includes: chocolate, onions, garlic, avocado, tomatoes (in the case of cats), macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes, and products containing caffeine.
Rat poison throw-packs are also a big no-no; you may think they’re in hard to reach places, but your pet only needs to make their way to one to ingest fatal poison. Only use these and similar products like insecticides if they’re in a place you can guarantee is inaccessible by your pets.
Veterinary Surgeon and owner of The Glen Veterinary Surgery, Jennifer White, cautions parents that anything dangerous for their young children can also be dangerous for their pet.
“Batteries, cleaning fluids, dishwasher powder, small toys – anything that you would be wary of your child putting in their mouth can also be a danger for your pets,” she said. “So anything that you would keep out of reach of your children should also be kept out of reach of your pets.
“I have attended to a dog with a marble stuck in its stomach and in one case a Great Dane that had swallowed a bath mat! Socks are popular; anything stretchy that your dog might swallow can be very dangerous so keep things such as rubber bands, hair elastics and scrunchies off the floor.”
Some hazards are less obvious. Many prescription and over the counter medications can be toxic to animals, including paracetamol. In addition, some medications for one type of pet can be toxic to another, such as certain flea treatments for dogs being toxic to cats.
Fertilisers and anti-freeze are also common household hazards, and should be kept in secured locations where your pets can’t access them.
If you have a pet, it’s worth going over the contents of your home and/or garden and checking for things which could be potential pet hazards, and dealing with them, whether that’s removing them or just making them inaccessible. And of course, weigh up the pros and cons of pet insurance. Find out more about pet insurance here.