Have you ever wondered if your house is a safe environment for your dog? Items such as knives, scissors, and other sharp utensils come to mind when thinking of household dangers right away, but there may be other things lurking that could hurt your dog that you do not know about. Do all dog parents recognize a household hazard in such seemingly innocuous products as fertilizers, medicine, and even some species of flowers? Let's take a closer look at our list of most common household dangers and learn how to properly dog-proof our homes.
The 10 Most Common Household Dangers for Your Dog
#1: Fabric Softener
Fabric softeners contain a hazardous amount of detergent for your dog. Dry clothes tend to fall off drying racks or create piles of soft, alluring pillows in laundry baskets, which attract a curious dog's attention. If dogs play with the clean clothing items long enough, the detergent can injure their mucus membranes and cause irritation in the skin and eyes. Keeping your dry clothes in a secluded area, away from your dog's access, will minimize the chances of fabric softener poisoning.
#2: Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets work their magic on clothes by endowing them with a fresh fragrance, but their chemical composition is highly toxic for dogs. Akin to clothes washed with fabric softener, ensure that your canine does not ingest or chew on any dryer sheets.
You might come across an Internet tip that suggests rubbing dryer sheets on the dog's coat to remove excess hair. We strongly urge you to refrain from such terrible practices! Aside from getting a rash on his skin, your dog will lick the body parts wiped with dryer sheets and unconsciously ingest poisonous substances.
#3: Harsh Cleaning Chemicals
As dog parents, we believe that every surface in our home must be clean in order to maintain a human-friendly sterile environment. In this process, we break out all the cleaning supplies available to us to keep the house spotless. But a spotless home is not always synonymous with a healthy environment for canines. Your dog can ingest, inhale, or lick these poisonous chemicals and invite unwanted health hazards into his body. For example, bleach products are notorious for causing drooling, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, and respiratory tract irritation if swallowed or inhaled in high concentrations.
To avoid chemical poisoning, keep your canine away from cleaning products or, better yet, switch to cleaning products made of organic, non-poisonous materials. Always keep the poison control hotline number close by in case of an accident and call right away! https://www.poison.org/ 1-800-222-1222
#4: Antifreeze, Herbicides, and Insecticides
Numerous substances routinely stored in the garage can be hazardous or even fatal to your dog. Ethylene glycol, a compound found in antifreeze and coolants, is enough to put your canine's life in danger, even in small amounts. The smell of some of these chemicals is sweet and therefore entices an interaction. Other substances, such as insecticides, plant/lawn fertilizers, and weed killers, cause digestive issues and rashes when ingested or inhaled. Ensure that your dog stays away from chemically-treated grassy areas for the manufacturer's recommended time and that the antifreeze sits on an inaccessible shelf or is housed in an outside building locked up, so no access is available.
Out of all the poisonous compounds found in cleaning products and pest repellents, Borax undoubtedly belongs at the top of the list of worsts. This naturally-occurring mineral works wonders when fighting against insalubrious bacteria and pests, which is why we can find Borax in numerous household items, such as cleaners, fresheners, detergents, stain removers, and soap.
The toxicity of Borax is high enough to affect not only canines but humans as well - a good reason for some shoppers to second-guess purchasing products containing this compound. Borax ingestion can lead to abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, and even seizures, whereas at a skin level, it manifests itself through irritation and rashes. Lucky for your dog and your family, the range of non-Borax products is large enough to facilitate the choice of health-friendlier products! Want to test for Borax in your dog? Do a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis test, and you will see if washing your dog's bowls with Dawn has allowed Borax to build up in their bodies.
Most artificial fertilizers carry numerous health hazards for dogs due to their chemical composition. Various compounds, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, zinc, and potassium, can cause poisoning in high quantities. Your dog may come into contact with fertilizers when running around the lawn, so keep him away from the treated areas until deemed safe by the manufacturer. Be sure to inspect the list of compounds included in the fertilizer to prevent poisoning. If you're looking for a safer alternative, you can always research all-natural, organic fertilizers or create your very own pet-friendly fertilizer in a compost bin.
#7: De-Icing Salt
The winter cold turns many of our roads, alleys, and pathways into natural skating rings, increasing the chances of injury from slipping and falling. If you're considering using de-icing salt to remove this hazard from your own yard, do it with caution since de-icing salt can get stuck between your dog's paws and cause rashes or gastrointestinal discomforts when ingested. The same ethylene glycol used in antifreeze and coolants is also present in de-icing salt, so treat it with caution. Thankfully, numerous manufacturers offer pet-friendly de-icing products to protect your dog during the cold winter months.
#8: Lilies, Hydrangeas, and Ferns
Plant lovers will be disappointed to hear that some of their precious plants do not get along with dogs when in too close of proximity. Hydrangeas, for example, contain cyanogenic glycosides, chemical compounds that release hydrogen cyanide when chewed or digested and cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Certain lily species, such as the Calla lily, are riddled with alkaloids that attack red blood cells and lead to organ failure. The asparagus fern species as well are poisonous enough to provoke vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain in canines.
Although letting go of plants for a canine's safety cannot be easy, fortunately, plant lovers can choose replacements from an impressive list of alternatives. Most of the succulents, as well as numerous lily and fern species, are non-toxic for dogs and can brighten up your home while keeping your canine companion safe.
Some flowers hide serious health hazards to your dog even after they've wilted. The mixture of dried petals that we call potpourri is an enticing source of fragrance for us, but they look like a potential snack for our dogs. An inquisitive canine might knock your potpourri over and try to snack on the petals. In such instances, it is imperative that you take your dog to the vet because the poisonous compounds found in these petals (e.g., essential oils) are harmful to the canine throat and internal organs. So be sure to place your potpourri bowls somewhere that your dog's curiosity will never reach!
#10: High-strength Glue
From regular house items to your children's favorite toys, there's nothing that diisocyanate glue, or high-strength glue, can't fix. However, as good as high-strength glue is at fixing broken things, when left in an accessible place, it becomes a ticking time bomb for your canine. Once ingested, high-strength glue hardens, thus creating obstructions in your dog's stomach, which, unfortunately, frequently require surgery for removal. Just remember to put the tube of glue away when finished or, better yet, employ duct tape when possible.
A random pill mistakenly dropped and left on the ground can result in an emergency trip to the vet for your canine, if it sniffs it out and ingests it. All types of medication, including over-the-counter medications, hide unknown medical hazards that can put your dog's life in jeopardy. For reference, the medications that are known to pose a high degree of risk vary from anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) and diet pills to antihistamines, antidepressants, and prescription drugs. Therefore, always keep your dog away from the medicine cabinet!
A Parting Reminder
Every corner of your home can hide a severe health hazard for dogs, and it's your responsibility as a dog parent to keep your canine friend safe from household dangers. We hope that this blog will help you reorganize your home in a way that will ensure your dog's health and safety. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us or check out our blog!