Keeping our pets happy and healthy is always a priority. But unbeknownst to most, your own home is likely a minefield of health risks for those four-legged creatures you love.
We did a little digging and, according to our research, these popular household items could cause your cat or dog to become seriously ill. Take note to avoid them or keep them out of your pets' reach!
Sure, they look pretty arranged on your coffee table, but lilies are basically cat kryptonite. All parts of the flower are considered poisonous--including the flowers, leaves, pollen, and stems--and while it’s not known exactly why this is the case, if ingested, kidney failure can result. Certain types of lilies are also poisonous for dogs and, while not fatal, can make your pup very sick with vomiting and seizures. So always check the variety.
"Lily toxicity is simply heartbreaking, as many cats die, even with aggressive treatment. The leaves and flowers from plants of the lily (Liliaceae) family are highly toxic to cats. All parts of the plant are considered toxic, and only a small amount of the plant is required to cause toxicity,” explained veterinarian Dr. Katrina Warren.
Other poisonous plants for pets include azaleas, daffodils, and tulips.
2. Bread dough
Those Sunday morning bread baking sessions are inspiring, but just don’t be tempted to feed your dog any scraps of dough (or leave it on the bench where they can tuck into it) as the yeast can expand once ingested and result in a twisted stomach. The yeast can also ferment and produce alcohol, which can also result in poisoning. So no matter how sad those begging eyes are, just don’t give in. Cats are also at risk, although less likely since they're such discerning eaters.
3. Underwear and socks
That's right, your underwear drawer is a goldmine of dangerous possibility for your curious pup or cat, with tiny undies and socks some of the most common items extracted from dogs' stomachs, according to Pet Insurance Australia spokeswoman Nadia Crighton. Socks can be lethal though, as these get stuck and wreak havoc on their intestines.
4. Grapes and raisins
These are so easy for a pup to quickly eat if you drop one, so be extra careful as these harmless human snacks can cause kidney failure in dogs. “As a minimum, if your dog ingests anywhere between 10g (2 grapes) to 30g (6 grapes) of grapes or raisins per kilogram in body weight, there is a risk of toxicity,” veterinarian Dr. Elise Vogt tells Dogs Life.
5. Human medication
Seems like a no-brainer and it really should be--keep the medicine cabinet locked because what can help us humans can be lethal for animals. Standard over-the-counter meds such as ibuprofen and paracetamol have the potential to throw your dog or cat's intestinal system into a spin, resulting in kidney failure and potentially death. In fact, this type of poisoning is unfortunately so common, it's one of the top five toxic claims made to Pet Insurance Australia.
A treat (necessity of life) for us but toxic for dogs. That's because the cocoa in chocolate contains the chemical theobromine (a relative of caffeine) that dogs can't metabolize, and this acts as a heart stimulant. The darker, more bitter the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is for your pup.
“Chocolate poisoning is the most common form of claimed toxicity in Australia,” said Crighton. “Baking or compound chocolate seems to be the worst, as it contains more caffeine and theobromine, however even milk chocolate can cause severe toxicity.”
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid breathing.
7. Dental floss
Cats love string, and dental floss is just a very exciting version of that. While it's a fantastic choice for your oral health, floss is not considered to be a safe toy for cats because if ingested, which is easy to do if you've ever watched a cat attack a piece of string, all sorts mischief can take place in their intestines.
8. Electrical and curtain cords
Puppies and cats consider these toys so delightfully fun to play with, but they can lead to an unhappy ending pretty quickly.
"Electrical cords tempt puppies and cats to chew. This can cause burns in the mouth, electrical shock, or death by electrocution," explained Dr. Katrina. "It’s better to keep the cords out of reach by installing baby gates to make rooms off-limits [for puppies], and by moving electrical items and their cords elsewhere."
Same goes for curtain cords.
"Pets may be tempted to grab curtains or play tug with the cords on the window blinds. Some pets have been strangled in these cords, so tie them up out of reach," she adds.
We have cartoons and storybooks to thank for the common misconception that milk is a great option for cats (don't let their love for it fool you) when in reality, it's not. While not life-threatening, many cats and dogs are lactose-intolerant so have trouble ingesting milk, which leads to diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. If you really want to give your pet milk, then opt for the pet-friendly version, which you can pick up at the pet store.
This post was written by Amber Manto. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.