What They Could Bite, Chew, Eat, Swallow

Electrical cords can be fatal and are one of the household hazards pets face
Electrical cords can be fatal and are one of the household hazards pets face

While most of us believe the outdoors is a more harmful environment, we often overlook the household hazards pets face. And this leads to another comment that remains a complete mystery to me. Adults who have young children are very focused on keeping them out of harm’s way. In contrast, though, when it comes to the companion animals in their life, their safety is regarded in a rather different light.

What I’m focusing on here is animal safety issues indoors where there are definitely areas of concern that need attention. Think for a moment about human food waste, medications, indoor plants, and so on. These are just some examples. And, there are quite a few more to consider when we share our home with dogs and cats.

Hazards Inside Your Home

Other hazards facing pets at home are related to destructive chewing. Dogs love to chew (and swallow) all kinds of stuff, especially when they are ignored or left alone for extended periods. In addition, they typically get into mischief when they become bored. They will ingest children’s socks, the filling inside pet beds, small pieces of jewelry, hand soap (deadly)…

Canines are usually highly food-motivated and if anything edible is within reach, they are unlikely to resist the temptation. They will go where their nose leads them. Rip open a packet in a storage shelf and binge, take what’s on a table, surf the kitchen counter, even dip into the waste food bin. It may smell appetizing but it could be very toxic, for example, chocolate.

Felines are naturally curious and find weird hiding places they frequently get stuck in. Many are attracted to feathers and tinsel as well as plants and flowers, and nibbling any part of them must definitely be discouraged. In addition, some cats are extremely adept at opening drawers and cabinets and can also binge on food and treats.

So, as we continue to the next part of this article, you’ll see tips on what to be aware of and how to act. Because our four-legged companions don’t realize the consequences, it is up to us to prevent all types of indoor-related animal safety issues.  Especially when they are unaccompanied. 

Watch Out, Take Action

Chew, rip open and possibly ingest: this behavior can cause intestinal obstruction. If whatever it is cannot be removed by induced vomiting or elimination via the rear end, surgery may be necessary.

  • discard all soft, stuffed toys that have been ripped open
  • throw away all rubber, plastic and bone items that have had bits chewed off
  • remove all bedding that has been split open leaving the stuffing exposed
  • put away toys with feathers and tinsel after supervised use 

A seasonal note: Given the chance, some cats will play havoc with Christmas trees and decorations, so be prepared!

Chew: electrical cords. They can cause a fatal electrical shock.

  • wrap the cord with tape or aluminum foil to discourage your pet it if has shown a tendency towards this type of behavior

Eat: indoor plants and flowers in a vase. Cats seem to be attracted to them but beware as some are toxic.

  • put them in an area of the home where your kitty doesn’t have access

To Sum Up

Both indoors and outdoors, we are responsible for our pets’ wellbeing. And with the examples I just laid out, it just makes good sense to expect the unexpected!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

If you’re concerned about your pet’s reaction to a specific incident, here are the American Red Cross norms for temperature, pulse and respiration: