5 Household Items that may be Harming Your Pets

Many of us don’t realize the dangers lurking in our own homes! Our pets can be very sensitive to some common household products. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most dangerous items that you may have in your house that could be harming your pets.

1. Essential Oils

Essential oils are never okay for cats. Cats cannot metabolize any essential oils and they should not be consumed by your cat, applied topically, or diffused into the air. For cats, there is no safe amount of dilution. Essential oils will build up in their system since they are unable to metabolize and get rid of them, and this can cause serious health problems. You can read more about essential oils and cats here. If you must diffuse oils in your home with a cat, ensure they are safely in another room. However, even this is not recommended.

Any oils used around or on a dog should be heavily diluted, although some are not safe at any dose. Dogs also have a strong sense of smell and may be irritated by the oils. Essential oils should never be applied topically without being diluted and could cause chemical burns to a dog’s skin if used in too high a concentration.

Never use any essential oils on or near your animal without checking with your regular veterinarian first.

2. Leftover food

Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you also know that onions, some artificial sweeteners (like xylitol), garlic, apricots, chives, leeks, grapefruit, limes, macadamia nuts, oranges, peaches, and rhubarb are toxic to dogs too? So are many other things listed here on the Pet Poison Helpline website. It is always safest to feed your pet a healthy, balanced pet food, rather than scraps off of your plate.

3. Plants

Consuming household plants can lead to an upset stomach and vomiting. Some plants in particular are poisonous to your furry friend, including: tomato plants, geraniums, mint, oregano, all forms of lillies including peace lillies, tulips, camomile, poinsettias, peonies, and mums. Plant fertilizer, bulbs, and mulch can also cause harm to your pet if they have a habit of digging up your garden and ingesting these items.

For a full list of toxic plants, check out this helpful resource.

4. Items in your garage

Many items that are present in your garage, like antifreeze, things that expand like glue or spray foam, engine oil, de-icing salt, batteries, insecticides, tools, and other items can be dangerous to your pet. Small screws and bits of wire or twine can also be harmful if ingested. Animals can also harm themselves on saws or other sharp objects. It is very important to organize these items in locked cabinets or on high shelves if your animal is going to spend any time in your garage or shed.

5. Recreational and prescription drugs

It should go without saying that any medication should be kept out of reach of pets. Even your pet’s own medication should be kept in a safe, pet-proof place until it is time for them to take it.  With the legalization of marijuana in Canada, it is also important to keep recreational drugs away from your pet. THC, a component in cannabis plants, is toxic to pets.

If you ever suspect that your pet has consumed something that it shouldn’t have, please contact your veterinarian immediately.