Keeping your pets safe from household hazards: SPCA advice
Published Monday, March 2, 2020 11:31AM PST Last Updated Tuesday, March 3, 2020 4:27AM PST
The BC SPCA is giving tips on how pet owners can keep their four-legged friends safe from various household hazards, as seen in this BC SPCA handout photo.
VANCOUVER -- As part of pet poison prevention awareness month, the BC SPCA is giving tips on how pet owners can keep their four-legged friends safe from various household hazards.
The animal welfare organization suggests pet-proofing your home as there are a number of hazards that pet owners may not be aware of.
For example, dryer sheets contain corrosive materials that can cause eye, skin and gastrointestinal irritation. Unused dryer sheets are particularly harmful for cats, because they might play with them and develop a rash or become sick.
Flowers can pose a risk if pets ingest the bulbs, which can cause vomiting, seizures and in some cases can even lead to death. Lilies, daffodils and tulips are the most dangerous to ingest, according to the BC SPCA.
Essential oils can also be hazardous to pets, especially cats that enjoy spending time on countertops where they are likely stored. The oils can cause loss of appetite, diarrhea and muscle tremors.
Sugar-free gum often contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs, which can become fatal if ingested. Signs of poisoning include lethargy, loss of muscle coordination and seizures.
Over the counter flea products contain permethrin, an insecticide that can cause life-threatening seizures in cats. Felines may also become exposed to the toxin when they come in contact with recently-treated dogs.
Toxic foods for cats
The BC SPCA suggests feline family members stay away from human food.
"Feeding your cat anything not specifically formulated for cats can affect their digestive system and cause symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite," said Dr. Emilia Gordon, BC SPCA senior manager of animal health, in a news release.
There are a number of household items that are especially toxic to cats that pet owners should be on the look out for. Alcohol, chocolate, citrus oil extracts and caffeinated beverages top the list, which can cause vomiting, muscle tremors, rapid breathing or seizures.
Fat trimmings, raw meat and eggs can pose a risk of salmonella or E. coli. While cats likely won't get into grapes or raisins, it's best to keep these out of reach as they can cause kidney damage.
Marijuana and edibles containing cannabis infused oils can also affect a cat's heart rate and nervous system.
The BC SPCA is also warning about items that cats typically like to get into, including milk and canned tuna intended for humans.
Cats can become lactose intolerant and too much canned tuna can cause additional health problems.
Toxic foods for dogs
Much like their feline counterpart, scraps of human food is not recommended for dogs.
Apple seeds are especially dangerous according to the BC SPCA, as they contain a natural chemical that releases cyanide when digested.
Avocados can cause diarrhea, vomiting and heart congestion while cooked bones can splinter in a dog's mouth, which can be toxic to chew and swallow.
Items like candy, chocolate and gum should be avoided, as they can cause kidney failure and damage to a dog's heart and nervous system.
The BC SPCA lists salmon and trout as the primary fish dog owners should be aware of. Raw fish can be fatal to dogs if it's infected with a certain parasite.
Garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts and mushrooms are also listed as being among the top household hazards for dogs.
Dogs should also not consume lemons, cherries or other pitted fruits.
"Aside from the relatively high sugar content, there are some fruits that might cause your dog to become sick. Some fruits may cause an allergic reaction, vomiting, or even organ failure," said Gordon.
However, there are some fruits dogs can consume in moderation, including bananas, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple and strawberries.
The BC SPCA is asking pet owners to contact a veterinarian if they notice their pet has consumed any of these harmful products.