Common household cleaners, antifreeze, chemicals, tobacco products and medications can be fatal to Fido. "Keep all potentially hazardous chemicals, cleaners and medications high up and preferably in locked cabinets to prevent your pet from nosing around," says Dr Donna Spector, a Chicago-based veterinarian. If your pet ingests poison, immediately contact your local veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 888-426-4435.
Not only can people food ruin your pet's waistline and encourage begging behavior, but it can also harm your pet's health. In particular, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions and chocolate can be dangerous to cats and dogs, says Dr Michael Cavanaugh, executive director of the American Animal Hospital Association. It's important to pay attention to what your pet consumes.
"Many common houseplants have toxins that can adversely affect pets," says Dr Cavanaugh. Oleanders, lily of the valley, azaleas, yews, philodendron and peace lily are potentially poisonous for cats and dogs, while both Easter lilies and day lilies can cause serious kidney problems.
Electrical cords pose a serious threat to pets. "If chewed by your pet, [they] can pose a risk for burning or even electrocution," says Dr Spector. If your pet persists in chewing the cords, try taping them to the wall, placing them behind furniture or using a special cord wrap.
It's a good idea to provide pets with several chew toys, so that they will seek out these toys rather than forbidden items when they have the urge to chew. "Most chewing problems occur in the first 20 minutes after you leave your dog alone," says Stacy Allredge, celebrity dog trainer and owner of Who's Walking Who. "If your dog is kept busy and chewing on appropriate items in that time, you're all set!" Allredge recommends toys designed to be filled with dry food, such as Twist 'n Treat, Kong and Buster Cube. If your pet continues to chew things that are off-limits, try using an anti-chew spray such as Bitter Apple.
Some pets (especially puppies) will find a way to get into trouble no matter how many steps you take to safeguard your belongings. In such cases, it is wise to use a crate to keep your pet safe and healthy. "If you can't immediately supervise your dog, put him in his dog crate until he has earned 100 percent of your trust," says Dr Tara Estra, a New York-based veterinarian.
Renowned dog trainer Ty Brown teaches dog owners how to crate-train a puppy. Learn tips and techniques that the professionals use to kennel-train and house-train dogs.
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