6 Potentially Harmful Items to Avoid Giving Your Pet

As a responsible pet owner, you work hard to ensure your pet is as healthy as they can be. You give them top-quality natural pet products, set aside time to play and exercise with them, and shower them with love. But what about the hazards of life? You might think that as long as you don’t give your pet harmful foods like chocolate or onions, they’re safe. But did you know that there are many other items in your home that can be dangerous to pets? From household toxins to poisonous plants, here are six items you should keep away from your furry friend:

1) Anything with Stuffing

This includes blankets, toys, and beds. The stuffing in these items can easily get ripped out, which is dangerous for animals. Now, not all pets will destroy their stuffed toys, rip apart their bedding, or dissect blankets, but, if they do, those fluffy innards can be a choking hazard.

Solution: Avoid giving stuffed toys intended for children and look for plush toys with no stuffing specifically made for pets. Fleece blankets are great, easy-to-wash bedding. And when it comes to pet beds, get ones made of memory foam with removable, washable covers.

2) Human Medicines and Vitamins

When our pets are sick or need extra immune-boosting help, it can be tempting to give them human medicines and vitamins. However, you should never do this. From time to time, vets may advise using human medications or vitamins to treat your pet. Still, it’s always best to do so under their expert guidance and supervision. Never go rogue and do it on your own. Also, if your dog accidentally eats one of your vitamins or other medications and is fine, don’t take this as proof they can take them regularly. Some animals will tolerate small doses of human medications or vitamins. However, consistent or higher amounts may be damaging to their system.

Solution: Only give your pets vet-prescribed medications and cat or dog supplements and vitamins. This way, you’ll ensure your pet gets the assistance they need safely and effectively.

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3) Human Snacks and Treats

It can be very tempting to share some of your snacks and treats with your pets, especially when they’re looking as cute as they are begging for a taste. You should absolutely resist this temptation. Some human snacks and treats can be nasty for your pets. The most common human snack you need to keep away from your pet is chocolate or anything with chocolate in or on it. It can cause various unpleasant symptoms in cats and dogs because it contains theobromine. This bitter alkaloid has been found to have potentially toxic effects on animals. 

Another dangerous ingredient hidden in many tasty treats is xylitol. This artificial sweetener is found in many products these days, especially sugar-free varieties. If eaten by pets, it can cause severe issues, including a sudden drop in blood sugar, vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, liver failure, coma, or worse.

Solution: Splurge on some high-quality and natural dog treats or cat treats to give to your furry friend instead. These are better because they’re designed especially for animals and contain safe and healthy ingredients. As a result, your pet will be just as happy, and you’ll know you’re giving them treats they can safely enjoy.

4) Plants and Flowers

This isn’t so much an issue of giving plants and flowers to your pet but, instead, giving them access. That’s because many common household plants and flowers included in bouquets are poisonous to animals. As a result, they can cause issues ranging from mild stomach upset to emergency-vet-visit-level reactions.

Some pets may show no interest in the plants and flowers in your home, but others may have a tendency to chew on greenery or play with the flower petals. This is also a behavior that can develop over time, as pets grow curious and get into trouble regardless of their age. 

Solution: Be mindful when buying live houseplants or freshly cut flowers, so you know if they’re poisonous to pets. If you do buy a plant or flower that can be harmful to animals, pick a location where your pet won’t get into it. If you want to be extra cautious, consider going artificial or finding outdoor, pet-inaccessible spaces to flex your green thumb. 

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5) Products with Essential Oils

Essential oils seem to be all the rage these days, and we’ll admit we’re big fans ourselves. But when you have pets in the home, you need to be super vigilant about what essential oils you’re using and how you’re using them. This is because essential oils are derived from plants, herbs, flowers, and roots. Unfortunately, as we’ve just learned, many common plants and flowers are poisonous to pets. So when you have a super-concentrated form of the plant, they’ll present an even more significant danger to your pet.

Beyond essential oils in their simple bottled form, other products with essential oils are also harmful to animals, ranging from shampoos and soaps to lotions, perfumes, and even household cleaners. One of the most toxic essential oils is tea tree oil, but many are out there. Some natural pet products have begun to use essential oils as well. It’s important to note that not all essential oils are toxic. Some actually have beneficial properties. Do your research before purchasing anything you’re unsure about. If you still have doubts, leave it on the shelf and instead go for a different product.

Solution: Learn more about commonly used essential oils that are toxic to animals and avoid using them in your home. Don’t buy products that contain them, and certainly never put them into a diffuser, as this will circulate the scent and put your pet at risk.

6) Low-Quality Toys

A big issue with the pet industry is that it isn’t as regulated as it could be. With the advent of online marketplaces and easy home delivery, many companies are popping up. This is great for shoppers looking for deals, but it means that pet owners need to be extra careful when buying their pets’ toys. In recent years, many substandard products for pets have been sold as safe and effective. As a result, many pet owners have found their furry loved ones chewing or even swallowing pieces of plastic and being exposed to harmful chemicals used to manufacture cheap pet products.

Solution: Research the toys you’re purchasing for your dog or cat instead of giving in to impulse buys. Look for products made from all-natural materials and use non-toxic ingredients safe for pets. Read reviews, look for expert recommendations, and always check out the company selling the products beforehand. This way, you’ll ensure your pet is getting the best playtime they deserve.

When in Doubt …

This list is not exhaustive and should only be used as a guide to what you might want to avoid. When in doubt, it’s always best to ask your veterinarian or an animal expert for advice on any item that may be questionable. The good news is there are plenty of safe products out there, so you have tons of options. 

Keep these precautions in mind when shopping for your pet or deciding what you’ll share with them, and you’ll do just fine. If the product or item looks unsafe or seems like it could potentially harm your furry friend, use your best judgment and avoid it altogether.

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