Home Safe Home

Is your home this safe and comfortable? When we first bring our pets home we're so careful to puppy- and kitty-proof the house just like we would for a new baby. There are no cords hanging loose, tiny objects are picked up off the floor and nothing is left open on the counter.

But how about now, months or years after they're become part of the family? Are we as protective and concerned about our dogs' and cats' safety as we were when they were little? I think now is a great time to review what our pets should be protected from at all times.

The Kitchen:
* Coffee grounds, grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, tea, macadamia buts, any type of alcohol, fatty foods, avocado, garlic, gum, candy, breath mints
* Cleaning products
* Human medications

The Bathroom:
* Soap, cleansers and other personal hygiene toiletries

The Garage:
* Insecticides, pesticides, herbicides
* Gasoline and antifreeze
* Paints and solvents

The Bedroom:
* Mothballs
* Potpourri, liquid or dry

The garden:
* Lilies - heart problems, kidney damage in cats
* Rhubarb and shamrock leaves - kidney failure
* Sago palms - liver damage
* Tulip and narcissus bulbs - heart abnormalities
* Azalea and rhododendron - coma and death from cardiovascular collapse
* Amaryllis - vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anorexia and tremors
* Chrysanthemum - gastrointestinal upset, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea
* Fertilizer

The easiest way to prevent your pet from ingesting many of these products is to put them up high or behind lock and key. The best additions to our kitchen cabinets were child-proof latches. Cayenne is forever trying to get them open, but now she stays safe and occupied!

If you have outdoor pets, clean up gas and antifreeze leaks from the driveway and garage floor. Even one tongue-full can be lethal.

Keep a lid on trash cans, the toilet and food containers. Any of these can contain things potentially harmful to pets. (Think cleaners, sharp objects and tummy-upsetting people treats.)

Remember that our four-legged friends are very curious, so it pays to keep an eye on their environment. Keep cords, aerosol sprays, batteries, glue and all fragile knick-knacks out of their way.

I can't imagine life without our three girls, so I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. I'm sure it's the same way around your house, too, so do a double check of their safety this weekend - make sure your home is an inviting place for all members of the family.

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