Danger could be hiding in corners and cabinets of your home.  Here are some tips to keep your pet(s) away from these household hazards:

 Medicine: Child-proof does not always mean pet-proof too.  Dogs can easily open bottles by crushing or chewing on them.  Cats can knock down pill containers or organizers from a counter top or table.

Warning signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures or loss of appetite.

Play it safe: Keep prescription and over the counter drugs, including painkillers, cold medication, antidepressants and dietary supplements tucked away in a high cabinet.  Pick up dropped pills immediately-your pet could get sick or even die if they eat them.

Mothballs: A dog or cat can get sick from eating just one mothball, often made with the insecticide paradichlorobenzene.  If it contains the ingredient naphthalene, your pet could die.

Warning signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma or abdominal pain-if you touch your pet’s stomach and she yelps or jumps, you’ll know he has a tummy ache.

Play it safe: Even when mothballs are kept up high with clothing, they are still dangerous since cats can climb.  Instead, store mothballs in a tightly sealed plastic container that pets cannot open.  Also guard your pets from cedar blocks because they contain harmful toxic oils.

Batteries: Corrosives in alkaline batteries-the most common type-could burn a pet’s mouth if he chews the casing.  Button cell batteries used in MP3 players and watches are also made of potentially harmful nickel cadmium and mercury.

Warning signs: Drooling, vomiting, choking or a red, raw tongue.

Play it safe: Batteries are as harmful to the earth as they are to your pets.  Instead of trashing them, find recycling spots at earth911.com/batteries.

Fabric softener sheets: Fresh fabric softener sheets are the most dangerous, but used sheets still contain harmful detergents known as cationics.

Warning signs: Upset stomach, mouth sores, drooling or loss of appetite.

Play it safe: Licking or sniffing fabric softener isn’t a big deal; eating several sheets will harm your furry friend.  Be smart and store fabric softener sheets where pets cannot reach them.

Pennies: All coins are a choking hazard, but pennies are doubly dangerous because some contain zinc which can be harmful to animals.

Warning signs: Dark-colored urine, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or weakness.

Play it safe: Never leave pennies lying around, especially the ones minted after 1982 because they contain over 95% zinc.  Beware of other items that could contain zinc, like bolts and screws on kennels.

Disinfecting cleaning products and bleach: When swallowed, chemicals found in detergents and cleaning products can make dogs and cats sick.  It is even dangerous for pets to lick their paws after walking on a freshly cleaned floor.

Warning signs: Upset stomach, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea or if swallowed, oral burns.

Play it safe: Stash all your cleaning products in a secure cabinet.  Be sure to always follow the cleaning product directions precisely and remember to keep your pet away until the cleaned surface has had time to dry completely.

Rapid relief if your pet ingests something hazardous:

  • Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435)
  • Keep your pet’s stats in an easy to access place that you can find quickly in emergencies: age, weight, breed and gender
  • Know how much was consumed and have the product container or packaging
  • Immediately take your pet to the hospital if he loses consciousness or has difficulty breathing or a seizure.  Find one recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association at healthypet.aahanet.org
  • Know who offers 24 hour emergency service.  Have the phone number on hand in case your vet is unavailable.