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Is your house a horror for pets? Hidden hazards revealed.


AS a nation of pet lovers we lavish care and attention on our furry friends.

But it turns out that our homes can be minefields for cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs.

(left) thg TV gardener Charlie Dimmock (left) yesterday listed the plants NOT to grow if you have pets. And the risk is not confined to the garden.

th hou Inside and out, there are dozens of household items to keep away from curious wet noses and prying paws...

AROUND THE HOME MONEY Swallowing pennies is the most common cause of zinc toxicosis in dogs. Those minted since 1983 are primarily zinc, and some dogs love to munch coins, often leading to stomach upsets and anaemia. The best treatment is prevention, so keep your change in a jar well out of the dog's reach.

CEDAR AND PINE SHAVINGS The shavings used in pet cages can be dangerous. Fumes from cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine, can harm small mammals like hamsters and gerbils. They give off a toxic form of aromatic hydrocarbons (phenols) and acids that can affect the respiratory tract and liver.

MEDICINES Drugs for human consumption, including painkillers such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals.

Keep containers plus tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills. TIN CANS Empty tins in the bin or recycling box are a danger when cats or small dogs try to lick food residue from the inside, sometimes getting their head caught. To avoid this squeeze the open end of the can closed before disposing. DENTAL FLOSS AND RUBBER BANDS String, yarn, rubber bands and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.

HOUSEHOLD PLANTS Poisonous pot plants include azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lillies, mistletoe and philodedron. ANTIFREEZE Pets die every year after drinking spills and leaks of antifreeze or water coolant. Take care against leaks and mop up any spills. Liquids containing ethylene glycol have a sweet taste that attracts animals but are deadly even in small quantities. One teaspoon can kill a 3kg cat. They appear drunk after swallowing it and go into kidney failure a few days later. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safer for animals in small amounts. TOYS Those with movable parts like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes can pose a choking hazard. Take the same precautions with pets as you would with a small child. Christmas snowglobes often contains ethylene glycol (see antifreeze) so don't let pets chew on them.

MOULD It gives off Volatile Organic Compounds and microscopic spores. If your dog breathes them in it can lead to sneezing and runny nose. Dogs might also suffer swelling due to allergic reactions, dermatitis and ear infections. CABLES Sharptoothed pets such as rabbits can easily nibble through cables. Protect them from electrocution with plastic moulding.

SELF-CLEANING OVENS If you have pet birds be wary of fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and selfcleaning ovens, which can be deadly. Take care around birds with pump and aerosol sprays too.

IN THE CUPBOARD SWEETENERS Xylitol, a sweetener used in sugarless gum, sweets and baked goods, can cause liver damage and a lifethreatening drop in blood sugar in dogs. Even a single piece of sugarfree gum can be fatal for a 4.5kg dog. Low blood sugar can develop within 10 to 15 minutes as well as vomiting and loss of coordination. ONIONS AND GARLIC Eaten in large amounts, onions and garlic can destroy red blood cells and lead to anaemia in dogs. Although the size of the dose determines the level of poisoning, symptoms of a toxic reaction can include lethargy and a reduced appetite.

ALCOHOL Beer and wine aside, alcohol can also be found in desserts and even created in a dog's stomach if it swallows yeast dough. Even small amounts of alcohol, both through drinks and that produced in the stomach, can be life-threatening. CHOCOLATE It's poisonous to dogs, cats and ferrets because of theobromine, a compound in the same family as caffeine. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures. GRAPES Both grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, with vomiting, increased urination and thirst among the potential symptoms. MILK Surprisingly, the majority of cats are lactose-intolerant, and feeding them milk can lead to cramping, gas and diarrhoea.

IN THE GARDEN COCOA MULCH Sold in garden supply stores, it has a chocolate scent that attracts some animals But it contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if swallowed. DE-ICING SALTS Used to melt snow and ice, these are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow.

PESTICIDES Be careful about the chemicals in insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers. These often contain strong toxic compounds that could be fatal to a pet. Make sure any bottles or packages are tightly sealed and safely out of reach, or consider switching to natural, non-toxic, organic alternatives.

PLANTS TO WATCH OUT FOR LILLIES Extremely toxic to cats and any part of the plant can very quickly cause kidney failure and death if swallowed.

RHODODENDRON Dogs, cats, sheep and cattle are at risk. Eating the leaves can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, low blood pressure and coma. In several cases this has caused cardiovascular collapse and death.

DAFFODIL BULBS Dogs and cats are both at risk. Vomiting, diarrhoea and dermatitis can be the consequence of munching on one bulb. Just 15g can be fatal. POINSETTIA Beautiful at Christmas, these red flowers aren't good news for cats and dogs.

Diarrhoea, cramps and delirium are the effects to look out for - even the sap can cause irritation and blindness.

MILKWEED Toxic to both dogs and cats, it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, kidney or liver failure and even death. OLEANDER All parts of the shrub are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. If eaten it can cause diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, muscle tremors and possible death.
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion; Leading articles
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 6, 2015
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