There are any number of substances that are hazardous for your dogs and cats. Some are rather obvious, like pesticides, household cleaners and other chemicals, and lawn care treatments. These will cause damage to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. Some of these materials may even cause cancer. In short, you should keep them away from your pets—and yourselves, as well, however possible.
Substances that require special means of disposal, such as at a hazardous waste collection point during certain times of the year in your town should be carefully wrapped and contained. Petroleum oils, batteries, and even old paints, if they contain lead, are extremely toxic and should be handled with caution. To get rid of paint, fill the can with cat litter or sand until it is dried out. Antifreeze fluids are not only poisonous, but they also have a taste that is attractive to animals. It takes a very small amount to kill even a large dog, so dispose of it properly. If possible, have your oil and antifreeze changes done professionally, where they have the wherewithal to safely dispose of these contaminants. Wrap batteries and take them to a drop-off place. Don’t just dump them into the trash, because the acids can leach out into the soil and water.
Don’t forget houseplants. Little Fluffy may look adorable peering out of the petals of an Easter lily, but they are extremely dangerous. In fact, most species of lilies are poisonous and even fatal to your pet. They smell wonderful, but they are toxic if ingested. Also, keep your philodendron from trailing the ground, as a curious cat or dog with the munchies might nibble them and get very sick. Include on the list dracaena and dumb cane (some call it mother-in-law’s tongue, as it can numb the tongue and prevent speech)! Pennyroyal, a pleasant herb, is useful for retarding fleas, but it will abort cats and if your cat ingests enough to abort, it may well prove fatal to her.
Our dogs and cats are as precious to most people and part of the family. Take steps to insure that your beloved pets are not accidentally exposed to poisons. And you should be careful with yourselves, as well. Look for alternatives to commercial chemical cleaners, pesticides and herbicides. You’ll not only do yourselves and your pets a favor, you will give the earth a helping hand as well.
-- Written by Gay Fifer, owner, Parsley Hollow, Inc.
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