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10 Common Household Items That May Be Dangerous for Your Pet

Chocolate, household cleaners, and detergents: You know to keep the obvious things out of reach. But according to the non-profit group Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW), some of the most common choking hazards and health risks are right under Fido's nose. When you pet-proof your household, remember these often-missed items.


1. Odd and ends

You know that drawer that contains all of those "odd and ends" like rubber bands, paper clips, pins, needles, and string? Pets love to chew, nibble, and even consume these teeny-tiny items. Make sure you keep those items in a secure cabinet that is out of reach and never bits them lying around. Think beyond where they accumulate: they can be tassels on your curtains or buttons on your decorative throw pillows. Remember that string and rubber bands can get lodged in your pet's digestive tract or wrapped around internal organs, while sharp objects like paper clips and needles can puncture your pet.


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2. Hair Accessories

Ribbons, elastics, and decorative barrettes might make your 'do look fantastic, but these household items can be a choking hazard to your pet. If the animal is able to pass it through its digestive system, that trendy hair clip could cause your pet serious pain and even be life threatening.

Photography by: Seth Smoot

3. Bath and Shower Supplies

You already know to keep shampoo and conditioner bottles up off the bathroom floor, but what else? When razors are left around, your pet runs the risk of getting cut. Dental floss can be a fun string game in your cat's eyes, but can upset their gastrointestinal tract if ingested. And drinking toilet water when recently treated with cleaner is just as bad as drinking the cleaner itself. Leave your bathroom spic-n-span, and don't leave these items in reach of your pet.


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4. Household Plants

Depending on the variety, a pretty plant could be poisonous, even fatal, to your cat or dog. Before choosing a particular flower or fern to include in your home refresh, check out our guide to pet-friendly houseplants in order to be sure that it won't make your cat or dog sick. Some of our favorite varieties include the blushing bromeliad, gerbera daisy, and echeveria succulent.


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5. Children's Toys

Your toddler's plastic building blocks or small soldiers could be a choking hazard for Fido. Toys with removable and moving parts can also be a threat to your pet's health if your animal plays with one and swallows a small piece of it.


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6. Electrical Cords

If your pet likes to chew on cords (and many of them do), it can cause an electric shock or start a fire. Yikes! You can prevent cord chewing by training your puppy not to chew on cords or by getting pet-proof cord protectors that discourage chewing and protect the cords in case your pet decides to do it anyway. If you're leaving the house, unplug as many electrical items as you can as well.

Photography by: Jens Mortensen

7. Medications

Human medications pose a significant risk for your animal family members. Keep your medications in a locked cabinet that your pets can't get into and make sure to put the child-proof lids back onto the medicine bottles.


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8. Leftovers

Did you eat a delicious onion-and-garlic pizza for supper? Great! But don't leave the leftovers sitting out for your pet to "sample" from. Certain types of food that are perfectly safe for us like avocados, grapes, and chocolate, can cause illness and death in our animal loved ones. Cooked bones and gristle counts too. (Sorry, Fido.)


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9. Wrappings

Think: candy wrappers, aluminum foil pieces, cling wrap, and plastic bags. All of these items are choking hazards that should be kept clear off the counter when not in use and diposed of in a waste basket that your pet won't topple over and rummage through in boredom.



10. Gardening Products

The pesticides you spray on your lawn can make your cat or dog sick. Try to find natural and pet-friendly ways to keep bugs away from your vegetable garden; to be extra cautious, keep your pet indoors while you're treating the yard. Fertilizer and mulch can be hazardous if ingested as well.


If your pet ingests one of these items and show signs of distress, call your local veterinarian or a 24-hour emergency hotline such as ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 1-888-426-4435 or the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPPC) at 1-900-680-0000. Having a pet first-aid kit comes in handy too: