Sunday, January 18, 2015

The House. Making it a sanctuary for both you and your pet. Household dangers, toxins, and learning from other clients mistakes.

The pups guard the front door to the kitchen
I spent the whole weekend moving into our new kitchen.

Quite exciting to put it lightly. It has been 5 years in the making.

You see we live in a very, very old house. 1811, to be exact, and when you live in a house this old you feel an odd obligation to do right by her. If people haven't mucked her up in over 200 years, then by golly I'm not going to be the first.

So, four years ago we started to lay the 3 foot thick solid stone foundation to support the log cabin that we have dis-assembled, tagged and shipped to our house from the 30 mile away York, Pa. This project has been a labor of stubborn determination. Thankfully and luckily for me, those are my two strongest attributes.

Being 'under construction' with pets is a somewhat arduous task. Keeping the pets away from the construction workers, their tools, their trucks, and keeping the cats out of every nook and cranny whether they be going up or coming down requires multiple eyes in multiple locations all at the same time.

To facilitate safety and minimize the stress we closed off the side of the house that was being worked on. We  kept everything as quiet and consistent as was possible in the rest of the house. Every person coming and going from our house was required to meet and greet the dogs. And if I can't trust you around my dogs then you can't be at my house. It is a simple rule, but it sticks.

Diarrhea, vomiting and intestinal upset are all common sequela with stress. Moving, holidays, guests visiting, loud noises, change in schedule, the list goes on and on. any change in your household can be very stressful to your pet.

Household pet safety is paramount.

To help you keep your pet(s) safe think about your house and try to view it from the perspective of your pet. If you have a small pocket pet like a hamster, ferret, gerbil, etc., then you need to look for really small holes. You see small air leak and poor insulation and they see portal to another dimension. Before you bring home a pet please investigate your home thoroughly for any potential unsafe areas. All items that can be chewed, eaten, swallowed, cause a choking hazard, or even entrapment should be removed.

Here are some of the home hazards that I have seen lately in practice that reminded me of how careful we need to be with our pets..

1. Pocket pets that fall.. Never put your hamster up on anything, they will fall off. They are made of little tiny bones that can break,, and I have seen lots of head trauma in these guys.

2. Puppies tied to a porch. Puppy falls through the rails trying to get off porch. Hangs themselves. AWFUL!

3. Puppy playing around lawnmower. OK, awful again. That story here.

4. Pets that chew everything..electrical cords is very bad, carpet gets lodged in the intestines, pieces of toys get stuck in the gut, the list goes on. If they chew it and you think they chew it see your vet about it.

5. Cats love string. any long linear item that they can chew they swallow. The hairs on their tongue are pointed backwards. When they lick they propel any item that they pick up into their mouth, down their throat, and into their stomach. This can cause an obstruction.

6. Pancreatitis can be caused by ingestion of a large quantity of high fat foods. If you leave a tray of brownies on the counter your pet might try to eat it. High fat and chocolate, the double whammy.

7. Household cleaners. Why pets eat them, chew on the bottles, drink out if the toilet after the cleaner has been dumped in, I don't know? But they will lick the floor you just cleaned, etc., so think about every item you bring into your house.

8.Laundry pods. They are little packages of killer toxin that are almost impossible to treat, remove, and save your pet from. The convenience factor for us housewives is huge. The danger to your pets and kids is even greater. Keep in a tightly sealed inaccessible location. Or go back to old fashioned pouring.

9. Poisons. If it is a poison to any other kind of being, it is probably a poison to your pet. Rat poison is my particular most frequently visited toxin. I cannot express how much I detest this stuff. It can and will kill everyone it meets. A safer rodent eradicator is your cat.

10. Chewing gum. These can contain xylitol,. Toxic to your pets. Don't buy it, don't tempt them.

11. Your kitchen is a veritable cornucopia of concerns. Toxic foods, spices, the list is long and varied.
More information on this here.

Magpie sleeps safe and sound

Here is my list of Kitchen Toxins.

If you care about animals, have experiences to share, or are in need of help yourself please visit us on We are all about empowering pet people so that they can take better care of their pets. It is a free service centered around pets and the people who love them.

If you want to learn more about pet care you can also follow me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice. Or, for fun pet photos follow us on our Facebook page, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville MD.

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