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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  Dangers Abound
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Monday, November 7,2022

Dangers Abound

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  
Having a pet is a lot like having an active, curious toddler. Look away for a moment, and they are into something they shouldn’t be. Our pets’ lives are reliant on us for shelter, good food, clean water, attention, love and safety.

A bored, unstimulated pet looks for trouble. That might be shredding one of their stuffed toys, your pillow or sofa while you’re out. Ingested stuffing can cause an obstruction that requires surgical removal and affects your wallet in a most unpleasant way. Other common household items that can wreak havoc and should be kept away from pets include:

Batteries        Dental floss        Paper clips
Buttons         Jewelry               Plastic bags/wrap
Coins            Razors               Thread, yarn, needles
Cotton           Rubber bands     Trash

Walk your dog daily, so they can socialize and enjoy the sights, sounds and scents outside the walls of their home and familiar yard. Oh, you say you have a fenced yard and a doggy door? Not a fan. An unsupervised pet can fall into a pool or pond, be taken by unsavory characters and sold, or worse. You may believe that your pet goes out, does their business, and comes right back in. They may not be alone. Imagine coming home to find an opossum, raccoon, rat, squirrel, snake or feral cat inside. Surprise!

Stay vigilant while you walk your dog, even when in your own yard. Do you know if the lawn was recently sprayed with pesticide? Lurking outside, in Florida’s lush tropical oasis with invasive bufo toads, snakes and OAP (other animals’ poop) are toxic plants, including:

 Aloe                    Mother-in-law’s tongue
Amaryllis              Nightshades
Caladium              Oleander
Corn plants            Palm seeds/pods
Cycads                  Philodendron
Dracaena               Pothos
Dieffenbachia         Schefflera
English ivy             Split-leaf philodendron
Golden pothos       Tulips
Lilies (almost all)   Water hemlock
Milkweed              Yew

Speaking of bufo toads, if your dog does come in contact with one: DO NOT flush their mouth with water. That spreads the toxin. Stay calm and gently wipe their mouth out with a clean dry washcloth or two. Call your vet. Monitor your pet’s behavior.

During a pre-adoption home visit, we verify medications, pesticides and cleaning products are safely stowed away. These can be fatal to your pets:

Acetaminophen            Disinfectant
Aspirin                        Fabric softener
Bleach                        Fertilizer
Cancer-related drugs    Flea and tick products
Cold/flu remedies         Ibuprofen
Detergent                    Oils (cooking, essential, etc.)
Diet pills                     Tobacco/other smoke-ables

As we prepare for the holiday season, many of us will cook up festivities, entertain and host friends and family. Tell guests your pets are on special diets, and you need their help by NOT feeding them people food. Instead they can play fetch or go for a walk. Enjoy Thanksgiving, but keep the turkey, stuffing, gravy, bones, ham and sweets away from your pet. Be aware. Trash cans overflow, and delicious aromas emanate from tempting hot containers. Christmas decorations are lovely, but candy, tinsel, poinsettias, holiday lights and trees can be dangerous for pets. A week later is New Year’s with more holiday foods, fireworks (don’t get me started), balloons, confetti, and noisemakers. Make sure your dog always wears a snug buckle collar with ID.

Just because “it” never happened is no guarantee that “it” can’t happen! Always err on the side of caution. Your beloved pet’s life depends on it. 

Photo by: Tina Valant
Eight year old cockapoo Rosie loves a good coconut; BUT small palm seeds/pods can cause an obstruction if swallowed. Always monitor your pet outdoors.


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