Many homeowners like to spruce up their house with fresh paint, needed repairs or a complete makeover for an outdated room. However, homes with pets need to be especially vigilant when the power tools and paint brushes come out. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or hire someone, there are home remodeling hazards for pets that you need to be aware of.
It’s common to find lead paint in homes built before 1978, and many homeowners aren’t aware of it. Lead can be found in linoleum, old putty around windows, or old paint covered over with non-leaded paint, wallpaper or paneling. When lead paint is scraped off or sanded, it turns into dust and contaminates the air. This dust can put pets at risk of lead poisoning when they ingest the dust while grooming. Pets can be exposed to lead by chewing on woodwork or ingesting flakes or chips of paint that have fallen off.
If you aren’t sure whether the existing paint is lead based, testing kits can be found at many home repair stores; it’s recommended to test before beginning any scraping or sanding. If you find lead paint in your home, it’s best to talk to a professional who is knowledgeable about lead-based paints before continuing.
Paints, Stains and Varnishes
Most products for inside use are water based and not as toxic to pets, but they can cause diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog or cat gets a water based product on them, it can be washed off with warm water and dish soap. If you’re dealing with an oil-based product, keep your pet from licking it off and wait for it to dry. When it’s dry, use scissors or clippers to cut it from their coat. Paint thinner, turpentine or mineral spirits should never be used to remove paint, stains or varnishes from your pet’s coat, because they can cause painful chemical burns. Keep pets away from opened cans of these products.
Mice are experts at finding ways into our homes. Cracks, holes and crevices in foundations provide easy access, and if you see one mouse there’s likely more lurking about in the walls, duct work, attics and basements. Some people use rodent poison to get rid of mice and rats, but it poses a grave danger to cats and dogs and shouldn’t be used in a home with pets. There are ways to rid your home of rodents that are safer for your pets and more humane for the mice.
Even though I have cats and dogs, I still get mice inside my house when the weather turns colder. They are usually caught by one of my pets, which is a natural way of controlling vermin. However, I’m a true blue animal lover, which includes mice. So my challenge is finding ways to deal with the mice that won’t harm them.
Live Mouse Traps can be very effective, as long as you check them several times a day to remove caught rodents, freshen the bait (peanut butter on crackers or dry cat food works well), and make sure you purchase a quality trap. You can find traps to catch multiple mice at a time or smaller ones that hold just one or two. The air supply in some traps is limited and if you don’t remove a mouse soon after it’s caught, it can die from asphyxiation. Trapped mice can then be released outside. Mice can find their way back home, so you’ll need to release it at least ½ mile or so away. The best place is in a wooded or bushy area where they can find shelter and isn’t near other homes.
The holiday season is one of joyous celebrations, but along with the merry gatherings and cheery decorations comes increased risk for our beloved pets. As responsible pet owners, we need to be extra vigilant during the holidays to prevent our dogs and cats from being accidentally poisoned or injured. No one wants to spend Christmas at the vet, least of all your pet. Here are some potentially poisonous things to look out for as you decorate your homes and plan your parties.
Imported Snow Globes
What prompted me to write this article was a heartbreaking blog post I read recently, about a family whose cat had broken a snow globe. Some of the liquid got onto the cat’s fur and despite receiving timely medical attention, the kitty didn’t make it. I was surprised to learn that imported snow globes contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which is highly toxic to pets – ingesting just a teaspoon can be fatal for a cat, and a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size).
Snow globes are the #1 bestseller in Christmas décor on Amazon. With so many people displaying them in their homes, I wanted to get the word out about how dangerous snow globes are to pets. They are pretty, but certainly not worth the risk of poisoning a beloved pet. If you have snow globes in your home, please put them where you are 100% certain your pet cannot get to them.
Although Halloween festivities are fun for people of all ages, they are sometimes stressful and dangerous for a dog. Taking some precautions will help keep your dog safe during trick or treating and Halloween gatherings.
Candy and Goodies
No matter how well trained or well behaved your dog is, sometimes temptation can be overpowering for a dog. Given the opportunity, they might give in to the siren call of delicious smelling goodies sitting in easy reach. Eating items like chocolate or wrappings can be particularly dangerous for a dog. They won’t stop at one piece of candy either, if they get into an easily accessible bowl of sweets. A dog may try to eat as much as they can get away with before they get caught.
Keep the treats out of your dog’s reach, and don’t give them little bites of even the harmless treats. That is an open invitation for them to try and get more. Instead, make sure they’ve had a full meal of their own healthy CANIDAE dog food before the festivities begin. Your dog will be less likely to be tempted if their hunger is already sated. Keep a bag of CANIDAE dog treats handy as well, so if they are tempted by the sweets you can substitute something more appropriate for them. Read More »
A fire breaks out in your kitchen and quickly becomes larger than your fire extinguisher can handle. Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and the blare of smoke detectors. You need to get your family out fast – including your pets.
No one is ever fully prepared for the reality of a house fire, but those who are best prepared have an evacuation plan, a go-bag with important documents, and a meeting place for everyone in the house, including pets. These suggestions could help save your pet in case of a house fire.
Proper Pet Identification
Make sure all of your pets are wearing collars and/or have microchips. The sound of a fire alarm is scary and may send a skittish pet into hiding, as will the smell of smoke. Your pet may accidentally end up outside the house, or may bolt out of your grasp in the chaos. Identification will make it easier for him to be returned home if he’s found.
Having a pet identification sticker on your front window is important because it will alert the fire department that there are pets inside the house, if they don’t come out of the house with you. Write the number and type of pet (dogs, cats, etc.) on the sticker.
Leashes and Carriers
Have your leashes and carriers in easy-to-find locations. For most dogs, the leashes should be kept in common areas or near doors so you can quickly attach them before you leave the house.
Your cat carrier should be kept in a safe place, but preferably one that gives the cat constant access rather than anxiety. Many cats fear their carriers and will panic, bolt and become defensive when it comes into sight. Cats that have access to their carriers all the time are less likely to panic when you try to put them inside. If your cat is the anxious type, you may want to leave some heavy gloves near your carrier to protect you from the bites and scratches of a panicked pet.
The Family Plan: Identifying Hiding Spots
What type of plan do you have for the members of your household? It’s a good idea to have someone designated to grab the go-bag, someone responsible for making sure the kids are out of bed, and someone designated to locate the pets and usher them to safety. If there is chaos, will that person know where to look?
Pay attention to the places your pets hide when they’re scared – especially during storms. Many animals have a place where they feel safe. Your dogs and cats are likely to go to those same places, many of which – especially in the case of cats – are small and confined.
With dogs, you may try to train them for emergencies. The Emma Zen Foundation, for example, offers dog safety games you can use to teach your dog how to react in an emergency. You can train him to respond to specific commands or even a smoke detector. Training your dog to go to a specific spot will give you a great starting point when it comes to locating him in a true emergency.
If you for some reason can’t locate your pet, leave a door open when you exit the house. Your pet may run outside by himself.
Have an Emergency Kit on Hand
You should have an emergency kit for both your family and for your pets. In the pet emergency kit, include a few days’ worth of premium quality CANIDAE pet food, bottled water, copies of vaccination records, a first aid kit, an extra leash, and photographs of your pets. Some experts recommend having pictures of your pets alone in case you need to make “missing” flyers later, but also pictures of your pets with your family in case collars and tags are lost and you need a way of proving ownership.
Where Will You Go?
Finally, where will you go once you are out of the house? There will be quite a bit of chaos outside, especially after the police and fire department arrive on the scene. Do you have a pet-friendly neighbor or nearby family member who can take your pets, preferably indoors? Your pets will need a safe, quiet place where they can be kept calm throughout the ordeal.
Over 500,000 pet deaths occur each year during house fires. Taking a few precautionary measures and having a plan in place will help prevent your pet from adding to that number.
Every summer, I “cat sit” for a friend who enjoys dashing off for weekend getaways. Each time she asks me to watch her kitties, she ends by saying, “I know they would be alright, but I feel better knowing someone is checking in on them.” Cats may be solitary creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t miss you when you’re gone. Having someone watch your cats when you go away can give you peace of mind – in more ways than one.
As a lifelong cat owner, I’ve learned to never assume a cat can’t find a way to get herself into a situation she sometimes can’t get out of on her own. I had a cat pull the hose off my dryer, climb through it to the vent on the side of the house, and get stuck. I found her hanging upside down when I got home from work. She was fine, but it scared the daylights out of me.
One of my neutered male cats backed up to an electrical socket and sprayed into it which gave him a shock and produced a steady plume of smoke from the socket. I was assured by the firemen who inspected the socket that everything was alright. However, I was right in calling them because my cat could have started a fire. We can’t control or foresee issues that might arise, and leaving your cat home alone for more than a day could turn out to be a bad decision.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.