Most pet owners have heard about the dangers of pets ingesting chocolate, rodenticides or anti-freeze. But did you know that a number of other regular household products could also pose a risk to your pets’ health? In honor of Pet Poison Prevention Month, we’ve found five potentially poisonous items that aren’t as well-known, as well as some resources for pet owners to learn more about how to keep their pets safe.

1. Dryer Sheets

brown tabby cat in laundry basket
These thin sheets that you throw into your dryer along with your wet clothes may seem harmless enough. But these sheets are coated with chemicals that are dangerous to your pet if ingested. Pets may be attracted to the fresh smell of the laundry sheets, and may try to eat them. According to the ASPCA, ingesting these chemicals could cause “significant signs like drooling, vomiting, oral and esophageal ulcers and fever,” and necessitate a trip to the vet.  Fresh or used, either way, keep them away from Fido and Fluffy.

2. Breath Mints

breath mint in hand
Let’s face it, your pet’s breath can be pretty stinky. It can be tempting to toss him a sweet mint just like the ones we use to freshen our breath. But be careful – some breath mints, gum and other breath-freshening products contain the sweetener xylitol, which is very dangerous to pets if ingested. Xylitol can cause a swift drop in your dog’s blood sugar, leading to lethargy, poor coordination and more serious side effects. Veterinarians recommend that if you think your dog has eaten xylitol, take him to your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately. The toxicity of xylitol for cats is not yet known, as they are less attracted to sweet items like breath mints and gum than their canine friends. Even so, it’s wise to keep these products far away from your pets at all times.

3. Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil (ibuprofen)

pill bottle chewed by dog, pills on floor
Chances are you have a bottle of Tylenol (containing acetaminophen), Advil (containing ibuprofen) or another over-the-counter pain medication in your house to help with everyday aches and pains. In addition to keeping these away from children, it’s also important to keep them out of reach of your inquisitive pets. The small size and sweet outer coatings may appeal to your pet, and cause them to eat them. Even a small amount of these human-formulated products can be dangerous to your pets, and even lead to kidney failure, so store them far out of their reach. As for treating your pet at home with any of your own over-the-counter pills, always consult your veterinarian first prior to giving your pet any medication.

4. Lilies

black and white cat sitting on windowsill next to vase of stargazer lilies
Cat owners, listen up! Lilies, the beautiful, fragrant flowers especially popular in Spring, are potentially deadly to cats. Acccording to the Pet Poison Helpline, the most dangerous species of lilies are stargazer (pictured), tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, red, Western and wood lilies. Ingestion of a few leaves, petals or even water in the vase by a cat can lead to severe kidney problems. Consider one of these seven pet-safe indoor plants as a replacement. And for cat parents who just love lilies, we recommend sticking with the fake, fabric ones – hey, at least they last year ’round!

5. The TV Remote

small dog sleeping on top of TV remotes
Puppy parents know that puppies LOVE to chew. TV Remotes can be just the right size for a puppy’s jaws, and are often left on couches or elsewhere within a puppy’s reach. In addition to the risk of swallowing bits of plastic that could lead to an intestinal blockage, TV remotes are also powered by batteries, which can pose a big risk for dogs. If a dog or cat bites into the battery itself, corrosive material can leak out and potentially burn the pet’s mouth or skin. Swallowing the battery whole is also extremely dangerous. If you suspect your pet has chewed or ingested a battery, contact your veterinarian right away. And to avoid this emergency, always store remotes, battery-powered toys and other similar items out of the reach of your pet’s curious paws.

For a quick reference guide to identifying which foods, plants or household products could be dangerous to your pet, check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) free mobile app.

Other web resources include:

If you need help keeping your pet away from these items or other “off-limits” areas of your home, talk to your local DogWatch Dealer about our Indoor Boundaries. Our indoor pet fences let you control where your pets roam in the house, and you can use the same collar with both the DogWatch indoor and outdoor fences.

white dog with DogWatch Indoor Boundaries

Photo Credits
Featured Photo by Lottie via Flickr.
1. “cat in basket” by Nesster (CC BY-SA 2.0)
2. “20110314 – Mints” by Rob (CC BY-SA 2.0)
3. “Dog Destruction” by Alan Levine via Flickr.
4. “Cat with Lilies” by Colin Howley (CC BY-ND 2.0)
5. “Ninja sleeping on the remotes” by Christina Spicuzza (CC BY-SA 2.0)