Pet Safety Tips and Alerts

Household hazards, toxins, poisonous foods, hot and cold weather safety tips

Keeping our pets safe is a year-round job, with emphasis on holidays and special occasions. Pets chew up and eat things humans never would think of consuming. Sometimes we unknowingly give our pets human foods or medications that are deadly poison.

We love taking our pets with us - across town or on a vacation - but caution is advised: temperature (and humidity) extremes may be dangerous or deadly to our pets.

This page is the safety tip archive covering several sub-categories of pet safety topics...MORE and tips. Got a pet safety tip? Read what others have to say and share your own pet safety tips!

  • 01 of 17

    Veterinary Q & A: Poisonings in Pets

    You Talkin to Me? American Eskimo dog by KellyWoolen on Flickr
    You Talkin to Me? An American Eskimo Dog. by KellyWoolen on Flickr
    Poisons can be eaten, absorbed through the skin, and inhaled. Poisonings can mimic many things. Some poisons act immediately, some take days to appear, potentially making diagnosis difficult. Familiarize yourself with potential signs of poisoning here. As always, if your pet is sick or "not quite normal" please call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • 02 of 17

    Icky (and Poisonous) Things Pets Eat

    To eat or not to eat by Jsome1 on Flickr
    To eat or not to eat. by Jsome1 on Flickr
    This range of this topic is almost endless, as pets have (and will) eat almost anything. Sometimes it is the food we unknowingly give them - either recalled pet food, human foods that are toxic to pets, or medications intended for humans. Other times, they find rat bait, stray strings and socks or other household items that leave us scratching our heads and asking why.

    Learn about foods to avoid, toxins, inedible item ingestion, and other potential pet food safety hazards here.

  • 03 of 17

    8 Common Household Poisons

    Belle: Portrait of a Dog - B Rosen on Flickr
    Belle: Portrait of a Dog. B Rosen on Flickr
    The average home contains many possible poisons for pets and children. Properly storing and locking up hazardous items is the first step to preventing accidental poisonings. An additional thing to remember for pet owners is the ability of many pets to chew through child locking caps and "safe" containers. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some common toxins to be aware of to protect accidental ingestion by your pet (or children).
  • 04 of 17

    10 Pet Poison Prevention Tips

    Hamish the Persian Cat by AmbHaims on Flickr
    Hamish the Persian Cat. © AmbHaims on Flickr
    Keep your pet safe by being aware of these common poisons and toxic foods around your house and yard. Pets are unpredictable - prevention is the key to a safe environment for pets (and children).
    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    What should I do if I suspect a poisoning in my pet?

    Paula the Calico Cat by GenGlo on Flickr
    Paula the Calico Cat. by GenGlo on Flickr
    Poisons can be eaten, absorbed through the skin, and inhaled. Poisonings can mimic many things. Some poisons act immediately, some take days to appear, which can make diagnosis difficult. If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, time is of the essence! Please call your veterinarian immediately to avoid further injury/damage to your pet.
  • 06 of 17

    Reflective collars and coats for pets

    Sophie wearing her reflective collar by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
    Sophie wearing her reflective collar. by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
    Be seen and stay safe. This pet safety tip is good for Halloween and all year-round, especially the dark days of winter.
  • 07 of 17

    Case Report: Joey the going-bald-dog

    Joey the Dog by Richard Young DVM, ABVP
    Joey the Dog. Richard Young DVM, ABVP

    Guest author Richard Young DVM, ABVP shares this interesting case report of Joey, a deaf terrier mix who was losing his hair. It was a very symmetrical pattern of baldness (alopecia) in an otherwise very healthy dog. This is a very interesting case of 'toxicity' resulting in hair loss.

  • 08 of 17
    Barnie and the dryer - by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
    Barnie and the dryer. by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

    Cats are known for wanting to seek out warm and cozy places to curl up in. Unknown to many people, the clothes dryer is one of those places, often ending up in injury or death. I have seen this firsthand in practice, and it is heartbreaking. It is always an unknown mistake by busy people doing laundry. The shock, grief and guilt are horrible.

    I warn people whenever I can about this very real danger. Despite my best efforts, this happened in my house.

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17
    Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) by cliff1066 on Flickr
    Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis). by cliff1066 on Flickr
    Skunks normally mind their own business, but sometimes they are provoked to spray by an unsuspecting curious pet. What do they spray, why do they spray, and how do you get rid of the odor are common questions answered here. Also, is the spray toxic? Find out what you need to do for post-skunk first aid for your pets to be safe.
  • 10 of 17

    Summer Pet Safety Tips

    Keep me cool © wheany on Flickr
    Keep me cool. © wheany on Flickr
    Summertime and the living is easy. A nice thought and often true, but not usually without some foresight and planning where pets are concerned. Humans can change into cooler clothes, get inside for the air conditioned coolness and pack a water bottle to stay hydrated. Pets have a harder time of it when the temperatures soar. Learn about the dangers of summer heat, thunderstorm and fireworks phobias, water safety and more in this summertime safety tip archive.
  • 11 of 17

    Winter Pet Safety Tips

    Spadge in the snow © The Silver Penguin on Flickr
    Spadge in the snow. © The Silver Penguin on Flickr
    Cold weather poses special risks for pets, such as running out of water (frozen over) and increased pain from arthritis. Winter dangers aren't just about the cold temperatures. Learn about other potential hazards seen in winter such as antifreeze and deicer toxicity, and get tips on how to be pet-prepared for winter storms and power outages.
  • 12 of 17
    Nicotina (tobacco) plant by net_efekt on Flickr
    Nicotina (tobacco) plant. © net_efekt on Flickr
    Pets (and children) may find discarded cigarette or cigar butts, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and chewing tobacco and decide to give them a taste test. Especially curious puppies. All of these tobacco products contain nicotine, which can cause illness and even death in fairly small amounts. This quick tips is to alert people of this danger and a reminder to dispose of these products safely away from pets.
    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17
    Barley in the hospital / Sally Haddock DVM
    Barley in the hospital. Sally Haddock DVM
    Barley, a 1 year old male neutered Labrador, was bored. His owner, Sally Haddock DVM and her husband, had gone out to dinner. Not one to be bored for long, Barley entertained himself by chewing on a tube of medication left out on the coffee table.
  • 14 of 17
    Photo © Getty Images/Michael Matisse
    Poison Pills. © Getty Images/Michael Matisse
    The number one medical claim for pet poisonings in 2007 did not result from antifreeze ingestion or a chewing on a household plant. No, by far the number one poisoning type was owner-induced, and classified as "drug reactions" according to a survery about household poisons conducted by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)
  • 15 of 17

    Tongue Tip: Turn off paper shredder auto-run setting

    Micky the Puppy © makuneros on Flickr
    Micky the Puppy. © makuneros on Flickr
    Curious pets and auto-run paper shredding machines are a dangerous mix, and pet tongues getting caught in shredders is a messy emergency. This type of story surfaces every so often in the news and is not an urban legend; pets and small children really do get injured by these machines.
  • 16 of 17

    Puppy Safety Alert: Dangerous Baby Gate

    Gotta Love Puppies -
    Gotta Love Puppies. "Amy Loves Yah" on Flickr
    Puppies and babies - sometimes hard to tell who is harder to keep track of. Having "experienced" both, I'd say puppies! We do our best to plan ahead, think of every possible situation before it happens, and endeavor to keep them safe. However, even in the best of circumstances, accidents can happen.
    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17
    Arizona bark scorpion - credit: Brian Basgen/Wikipedia
    Arizona bark scorpion. Credit: Brian Basgen/Wikipedia
    For many animals in the United States southwest (Arizona), the sting of a scorpion is similar to an insect sting, with pain and swelling at the site. From human reports the pain can be intense (varies with the location of the sting) and numbness may also be experienced.

    Most animals recover without a problem. Some animals, however, will have a more severe reaction, showing signs of neurologic, cardiovascular and pulmonary collapse.