All pet owners will think about everything that keeps our pets happy and healthy. The perfect food for their needs, lots of walks and exercise, socialisation, and the best spots to curl up and take a nap in, are all readily available.

But sometimes we don’t realise that there are also plenty of things readily available that might have terrible effects on your pet. 

There are lots of common household hazards that can seriously harm your pet. It’s important to keep in mind anything that can make your pet ill, so here are some common household items that can potentially harm your pet, and how to prevent that 

  • Insecticides and pesticides- it may seem obvious considering that these things are designed to kill, but they can be very toxic to animals should they lick them from your plants or have a sniff of any spills. If any spills in the garden or in the garage, clean it up before your pet might try to, and perhaps keep pets away from fields that have recently been sprayed, until they have a chance to settle. 
  • Batteries- when punctured, lithium batteries leak a caustic substance that can burn your pet’s mouth, oesophagus or stomach. If bits of batteries or button batteries are swallowed, they can cause an obstruction or blockage in their intestines, they can also choke on them. Keep batteries enclosed and away from where your pet can easily find them. 
  • Fertiliser and plant foods- chemical-based plant foods are toxic to animals if ingested, and they are surprisingly easy to lick up from houseplants. If you use fertilisers or plant foods on your plants, make sure that the packaging is sealed after use, and that your pet won’t follow after you, trying to eat it. 
  • Some plants- before buying houseplants or bouquets, check that they are safe for your pets should they chew on any leaves or flowers. There is plenty of advice in terms of which plants are dangerous online, so make sure anything you buy or receive won’t upset your pets’ stomach if chewed on. 
  • Prescription and over the counter medicines- by way of being medication, ingesting too much of them can kill your pet depending on how much is consumed. Keep it away from anywhere that even the nosiest pet might get too curious about, like a cabinet or in a closing box. 
  • Household cleaners- cleaning chemicals are toxic, and should your pet try and chew on any cloths or scrubbing sponges, they can choke or get sick. You can purchase cleaning products that are safer for pets, that don’t matter if they lick crumbs off the coffee table, but still make sure to keep any spills of them cleared up. 
  • Antifreeze- If your pet manages to get into a shed or garage, antifreeze becomes a serious problem. It is sweet, which entices animals to drink it, but it usually contains ethylene glycol, which is massively poisonous. Antifreeze should be kept closed anyway, but especially if it is kept somewhere your pet frequents. 
  • Rat poisons and traps- poisons are obviously dangerous to pets should they consume any, but traps can also be harmful. Food-based traps can entice pets, and get them caught and hurt. Even if you keep rat traps out of the house, be wary of other animals that might live primarily outdoors that could also become trapped. 
  • Razors and sharp utensils- whether it be managing to get into a bathroom cabinet, or knives on the draining board, should your dog or cat come across them they can be seriously harmed. Keep razors out of cupboards that pets can reach, or covered with their safety protectors. When it comes to knives in the kitchen, if your pet jumps onto the counters, make sure that you never leave knives unsupervised, and if you wash them by hand, dry and put them away quickly. 
  • Exposed electrical cords- electrical cords are surprisingly easy to come loose and become exposed sometimes, especially in a high traffic area, or if they are twisted and pulled about too much. These cords can then be dangerous should your pet touch or lick them. Even if they inner wires are not showing, cords can become a danger if your pet catches themselves on them, perhaps pulling a heavy appliance on themselves, or just injuring themselves in a fall. Animals that like to chew on things might also see electrical cables as something great fun to chew on, which is absolutely not good. To keep harm at bay, keep cables behind furniture or cords covered if possible, or simply keep them out of harm’s way. 
  • Any small potential choking hazards- pen lids, hair ties, string, floss, anything could potentially be a choking hazard, so try to keep the floors clean of small debris. If your pet likes to try and eat anything they come across, keep a closer eye on anything on the floor, or on the general expressions your pets make. If they look like they’re eating something that shouldn’t be eaten, stop and check. 
  • Tobacco and cigarette butts- the nicotine in tobacco, and even in the butts, can have horrible effects on smaller animals, that could be poisoned from them. Cigarette butts also could be a choking hazard. Try making sure you use an ash tray or bin to dispose of your cigarettes. 
  • Christmas decorations- any decorations could potentially be dangerous. Decorations that hang from mantlepieces could entice your pet to play with them, and get too close to a fireplace. Any glass or heavy ornaments can easily be knocked from a tree, possibly causing an injury. Think about decorations and any possible ways they can be harmful before putting them up to prevent any accidents happening. 

This may seem worrying that so many day-to-day things can fatally harm your pet, but these things are important to prevent. Injury is usually preventable, and always being cautious about your pets will help that. 

Should accident happen, or any of these dangerous substances be consumed by your pets, always make sure to contact your vet as soon as you notice. If you don’t notice them eating anything, but your pet seems to be poorly, also make sure you contact your vet.