As much as pet owners try to create a safe environment for our beloved dogs, there’s bound to be blindspot that could pose as a threat to these animals. These lurking dangers that are hidden in plain sight could only be identified by a seasoned dog owner or expert. We spoke to renowned dog behaviourist Chris Onthank to suss out what are some of the common negleneces pet owners have and how we are able to avoid or rectify them.

With over 25 years of experience, Chris is a frequent contributor on the media circuit as an animal behaviorist and pet industry expert. His passion for pets is shared on his blog which is a popular resource for all things dogs: news, trends, info, tips, stories, photos and videos. His articles provide in-depth coverage of dog-related topics including training, health, innovative pet products and general information on how to keep dogs happy, healthy and safe.

Learn What Food Is Dangerous For Your Dog

We all know food may be one of the sources of danger for our pet. Humans sometimes accidentally feed dogs food that contains items that are poisonous to them. Apart from the commonly known such as chocolate, coffee, grapes, garlic and nuts, owners should be careful with avocados and cooked bones. Chris also suggests to take note of food that contains xylitol e.g. sugar free gum and certain peanut butter brands.

Where You Keep Your Medicine And Poison

Humangrade medication is potentially one of the most harmful items to your dog. They should be kept at places that are not accessible to them. Even a closed but unlocked cabinet may proved to be an easy entry for some smarter dogs. Ensure these storage places are either locked or high up.

Try to take your medicine over the sink or in a room with the door closed. Don’t keep pills in your pocket or on a counter, and keep them separate from other pills that may have a strong smell, such as fish oil supplements (which aren’t harmful to pets but might attract your hungry pet to your pill stash). Watch children closely when they take medication to ensure that they don’t drop it or decide to feed it to your dog.

Chemicals that are poison to humans are equally dangerous to dogs. Items such as insecticides, insecticides, rodenticides, cleaning products (bleach, window cleaners, bathroom cleaners, laundry detergents, etc.), fertilizer, antifreeze, de-icers, batteries should all be kept in a locked store room. Make sure your dog does not have access to freshly fertilized plants as they might chew on the leaves.

If you must apply an insecticide to your lawn or garden, look for nontoxic alternatives, such as those with the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis (or “Bt”), and dilute them properly before applying. If you’re using an insecticide that might be toxic, apply it only to areas your pets can’t reach.

Small And Dangerous

When there are children in a household, there’s definitely toys lying around. Parents are pretty instinctive when it comes to toy safety. But they need to make sure toys with removable or small parts are out of reach from the dogs. There is a high chance they may get choked on them. Even small soft toys, socks, underwear, coins are items dog might ingest. String, yarn, rubber bands, dental floss are easy for a dog to swallow and may require surgery if they cause intestinal blockages or strangulation

And The Expert Suggests…

Chris points out that dogs are naturally curious and have a keen sense of smell. It will be easy for them to find and get into things in your house that they shouldn’t have access to. Busy owners who leave their young dogs and dogs alone most of the time may need to ensure they do not get into more mischief.

“Make sure your dog is supervised and gets enough mental stimulation and exercise can really help eliminate many of these issues. To further protect your dogs from the above dangers, use common sense and take the same precautions you would with a child. To the extent possible, keep these things out of their reach.  Try not to have products in your house that could cause them danger.  Whenever possible, use natural cleaners on floors and counters.  Educate yourself on what is good and what can cause potential danger to your dog,” explains Chris.

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, get him to the vet as soon as possible. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.   

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