(PET SAFETY) As pet lovers, we all know by now that chocolate is harmful for dogs and cats, in addition to a long list of other human foods like garlic, onion, grapes, and raisins.

We recently published an article about how palm oil is not only dangerous for animals in the wild, but it’s also found in an increasing number of foods and other products on grocery shelves today.

Photo Credit: via Shutterstock

Another harmful ingredient we’ve recently recognized is the artificial sweetener known as xylitol, often found in chewing gum, desserts, baked goods, and other products. It’s also being found in certain brands of peanut butter that some pet parents may use as a treat for their pets. Be sure to read those labels carefully before purchasing or spreading inside a Kong ® toy or another animal-related incentive.

Risky Rodents

While mice, rats, squirrels, and other rodents aren’t really considered food, they’re still consumed by both cats and dogs in some circumstances. While wildlife removal experts and animal lovers alike frown upon the use of poisons to control these outdoor pests, the practice still occurs.

Since we can’t control what our neighbors and local businesses are implementing to control the rodent population, be sure your pets will not consume this type of prey. There may be enough toxins inside of one of these little critters to make your pet seriously ill, and in some cases they can be deadly if ingested.

Photo Credit: via Shutterstock

Flowers and Houseplants

Before you put that bouquet of fresh-cut flowers into water or hang your new houseplant, be sure to check out this extensive list of plants that are known to be harmful or poisonous to pets. Some that are commonly seen in and around our homes include:

  • Aloe – ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and tremors
  • Azalea (aka rhododendron) – containing grayanotoxin, which can alter muscular skeletal, cardiac, and nerve function
  • Carnation – this popular flower is known to cause mild dermatitis or gastrointestinal distress if ingested
  • Chrysanthemum – digesting “mums” can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis, and a lack of coordination
  • English Ivy – this climbing plant can cause similar symptoms to the previous entry and also leads to abdominal pain
  • Holly – commonly seen at Christmastime, toxins in their berries and leaves often leads to vomiting, diarrhea, and depression
  • Lily – these flowers can be troublesome to humans and other animals, especially cats who experience kidney failure if not treated after ingestion
  • Tulip – the highest level of their toxin tulipitan A and B can be found in their bulbs also leading to diarrhea, vomiting, hypersalivation and depression

While some of these are only mildly toxic, others can cause serious medical conditions or even death. Don’t take a chance when it comes to the health and safety of your pet. Keep flora like these away from your animal, outside of your home, and make sure not plant them around your house either.

Keeping our pets safe, happy, and healthy will ensure they’ll live much longer lives with us. Taking just a few extra precautions and staying aware of possible threats will keep our four-legged friends right where they belong.

— Amber Kingsley, exclusive to Global Animal

Amber Kingsley is a freelance journalist and member of a pet enthusiast/animal lover group in her city of Santa Monica who has donated countless hours supporting her local shelter within operations and outreach.