4th August 2017
There’s a lot of awareness around the need to “baby-proof” your home prior to a new arrival. But when it comes to potential pet perils, many are unaware of how much around the home could cause an unexpected visit to the vet.
Whether it’s those innocent-looking plants, the family’s favourite snack or poorly stored cleaning products, here at Asda Money, we’ve looked into what you can do to make your home safer for your pet. A little planning can save a lot of money by avoiding those unwanted vet bills.
House plants and a lively garden can really help transform the feel of a home, but for pet-owners there are some to be aware of. Unfortunately, for the green-thumbed of you out there, the lists of potentially troublesome plants are quite extensive and vary between pets. Lilies, for example, are highly toxic to cats, but leave dogs unfazed, though daffodils, begonia and rhododendron are dangerous to both. This useful page details which common plants are poisonous to cats and dogs and what you can do if your pet eats one.
Removing pet-toxic plants from your home is the easiest way to ensure your pet stays safe, but as dog-owners will tell you, whilst out on walks they’re likely to end up with all manner of items in their mouths. To help stop this appetite for destruction, it’s recommended to increase the fibre in your dog’s diet, the reasoning being that this extra fibre will reduce their plant curiosities.
You don’t have to own a pet to have experienced one begging at your side during meal-time. However, as fun as it is to throw some leftovers their way, not all foods are suitable for pets, regardless of how much they would like a snack. As well as this, some foods which you may give them as an occasional treat could cause problems if eaten too frequently, such as tuna, which is a popular treat for cats. Though tuna within cat foods is perfectly fine, the “for humans” variety can lead to health issues if it becomes a regular part of their diet.
Chocolate is a big no-no for both cats and dogs, with even small amounts leading to stomach upsets and potential heart issues. Milk, too, shouldn’t be given to cats and dogs as it can cause stomach upsets in larger amounts. Those with dogs should keep their almonds, walnuts and pecans away from their pooches too. Small amounts of cashews and peanuts are fine though, and nuts are unlikely to be an issue when left around cats. When tempted to feed your pet some mealtime leftovers, you should first ensure that your meals don’t include any troublesome ingredients, such as garlic and onion that are common in ‘people meals’, which can cause gastrointestinal problems in pets.
If you’re unsure whether to let your pet have a nibble, it’s always best to avoid doing so, though a quick search online will usually give you the answer you need.
The internet is awash with funny videos of pets sneaking into cupboards and tearing apart bags of rubbish. Even though these cheeky tykes can be the source of countless smiles, this can expose your pet to many potentially dangerous items, and the solution for this could cost just a few pounds. From cupboard locks and sturdier bins to smarter storage locations, keeping pets out of human-only places within your home is much easier than you’d expect.
For those that have been through the baby-proofing process, cupboard locks may already be installed across the home. If not though, they’re cheap to buy and easy to install. Prior to buying them, it's recommended to store potentially problematic items in harder-to-reach cupboards, or within locked storage rooms.
Without a doubt, a rubbish bin that’s been thoroughly investigated by your pet has the potential to cause the most mess in your home. But because just about anything might have been thrown into your bin, this unfortunately also makes it another area of potential danger for your pet. Ensure that the bins across your home come with a lid that prevents easy access – this might not be something which is always in place, but when you leave your pet home alone it could make all the difference.
Even with all of the above measures accounted for, there’s no knowing what your pet will get their teeth into. So, it also pays to know what symptoms your pet may show if it’s exposed to something toxic.
The larger clues to a possible problem with your pet, such as vomiting or diarrhoea, are easy to spot, but the smaller symptoms can be just as dangerous. If your pet seems noticeably less energetic than usual, has difficulty breathing or is producing too much saliva, this could mean they’ve consumed something toxic and now require urgent medical attention.
Should your pet begin displaying symptoms of having eaten something toxic, there’s a chance that this could be due to an uncommon food allergy or intolerance. If you’re sure that there’s nothing in your home or your pets diet which could be causing this, one simple way to find out is through an allergy or intolerance ‘elimination diet’.
Though this sounds extreme, it simply involves removing certain foods from their diet, then slowly re-introducing them and watching how your pet reacts to each. If your pet has displayed mild symptoms which you feel could be due to its diet, speak to your vet who will be able to advise you on how to proceed.
Whilst you can make sure your home is as safe as possible for your pet, you should ensure that your furry friend has pet insurance. This safeguard against further possible pet dangers will provide you with the peace of mind just in case the worst does happen, so that any required procedures won’t leave you out-of-pocket. Here at Asda Money we have a range of pet insurance cover types available. Find out more about Asda Money Pet Insurance provided by Legal & General here. Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.
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