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When it comes to poison proofing a home, lots of people might assume it's only necessary for homes with young children. But homes that have pets, be it a friendly feline or man's best friend, need to be safe as well.

Keeping pets safe from poisons is especially important since many pets spend much time at home alone. While you're at work, for example, a pet likely has free reign over the home, leaving open the possibility of all sorts of unsupervised trouble. To poison-proof your home for pets, consider the following tips.

  • Know your poisonous plants. Plants are a major poison hazard for pets, be it cats or dogs. For dogs, poisonous plants can include azaleas, morning glory, oleander, and even daffodils. For cats, the list includes geraniums, primrose, iris, and marigold. Consult a veterinarian for a complete listing of potentially poisonous plants. If you have any of these plants in your home, be sure they are elevated to a height that a dog cannot reach and away from a anything that a cat could climb onto.
  • Lock all kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Typically, cleaners are kept in the cabinets below the sink in bathrooms and kitchens. A resourceful pet can get into such cabinets if they're not locked. Unfortunately, many cleaning products can be lethal to pets if ingested. Be sure to lock all cabinets where cleaning products are kept.

In addition, whenever you use these products, close the door and keep pets out while doing so. Don't spray any product into the air while a pet is in the room.

  • Keep the toilet lid closed. While it can be comical to imagine a dog drinking from the toilet, it can also be very dangerous. That's because automatic toilet cleaners contain chemicals that can make pets very sick. Always close the toilet lid whenever you've finished using the bathroom.
  • Keep intentional poisons away from pets. Sometimes, homes with pets get unwanted guests. If your home has mice or other rodents, be sure to keep all rodenticides out of a pet's reach. Also, even if you do place a rodenticide in a location your cat or dog can't reach, that doesn't mean they won't necessarily be exposed to it. That's because rodents can transport these poisons to a different location in your home. Before deciding on a rodenticide, first determine if it's worth the risk you're putting your pets at should they be exposed.

The same rules apply to insecticides as well. If you suspect an insecticide could be harmful to your pet, consult your veterinarian.

  • Do not leave batteries lying around. Pets, especially dogs, love to chew on household items. Batteries left out can be very harmful and even lethal to pets if they chew on them. Keep batteries in closed drawers and make sure any batteries that have been discarded are not placed in trash cans that don't have a closeable lid.
  • Keep your garage and driveway clean. A car that leaks fluids is not only bad for your wallet, but can be very harmful to your pet as well. Keep your driveway and garage as clean as possible, and thoroughly and immediately clean up after any leaks. Products such as windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, and motor oil should be stored high on shelves in the garage.
  • Keep lawn products away from pets. Many dogs love to eat lawn fertilizer, oddly enough. Keep bags tightly sealed and stored in a place that's difficult for dogs to get to. In addition, keep dogs away from the yard after herbicides have been applied. Allow time for the herbicides to dry before sending your pet out in the backyard.

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