The Star-Herald

Safe home, happy pet

One addition to last week’s “Kindness abounds” story on the generosity of local area youth: Just last week, 11-year-old Michaela stopped by the shelter armed with bags of dog and cat food and special treats.

For eight of her 11 years this kind-hearted little girl has forgone her own gifts on her birthdays to have special donations brought into the shelter. All the furry friends at the Central Aroostook Humane Society are very thankful for Michaela’s generosity.

We all love our pets and would never intentionally hurt them.  Household hazards can cause serious harm for domestic animals. Arming yourself with knowledge can help to pet-proof your home both inside and outside. 

Human medications: Just as toddlers need to be protected from your medications, so do your pets. The most common toxins for pets are acetaminophen, antidepressants, aspirin, cold medicines, hydrocodone, ibuprofen and vitamins. All of these can be deadly if swallowed by your pets. Be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills, and keep medicine containers, even tubes of ointment and creams, safely tucked away. If you think your dog or cat has ingested medication, seek veterinary emergency care immediately.

Plants:  Innocent-looking houseplants can be deadly.  The most common potentially toxic plants include lilies, mistletoe, azalea, aloe, amaryllis, carnation, daffodil, ivy and philodendron. Pets may show signs of poisoning by vomiting, lethargy, drooling, diarrhea and loss of appetite. Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, like plant food and fertilizer, can be fatal if swallowed.

Electrical wires and appliances:  Dogs and cats love to chew on things. An electrical injury can burn your pet’s mouth and more severe injuries can result in difficulty breathing, seizures and cardiac arrest. Paper shredders have even been known to injure curious cats and dogs.

Recliner Chairs: These are especially dangerous to puppies and kittens who love to explore. Your little loved ones can be crushed if you sit and recline without knowing they are under the chair. Always check before sitting down on a recliner and let your friends and family know to check first also. 

Laundry and clothing: Because cats are attracted to string, a feline may swallow a sewing needle with thread and get it lodged in its esophagus. Dogs love you and anything that smells like you. Their noses may often lead them to your dirty laundry. Swallowing socks, pantyhose and underwear can create a life-threatening obstruction and a need for surgery. 

The kitchen:  Dangerous foods for dogs include fruit pits, chocolate, candy with toxic sweetener xylitol, caffeine, garlic and onions, macadamia nuts, gum, grapes and raisins. Your trashcan should have a secure lid that your pet cannot remove. Pet parents should also make sure they turn off stovetops or heating plates to avoid injury to curious cats.

We hope your pet can live happily in a safe and loving home. Check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society Facebook page for all the latest news. 

Be responsible: spay and neuter.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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