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Reduce Your Dog's Exposure to Chemicals


Accidental exposure to household cleaners, lawn chemicals and other dangerous substances can have tragic results for your dog. Even vigilant owners can be caught unaware, as dogs can innocently ingest chemicals simply by playing on the floor, rolling around in the grass and breathing in the fumes.

Make your home a safe haven for your dog. Take stock of potential hazards and make the necessary adjustments to help keep your faithful friend healthy and safe. However, if your pet has ingested something toxic, immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Pet food

Dog owners had a scare a few years ago when many pet foods were recalled due to life-threatening contaminants. Rest assured that the Southern States Cooperative line of dog foods are made in America with American ingredients. Before choosing a specific pet food formula, though, discuss your dog's nutritional needs with your veterinarian.

Clean water is necessary for a healthy dog, but most communities' tap water contains chemicals of some sort. Run the water through a filter pitcher, faucet-mounted or reverse osmosis system to reduce the amount of chemicals your dog drinks. 

Medications

Veterinarians intend their prescriptions to help their patients, but the opposite can happen when the pills, liquids or creams aren't used properly. Read and follow the vet's directions before administering any drug to your pup.

Discuss the differences between topical liquid flea treatments, pills and collars with your vet. Administer them in the recommended time frame and use the appropriate dosage for your dog's weight. Check the limitations relative to the animal's last or next bath when using topical treatments that absorb into the skin. Never use a cat treatment on a dog, or vice versa.

Human prescriptions and over-the-counter medications are dangerous to our furry friends, too. Quick as lightning, they can gulp down pills accidentally dropped on the floor, lap up spilled cough syrup or run off with vials snatched off the counter. Store all medications, human or animal, where dogs can't reach them.

Indoor hazards

Commonly used household cleaning products such as detergents, fabric softener, disinfectants and bleach are toxic to dogs. Close the containers completely. Rinse floors thoroughly and don't leave dirty bucket water unattended.

Dogs sometimes get into rodent poisons in baits. Place the baits where they'll catch the critters, but not where the dog can access them. And don't overlook the dangers posed by mothballs, liquid potpourri and tobacco products.

If your dog is allowed on the furniture, consider passing on any optional stain resistant packages the retailer may offer. The same is true when purchasing carpet. The dog will breathe the fumes and absorb the chemicals applied to the furniture and carpet through his paws and skin.

Outdoor hazards

Look no further than the garage, barn or workshop for more hazards. Antifreeze, gasoline, deicing salt, drain cleaners, paint thinner, and pool and hot tub chemicals can cause illness or death if ingested. While humans know chemicals are poisonous, some of them taste good to dogs. If chemicals are kept on your property, lock them up in sturdy, dog-proof containers.

Use lawn and garden products with caution. Read and follow the manufacturers' directions. Apply only the amount needed for the area to be treated. When purchasing granular or liquid herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, note if the product packaging indicates that it's pet friendly. Some products are listed as being safe for pets, so check the label.

If your family hires a professional lawn treatment service, ask what chemicals it uses and how they can affect pets. Read the lawn treatment marker. It will commonly state that animals should be kept off the grass for at least 24 hours.

No matter who applies the lawn treatments, keep your dog indoors during all applications. Remember to put away any pet toys, bowls, tethers and other items that might come into contact with the chemicals. Otherwise, the dog could ingest residue when he eats, drinks or plays outside.

Most wood decks are built with chemically treated lumber, so seal it regularly to limit exposure. Be mindful of the amount of time your dog spends on and under it.


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