Your pet may be in danger, right in your own house, and you may not even know it! Here’s what to watch out for, courtesy of Good Housekeeping magazine:

  • The first hidden pet danger: Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners. Xylitol is a sweetener frequently used in sugar-free candy, chewing gum, baked goods, and toothpaste and it can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. So, keep your sugar-free treats out of reach!
  • The next danger: Candles! The delicious-smelling candles that melt and become liquid tempt cats and dogs to take a lick. Not only can your pet get badly burned, but many of the ingredients in the hot oil can cause ulcers in Fido’s mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.  
  • Another hidden pet danger: Bottles of medication – even those with childproof lids. Animal poison control expert Dr. Steven Hansen warns that animals can easily chew up pill containers, and die from an overdose of prescription pills.   
  • Also, cats and dogs have been known to gnaw on potted plants – and many of them are toxic. For example, lilies can damage a cat’s kidneys, and dogs can get sick from eating azaleas or rhododendrons.   
  • Also, beware of bottles of glue – especially the polyurethane kind. Dr. Hanson says that dogs view any small bottle as a toy. If they get a mouthful of glue and swallow, it can form a large, rock-hard mass, which has to be surgically removed.
  • Another danger to pets: Onions and garlic – even if it’s just cooked with the meat you decided to share off your plate. Onions and garlic contain sulfur compounds that can cause gastrointestinal distress in pets, and harm their red blood cells. 
  • Also: Keep dogs away from grapes and raisins. Chemicals in the fruit commonly trigger vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure.
  • Finally, don’t scrub your floors with pine oil cleaner. A chemical in the products called “phenol” can cause serious liver damage in cats and it doesn't take much for a kitty to be exposed: All she has to do is lick the wet stuff off her feet.