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Environmental Risk to Your Pet

Even the most responsible pet owners can get into a situation. Recently one of our dogs had to have surgery to remove a corn cob from his stomach after he had ingested it while rummaging thru the trash. The same trash can that normally stays locked to prevent such as this. A friend recently went through the same type of scenario, after her weenie dog, snatched a chicken wing from someone's hand and swallowed it whole. Another friend left a bottle of vitamins on the kitchen table, only to return home to find a chewed bottle and missing vitamins. Even vitamins can be an environmental danger to your pet. As you can see, we can never be too careful when our pets are concerned.


Dogs can suffer from allergies too! Just like people, your pet may suffer from red watery eyes, sniffles, hives and itchy skin. They may be allergic to pollen or other air-born contaminants. They may scratch, chew or rub their hair right off, suffer from ear infections. They may have good allergies or reactions to medications. These can all be addressed by your Veterinarian. They may need to be treated with medication, supplements, change in diet or just by removing or avoiding the irritant.


That seemingly safe puddle of water could be a very dangerous hazard to your dog. When water collects and pools, it could contain toxins such as oil, gas, antifreeze, pesticides or herbicides. Puddles can also be a breeding ground for pathogens, that grow bacteria that could cause any number of diseases. Some of these things can cause organ damage. Standing water may grow mosquitos; which may lead to heart-worms or other illnesses. If your dog has waded through stagnant water, a good bath will reduce the chance of illness.

Plant Dangers

Foxtails, the bristly seeds on certain types of grass can become stuck in your dogs' coat, eyes, ears or nose. Pets that spend a lot of time playing and exploring near tall grass are at greater risk. Check your pet regularly and remove any foreign matter you find, to prevent illness or wounds.

Plant fertilizers and herbicides can contain chemicals that are fatal to animals. Chemicals used to treat grassy areas should be avoided, don't allow your dog to play on wet grass. House and garden plants also hold danger for your pet. Always know the name of your plants, do your research to make sure they are safe to be around your pets. A few of the plants that have the potential to be dangerous; Lily of the Valley, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Sago Palms, Ivy, Corn Plants, Rhubarb leaves, Crocus, and many types of mushrooms.

Pools and Pool chemicals are dangerous. Never allow your dog to play around the pool unsupervised. Some of these chemicals are dangerous just from skin contact.


Mold, especially black mold, can cause adverse health effects in your life and your pets. Mold likes dark damp areas, some of the places your dog may like to hide out during a hot summer day to cool down. If you see mold in the area your dog would frequent, this area should be cleaned properly to prevent the mold from re-occurring. Keep your pet out of the area while the mold it is being cleaned away.

Lead-Based Paint

If you live in a home or building that was built before 1978, it could contain lead-based paints. This type of paint has great health risk to you and your pets. There are test kits available to test your home. Symptoms of lead poisoning range from loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, blindness, and abnormal behavior. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to lead poisoning, contact your veterinarian for proper treatment.

House Hold Hazards

Every home contains items and substances that have the potential to be fatal if ingested.

*Foods that are fine for human consumption may not be for your dog. We all know not to feed chocolate to our dogs, but what about coffee grounds, tea, alcohol, salt, garlic, nuts, and any product containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener).

*Garbage cans, as I mentioned before, could contain bones or other food items could become lodged in your dogs' throat or digestive system. Foods that have spoiled may cause food poisoning in your pet.

*Cleaning Products can be dangerous. Always read the label, if it states, "Keep away from pets and small children until dry", follow the directions. Store all cleaning supplies in the original packaging with the lead closed tightly and out of the reach of your pet and small children.

*Medications pose a very high risk of death to your pet. Keep all your medications, even vitamins, out of the reach of pets and children. Never give human medications to your pet unless directed by your Vet.

*Bathroom items

Many items stored in your bathroom are appealing to your dog. They often view them as being toys or find the smells attractive. Dogs may think a small hand soap is a treat. They may think the toothpaste and sunscreen taste great. Don't allow your pet to drink from the toilet. Even Potpourri and bath beads can cause significant health problems for your pet. Mothballs can cause major problems.

*Tobacco products are not good for your pet, and the containers could be swallowed.

*Coins may be swallowed and some even contain lead and zinc.

*Alkaline batteries from remotes or small toys can be hazardous to their health.

*Jewelry could be swallowed easily but may become lodged or perforate your dog's esophagus or digestive tract.

*Screw or Nails from a home repair could also be fatal if swallowed.

Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations could be very bad if chewed or swallowed. Glass ornaments could break and cut your dog. Halloween candy is very bad. String, ribbons or bows could be swallowed causing issues with your pets digestive tract. Strings of Christmas lights can be an electrocution danger, especially if chewed by your dog or tangled around them. Holiday plants and foods can also present a danger to your pet if eaten.

Pets are much like children, even the best caregiver can't watch them 24/7. If you do encounter some of these dangers, take action quickly. Try to remove the items that have the potential for danger ahead of time, seek medical attention when needed and take corrective action when needed. We here at Ruffwood labs, want you to enjoy the presence of your furry friend for a long time.

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