Mops and Mutts

1 decade 7 months 2 days ago February 23, 2006 Feb 23, 2006 Thursday, February 23 2006 Thursday, February 23, 2006 5:33:08 PM CST in News

If that's true, what else is in the house that could send the family pet to the hospital?

Aidan is a curious puppy who can be a handful, but his owner, Kristen Bender, does her best to protect him. 

"He gets into everything, trash cans mostly," she explained. "If I open the cabinets, he'll go in and try to get Tupperware out and try to chew on it."

Dr. Tony Mann of the MU Veterinary School said owners should pet-proof their homes just as they do for children.

"If your house is safe for a toddler, it is safe for your pet," said Mann.

What about household cleaning products?

An e-mail scare beginning as early as 1999 started rumors that the cleaning product, the Swiffer Mop, had a common ingredient in anti-freeze that could kill pets. That ingredient, ethylene glycol, is not in the Swiffer Mop liquid.

Instead, the cleaner uses a similar but FDA-approved ingredient called propylene glycol. Although the Swiffer myth isn't true, there are other household dangers, such as a bottle of anti-freeze in the garage.

In fact, anti-freeze is the third-leading cause of pet poisonings. Snail bait and rat poison rank first and second, respectively.

However, Dr. Mann warns that not all pet problems are toxic to humans. He says pets often swallow objects such as socks, then need a trip to the emergency room.

Human food can even be dangerous. Grapes, raisins, chocolate and onions can be deadly for pets, especially dogs.

So, Dr. Mann, said the best way to protect pets is to watch them carefully.

"If your pet is left unattended, he will get into things, the same way you wouldn't let a baby crawl around on the floor without watching it," he added.

Dr. Mann also said symptoms of pet poisoning can be as simple as a pet acting strange or tired. If you suspect your pet swallowed something harmful, contact your veterinarian immediately.

For a room-by-room explanation of household dangers, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has an interactive website so you can tour a virtual home for specific information.

If you have a Target 8 idea, e-mail the Target 8 team at Target8@komu.com.

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