Get Down on All Fours to Keep Your Pets Safe 

5 min read
May 21, 2023

Take a moment to look at your house and yard from your pet’s perspective. 
Statistics show our pets’ sense of smell to be from 1,000 to 1,000,000 times better than ours, so remove temptations to keep your pets safe. 

Pet Dangers

There are many dangers in a typical household that can be harmful to your pet, including cleaners, loose toys, and even a food bowl

Realize when using liquid or powder to clean floors and countertops, kill bugs or nourish lawns, what you use can be absorbed through your pet’s paw pads. What isn’t, will be ingested when your dog or cat grooms himself! Do your fur kids a favor by using only pet-safe products around your house and yard, and keeping an eye out for these common household dangers.
Seemingly harmless items like pennies could be fatal to a small dog if swallowed.  If you plan to have guests over to the house or apartment, doing a quick sweep for loose items during and after the party could be wise. 

What about push pins, staples or toothpicks dropped on carpet? Once inside your precious pet, punctures and obstructions can occur.   
What to Watch For

Anything within paw’s reach is a potential danger to your dog, and this can include things that seem to be neatly stowed behind cabinet doors and on shelving. If you cohabitate with a kitty cat, you’ll also need to get out a step stool to glance at the top of your refrigerator and on shelves to notice what hazards lurk in higher places, since that’s where felines can also roam.

The following are only a few of the many common items to be cautious of in basic home scenarios: 

  • Electric cords 
  • TV remote controls can look like toys 
  • Stereos can be deafeningly loud to animals’ sensitive hearing 
  • Falling knick knacks, pictures, lamps
  • Sharp coffee table edges 
  • Cords from blinds and draperies can cause choking and entanglement issues 
  • Rug chewing can result in intestinal blockages 
  • Rocking chairs can catch tails and paws 
  • Fireplaces, smokeless logs, sawdust can all cause bowel obstruction, lighter
    fluid poisoning, burns, and smoke inhalation 
  • Heating units/vents, window screens can result in burns and falls
  • Chocolate (can be fatal)
  • Grapes, raisins, currants can cause kidney failure 
  • Xylitol found in sugar-free gum & candy can plummet your dog’s glucose levels 
  • Fatty table scraps 
  • Onions can result in hemolytic anemia 
  • Compost can be toxic 
  • Human Medications 
  • NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve & Motrin for example) 
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 
  • Antidepressants (Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro) 
  • ADD/ADHD Medications (Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta) 
  • Benzodiazepines & Sleep Aids (Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta) 
  • Birth Control (Estrogen, Estradiol, Progesterone) 
  • ACE Inhibitors (Zestril, Altace) \
  • Beta-Blockers (Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg) 
  • Thyroid Hormones (Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid) 
  • Cholesterol-Lowering Agents (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor) 
  • Macadamia Nuts could cause GI problems as well as paralysis \
  • Cleaning Supplies could cause multiple toxicities 
  • Unbaked bread dough & alcohol, both of which can lead to alcohol poisoning

But also watch out for…

  • Stove/Oven can cause burns and pets can turn on knobs and cause fires!   
  • Electric cords & outlets may be enticing to lick, an electrocution hazard, if food has been splashed 
  • Cleaning products 
  • Pantry items, some may be fatal to pets 
  • Knives and sharp tools 
  • Cabinet doors/refrigerator/dishwasher can be hazardous if pets get closed in 


  • Medications are the #1 cause of poisoning in our pets! Prescription & OTC 
    Medical Marijuana (but of course this could be “stashed” elsewhere in the home)  
  • Cleaning products 
  • Falling in or drinking out of toilet containing chemicals 
  • Electric outlets and appliances 
  • Candles 
  • Standing water in tubs or showers which could be a drowning hazard 
  • Dental Floss can be a choking hazard or intestinal blockage 


  • Drapery and blind cords can strangle 
  • Anything that can fall (i.e. knick knacks, pictures, mirrors, television sets, items from shelves)
  • Beds collapsing are dangerous if your pet sleeps underneath 
  • A rug or blanket chewing 
  • Any medications in nightstand could be swallowed if dropped or snatched 
  • Batteries (such as from hearing aids or other appliances)  
  • Getting closed in cabinets/closets, even paws or tails if not entire pet 
  • Children’s toys which could be anywhere in the house could be swallowed
  • Shoelaces, hair ribbons and other such pieces of clothing could be ingested 

Garage & Outdoor Areas 

  • Paints, paint removers, cleaners of all types could be ingested, inhaled, absorbed 
  • Insecticides & fertilizers dangerous if not pet-safe 
  • Car engines, please always tap on in cold months as an animal could be keeping warm near the engine and check behind before you back out! 
  • Barbeques as well as charcoal, lighter fluid, matches and the flame itself 
  • Fences. Is fence tall enough, can your pet dig under, anything close enough to jump on and then over the fence, are boards tight fitting with no sharp edges or nails protruding? Is fence-fighting a concern with a neighbor dog?     
  • Gates. Are they secure with not too large of a gap under or at closure for a pet to squeeze through?  
  • Dog House or Kennel with no sharp edges, well-ventilated, no parasites 
    Pools/Spas/Fountains. drowning is always a concern; fenced off or ALWAYS   
    supervise pets! What about chlorine and other chemicals? If a pet gets into or drinks water containing chemicals, either could be very bad news. 
  • Sprinkler systems and outdoor electrical wiring 
  • Hot concrete and other surfaces 
  • Trash cans have secured lids so no danger of ingesting contents 
  • Wildlife. Do you have pet-friendly deterrents to keep them away? 

Stay Aware And Protect Your Pet

When you have a pet, you have a furry toddler for life and one whom you have the privilege of protecting.  While this is not a complete list, it is a great starting point for you to consider. Please take the time to review your entire home for potential dog dangers and kitty catastrophes to prevent them from happening!  Worried about giving your pets the protection they deserve? Consider investing in a pet insurance policy.

Protect your Pets

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.