Home Safe Home

According to the Center for Disease control, 74 percent of homes in the United States built prior to 1980 contain hazardous amounts of lead paint. Paint should be removed with extreme caution. Clean-up should be prompt and thorough. Other items containing lead accessible to pets include lead base paint, linoleum, and caulking compounds. Pets either ingest or inhale lead. Its harmful effects may not show up until weeks later. Signs of lead poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, loss of muscle coordination, blindness and seizures. Veterinary treatment is essential.

Outdoor dangers that are often kept in a garage or basement include windshield cleaners, weed killers, insecticides, used motor oil and antifreeze. Many pets are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze containing the chemical ethylene glycol which is highly toxic to dogs and cats. If it is spilled on the ground or not properly stored, many pets lap it up. Make certain your pets are not in the vicinity when antifreeze is being drained. Dispose of used material promptly. New anti-freeze products have been introduced that claim to be non-toxic to pets. However, I believe in the adage, "better safe than sorry." Clean up any spilled product and safely store the remainder.

A final thought: If you have children, many of the safety measures needed for pets are probably already in place. If not, take a safety audit of your house to ensure that it's home, safe home, for your pet.

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