Puppy proofing makes for a happy home

Contact: Kenneth Billings

STARKVILLE, Miss. - It's always exciting to bring a new puppy into the family, with the joy that a furry bundle can bring to adults and children alike.

But because puppies are naturally inquisitive, veterinarian Mark Russak at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine says danger can be lurking right around the corner.

"Generally the same rules apply for pets as for small children," Russak said. "It only takes a second for a puppy to get into some mischief that could end up being a big problem."

Puppy proofing your house, he added, will not only keep your new babies safe from harm, it will also simplify your life.

Russak suggests these tips for making your home safe and happy for your new arrival:

•Don't be shocked. Young animals love to chew when they're teething. Keep electrical wires out of reach, or use a pet-repellent spray.

•Avoid a sweet tooth. Chocolate can be dangerous to pets because it contains theobromine, a powerful stimulant that is toxic to them. Sweets and cookies also can upset a young animal's intestines and lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.

•Clean up household supplies. Cleaning agents, bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint, gasoline, and rat poison can be deadly to animals. Keep them locked up.

•Monitor house plants. Some can kill animals. Poisonous plants include lilies, philodendron, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, eucalyptus, spider plants, azalea, ivy amaryllis, pyracantha, oleander, boxwood, Jerusalem cherry, and plant bulbs.

•Use caution with personal care items and medications. Cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams, hair "perm" solutions, depilatories, suntan lotions, sleeping pills, antihistamines, aspirin, acetaminophen, as well as many other medications, can all be lethal to pets.

•Put away plastic. Those plastic shopping bags aren't toys for pet. Inquisitive young animals who "play" with them may suffocate. Do your pet a favor and keep them out of reach.

For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 05:00