The whole world has been cooped up in the house during the duration of COVID-19. Memorial Day Weekend is the first major holiday in the U.S. since “Stay at Home” restrictions have been eased. Although the sun is out and our pets are ready to play in the yard and celebrate the start of summer, here are some things to look out for this weekend.
Plants – Inside or Around the House
Now’s the time we’re sprucing up the yard but did you know that many household plants we bring outside and yard plants can sicken your pet? Some of the most commonly grown greenery that should be kept away from pets includes:
- Certain types of lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are highly toxic to cats, resulting in kidney failure — even if only small amounts are ingested.
- Lily of the Valley, oleander, yew, foxglove, and kalanchoe may cause heart problems if ingested.
- Sago palms (Cycas species) can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures and liver damage, especially if the nut portion of the plant is consumed.
- Azaleas, rhododendrons and tulip/narcissus bulbs can cause intestinal upset, weakness, depression, heart problems, coma and death.
- Castor bean can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures, coma, and death. Other plants that can cause intestinal upset include cyclamen, amaryllis, chrysanthemums, pothos, English ivy, philodendron, corn plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, hibiscus, hydrangea, peace lily and schefflera/scheffleria.
- Rhubarb leaves and shamrock contain substances that can produce kidney failure.
- Additionally, fungi (such as certain varieties of mushrooms) can cause liver damage or other illnesses.
A few other potentially harmful plants include the yesterday-today-and-tomorrow plant (Brunfelsia species), autumn crocus (Colchicum species), and glory lily (Gloriosa species).
Paints and Solvents
Now’s the time that the paint brush comes out to spruce up outdoor furniture and even the house. You might even have a creative project or two that you’ve set up outside. Paint thinners, mineral spirits, and other solvents are dangerous and can cause severe irritation or chemical burns if swallowed or if they come in contact with your pet’s skin. While most latex house paints typically produce a minor stomach upset, some types of artist’s or other specialty paints may contain heavy metals or volatile substances that could become harmful if inhaled or ingested.
Antifreeze, Herbicides and Insecticides
Ethylene glycol-containing antifreeze and coolants, even in small quantities, can be fatal to pets. While antifreeze products containing propylene glycol are less toxic than those containing ethylene glycol, they can still be dangerous. In addition to antifreeze, other substances routinely stored in the garage including insecticides, plant/lawn fertilizers, weed killers, ice-melting products, and gasoline also pose a threat to your pet’s health if ingested.
When chemical treatments are applied to grassy areas, be sure and keep your pet off the lawn for the manufacturer’s recommended time. If pets are exposed to wet chemicals or granules that adhere to their legs or body, they may lick it off later; stomach upset or more serious problems could result.
Household projects are popular and you may be finishing up a project or two this weekend. In particular, several brands of expanding wood glues – those containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate (often abbreviated as MDI) – have the potential to form obstructive gastrointestinal masses if ingested. The ingested adhesive can form an expanding ball of glue in your pet’s esophagus and/or stomach, creating a firm mass that can be 4-8 times the glue’s original volume. This effect has been reported from as little as 2 oz. of glue, with the obstructive mass forming within minutes of the pet ingesting the adhesive. Also, polyurethane adhesives are found in a large number of household products, and some can be very dangerous if ingested by pets.