With the kids out of school, you and your spouse working from home, and the pets wondering why their daily routine has changed so much, your life is in an upheaval. You are stretched in many unusual directions, and your mind is overloaded with coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine, including worrying about the rising cost of groceries, learning common core math before you can teach your child, and concern whether you will be laid off. Amid all the worry and commotion, your two-legged children may find more trouble than usual, and your four-legged pal may sneak off and make mischief.
Common pet hazards encountered during the COVID-19 quarantine
Since we all need to stay home as much as possible to practice social distancing, a trip to our animal emergency hospital could have many consequences. Your risk for potential coronavirus transmission, despite our new procedures designed to minimize risk, would increase. An emergency veterinary visit also depletes already scarce medical supplies, such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, and medications, desperately needed in human hospitals. In addition, with so many people out of work, financial resources are spread thin, and a pet emergency can seriously impact an already tight budget. For those reasons, you want to ensure your pet’s problem constitutes a true emergency situation.
Although you’re probably well aware of typical, harmful home hazards for your pet, following are a few new ones you may encounter while quarantined and should avoid, so your pet does not need emergency treatment.
- Food hazards — Your local grocery store may have limited supplies of your favorite foods or staples, leading you to channel your inner Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, minus the yelling. With the kids at home, your pantry and fridge may be pretty bare, so you turn to creating snacks out of leftover odds and ends. Ensure your children eat the following foods out of reach of your pet, to avoid dropped dangers:
- Raisins and grapes
- Macadamia nuts
- Fruit cores and seeds
- Sugar-free candy, peanut butter, gum, and other snacks that contain xylitol
Potato chips, cereals, and other foods that come in plastic bags are also hazardous, for two reasons:
- They’re high in fat, which can cause pancreatitis in your pet
- The bag poses a suffocation threat
Homemade dishes can also harm your furry pal, especially if you and the kids are making your own pizzas from scratch. Unbaked dough can lead to alcohol poisoning if your pet snatches your pizza or bread dough, or can cause an obstruction that requires surgical removal. Ensure everyone stays safe by separating the two- and four-legged kids during snack time, and keeping your pet out of the kitchen while baking and cooking.
- Home improvement hazards — When tackling home improvement projects that require power tools, paint, or nails and screws, keep your pet occupied in a different area. Spilled paint is a huge chore to clean up, and can be toxic if your furry friend decides to help and lap up a taste. Wandering pets can accidentally switch on power tools, or they can step on sharp nails, staples, or utility knives. Entertain your pet in another room with a stuffed Kong or a long-lasting treat, or by playing with the kids.
- Child activity hazards — Your pet may want to participate in arts and crafts time, but popsicle sticks and glue can harm your four-legged friend. Broken wood splinters or glue sticks can appeal to a curious pet, who may be tempted to chew them. If your child would rather play than create, your pet can easily swallow tiny items, such as Lego and puzzle pieces, and small toys, before you are able to snatch them out of her mouth. Let your pet have her own playtime, with safe toys, away from the kids’ play area.
- Spring cleaning and disinfecting hazards — Although many hands make light work, four paws make more messes, and can sometimes lead to disasters. When disinfecting every door knob, light switch, countertop, cellphone, iPad, and laptop your family touches to kill germs, ensure your cleaner is pet-friendly, or keep your pet well away until the disinfectant dries. Keep in mind that aerosolized disinfecting sprays are highly toxic to birds, and all pets are sensitive to air fresheners, whether candles, plug-ins, or sprays.
While many of these hazards require urgent care, you should first stabilize your pet at home. In a crisis, follow the tips outlined in this blog post to provide first aid care for your furry pal, until you can reach our Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care.
Although many businesses are completely shut down during this quarantine period, animal emergency hospitals are a vital necessity for suffering pets in need of urgent care. If your furry pal gets into a scrape while cooped up indoors, whether she eats your child’s latest craft project, or scarfs down pizza dough, we’re here to help. However, our policies are changing in accordance with the latest COVID-19 developments, so contact us before bringing us your pet for emergency care.