General care

Safe Environment

Unsafe situations may occur in your pet's surroundings, even with animals who are confined to the house or an outside run. A responsible pet owner should always have control of their pet and their pet's environment. Injury or death after being hit by a car or being attacked by another animal can be prevented if your pet is properly controlled. Your pet may be injured or shot if allowed to wander unrestricted. Controlling your pet and providing a safe home can eliminate several dangerous situations.


Pets can suffer heat prostration and die in a short period of time, even minutes, under severe conditions. In the summer, the car's interior can quickly rise to over 150F, and your pet's body temperature may rise to 110F or more, causing irreversible brain damage and/or death within minutes. You should NEVER leave your dog in the car even with the window partially open.


Your pets need room to move around safely to get exercise. Provide an area with adequate room, shelter, and bedding that can be cleaned. Lots of space to exercise, some toys, and clean, comfortable bedding are some simple things that can add years to your pet's life.


Accidental poisonings can be tragic. Guard against ingestion of: Garden supplies, such as insecticides, fertilizers, and snail bait. Poisonous plants: Many plants in live or dried forms are toxic. Even food items like dried onions can cause problems in pets. Discuss potential problems with your veterinarian or check with the nursery or a more complete reference before buying plants. Pennies can contain zinc, which can cause vomiting, anemia, and even death if ingested. As little as one ounce of unsweetened (baker's) chocolate may poison dogs. Antifreeze has a sweet taste to dogs and cats, and they may lick it off the ground. As little as one teaspoonful (easily available from a radiator boil over) can lead to irreversible kidney damage and death in dogs or cats. Medications: Ask a professional before administering drugs of any kind to your pet.