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The start of a new school year is an exciting, but often hectic time for many parents and their children. Each year, the ASPCA reports an upward trend in the number of household pets exposed to toxins during the first few weeks of a new school year. Luckily, we have some simple back-to-school safety tips that will help keep your pets healthy, and safe, during this exciting and busy time. Let’s dive in!
Be Cautious at the Start of a New School Year with These Back to School Pet Safety Tips
We know that at the beginning of the school year life is extra busy! With so much happening at once, we can accidentally and unknowingly put our pet’s health at risk. Small children often leave their backpacks and lunch boxes on the ground, the perfect mischievous pet to explore.
The contents of backpacks, lunch boxes, and ingredients in school supplies are a few examples of unexpected, but common hazards to your pet’s health. It is always a good idea to be knowledgeable of potential toxins for our furry household friends.
Below are 7 important back to school pet safety tips to keep in mind:
Keep Backpacks and Lunch Boxes Out of Reach
Backpacks and lunch boxes have quite a few things that our dogs and cats really shouldn’t get into. Paper products, markers, crayons, pencils, glue, and a variety of foods commonly stored in backpacks and lunch boxes can make our pets sick. As a result, it is always recommended that these kinds of bags are out of reach of our pets.
Hanging these bags up on a high and unreachable hook, placing them in a closed cabinet, or keeping them in an inaccessible room are all great ways to ensure that your pets will not ingest anything that could result in a trip to your local ER.
Always Supervise Young Children with Pets
As much as they love their pets, young children do not always know how to safely pet and play with them. For the safety of both the child and the pet, young children should always be supervised when interacting with their furry friend. This will help to avoid either from becoming unintentionally injured.
Buy Non-Toxic School Supplies
Buying non-toxic school supplies will put your mind at ease if your dog or cat is found chewing on a crayon or colored pencil or licking up spilled glue. In the United States, non-toxic school supplies will have a seal that has the letters AP on it, meaning Approved Product. Luckily, most products intended for children have this seal and are non-toxic for both children and pets.
Avoid products that have a Cautionary Label on them. Products with this label will have a seal that says CL. Although these products shouldn’t be on any children’s school supplies, they do appear art and office supplies that are intended for adults.
Leave Dogs in a Crate or Dog Proof Room When Not at Home
Dogs tend to be mischievous, especially puppies or dogs new to their home. They are more likely to interact with potentially dangerous or toxic items when their owners are not at home. Although some dogs are known to be more mischievous than others, it is always safest to keep your dog in a crate or a secure, dog proofed room when you are not home.
This is a sure way to avoid coming home to accidents or emergencies.
Take Extra Caution Around Snack Time
Many different foods can be toxic for our furry friends. We recommend being extra cautious around meals and snack time to avoid mishaps. This tip is especially important for dog owners, as dogs tend to beg or wait around for food to drop on the floor more often than cats. Statistically, these types of incidents are more prevalent among dog owners.
What Foods Are Toxic to Dogs and Cats?
There are many foods out there that can be toxic for dogs and cats. Some of them may surprise you! Although toxic foods differ for dogs and cats, we have provided a list of common foods that you should keep away from all pets. Keep in mind, some of these items are common in both regular meals and children’s snacks.
Here are the foods that you should keep away from all pets:
- Sugar free gums and candies (contain Xylitol)
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Apple cores and seeds
- Fruits with pits such as cherries and peaches
- Caffeinated foods and drinks like coffee and tea
- Uncooked dough (bread doughs, cookie dough, etc.)
- Foods that are expired or moldy
Spend Time with Your Pet to Avoid Separation Anxiety
During the summer, your pet has been used to having you and other members of your family around on a more consistent basis. With school starting up again, your family won’t be around the house and spending as much time with your pet as they were used to. This can lead to pets, especially dogs, developing separation anxiety.
To help combat this from happening, make sure to spend some time with your pet when you’re home. Take them on a family walk or play with them in your backyard or in your house. Any activity where your pet will get some one-on-one time with you and the members of your family. This will also help your pet get more accustomed to the new schedule with their family being gone during the day.
A tip is to start these activities on a routine, that way your pet can have something to look forward to during the day.
Keep Your Pet in a Safe Area During Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs
Another concern is the possibility of dogs and cats escaping their home or yard when kids are opening up gates and doors to leave or come home from school. To ensure your pets’ safety, another tip is to keep them in a safe and enclosed area during bus pick-ups and drop-offs. This can help keep them from escaping the home.
Walking them on a leash during pick-up time for a fun bonding activity routine!
Call VEG for Additional Back to School Pet Safety Tips
Going back to school is a very exciting and busy time for children and parents alike, which is why it’s important to keep these pet safety tips in mind. Pets are naturally curious and enjoy exploring new objects and places, especially when they’re at home alone. By remembering these tips, you can help prevent an emergency situation from happening to your pet.
If you do encounter a situation where your pet needs immediate veterinary care, don’t wait. Call an emergency vet right away and take your pet to get the care they need.
At VEG, your pet’s health and safety are our top priorities. With locations all over the country that are open 7 days a week, you never have to worry about getting in contact with professionals to help your pet or advise you on what to do next. When you call, you’ll speak directly with an emergency veterinarian who’s dedicated to helping you and your pet when you need it most. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, or if you’re looking for additional back to school pet safety tips, call our team today!