Healthy Pets are Happiest: Four Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe from Drugs
You’ve probably thought about how drug use impacts your own health or that of family members, but have you considered how it affects your pets? No one wants to hurt their companion animal, but careless use or storage of drugs can easily cause serious injury to or illness in our furry friends. Here are four things you can do to make sure your pets are as happy and healthy as they can be
- Lock up prescriptions. The best way to make sure your pets don’t get into your medications is by keeping meds far out of reach, stored away when you’re not using them. Taking extra care to make sure any drugs you have are stored separately from dog food, treats or toys will further guarantee your pets’ safety. Even medicine prescribed to animals following a surgery or sickness can be taken in unhealthy amounts capable of causing harm. Being mindful of how accessible any drugs or medicines are to children is also important, to prevent children from accidentally giving your dog a deadly “treat.”
- Think before throwing away. Although overdosing on marijuana is rare in humans, generally happening only in very small children, it occurs more frequently in animals like dogs and cats likely to be around and subject to their owner’s drug use. For example, the idea of going through the trash is so nauseating to most people that we forget our furry friends are not discouraged by the smell of garbage. Because marijuana is sometimes added to sweet baked goods as one method of ingesting the drug to get high, dogs are especially at risk of becoming sick from marijuana “edibles” they find in the trash or left out on a counter or table. Make sure to keep your trash in a secure place, in order to avoid dangerous rummaging behaviors and don’t leave marijuana edibles out where children or animals have access to them.
- Stop second-hand smoke. We didn’t always know it, but the science now is clear; second-hand smoke is deadly. You may think that smoking cigarettes has no effect on your pet, but understand that they are trapped in your home with you and can’t get a breath of fresh air whenever they want. If you’re thinking about ways you can protect your pet from harm, strongly consider only smoking tobacco or marijuana outside, quitting smoking entirely or encouraging your loved one to do so.
- Prioritize pets’ well-being. Ultimately your pet can’t voice their opinion on how you can best protect them, and that’s exactly why you must go out of your way to ensure their health and well-being is being considered as an important part of everyday household decisions. For the most part, pets are utterly helpless to change their environment, making them completely vulnerable to you. You may not want to hurt your pet, but if you expose him or her to substances like drugs that can kill them, the results will be the same.
Injury and death due to a pet owner’s ignorance or carelessness are entirely avoidable, if you take the time to educate yourself and put in place a few common sense protections. A little information and preparation can go a long way in making sure your pet doesn’t have to make an unnecessary and costly visit to the veterinarian.