Pet-proof your home

Common household items, anything from fabric softener sheets to citronella candles, can harm your cat or dog. Here's how to protect your animal.

Shaggy dog

You've heard of baby-proofing, but it's also important to pet-proof your home. Cats and dogs can easily get into items that you might think are safe (for example, cats may love to roll around in fabric softener sheets, but these sheets can cause burns in or on the mouth or even ulcers on the stomach or intestines.) Here, we list some poisonous or harmful items commonly found in the home―keep these products in a cabinet or drawer where pets can't reach them.


  • Disinfectants
  • Pine oil
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Foods such as chocolate, grapes and onions are harmful to pets―check, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Web site, for a full list.


  • Medicines such as vitamins, antidepressants, diet pills, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin
  • Products such as shower, toilet bowl and drain cleaners
  • Floss (if swallowed, it could get stuck in your pet's intestines and cause blockage)

Laundry room:

  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Bleach