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How to Protect Your Pet from Illness

From animal-proofing your home and garden to staying up-to-date on preventative care, here’s how to make sure your furry friend stays healthy

A woman is hugging a dog with black, light brown and white fur is looking into the distance. The dog's mouth is open with its long tongue sticking out and showing a mouthful of teeth.

Generally speaking, the safest place for your pet is your home, but even home can sometimes be harmful to your pets.

The garbage can, an unlocked cabinet under the sink, the pantry and even a fenced yard can be hazardous for dogs and cats despite the best efforts of well-intentioned and loving owners.

“The perfect storm can and does happen, and can put pet owners in a challenging position,” says Hannah Sotropa, assistant manager of communications with the Toronto Humane Society. “For example, a pet owner leaves home for a couple of hours and a pet decides to go digging through the garbage.” Depending on what the animal eats, you may end up with an emergency visit to the veterinarian, where costs can add up quickly.

Here are four ways to protect your furry family members.

Animal-proof your home

Before you bring you’re an animal home, make sure you pet-proof your home, Sotropa says. Secure cleaning products as many of them are poisonous if ingested. Next, ensure that people food is kept away from your new family member. Some foods, like chocolate, coffee, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions and chives, are toxic to dogs and cats.

Plants can be hazardous

It’s important to know if the plants in your home, garden or where you walk your pet are safe. Flowers like lilies, daffodils and hyacinths are toxic to cats, while cyclamen, tulips, oleander and sago palm are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Some mushrooms can also cause fatalities if eaten.

Preventative care is key

“You’ll want to make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations,” Sotropa says. “Visit your veterinarian on an annual basis for an examination to make sure nothing is of concern. You want to make sure you’re keeping up on your preventative care.”

In Canada, this also includes the prevention of tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses. “The cost of preventative medication is an investment as it is often less expensive than treating the disease itself,” Sotropa says. “Heartworm treatment is a good example of this."

Invest in pet insurance

No matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen. It’s a good idea to get pet insurance as soon as possible after you first bring your pet home. And, as Sotrop points out, insurance is often more affordable when pets are young and healthy.

Protect Your Pet

CAA Pet Insurance offers three different plans, depending on your needs. Learn more about choosing the right coverage for your pet and to get a quote.

Image credit: Jasmina007/iStock