Do You Know Which Baby Essentials Could Be Harmful to Your Pets?

December 5, 2019

baby and dog

The addition of a new baby to a family is certainly a very exciting time. Of course, along with the baby comes many items needed for care and comfort of the infant through childhood. In homes with both a baby and a pet, you should consider the safety of the entire family, including your furry friends, and be mindful of new items that could pose a danger to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has compiled a list of everything you should know about the potential pet dangers associated with some common baby items. .

What Should I Keep an Eye On?

Diapers are an essential need for babies, and the use of disposable diapers is a convenience that many of us do not want to go without. Many dogs are attracted to these items and may ingest them. Be aware that diapers pose the risk for intestinal blockage if they are swallowed, so be sure to keep them out of paws’ reach and away from your pets.

Diaper rash creams can also cause harm to our furry friends when ingested. Many of these products contain zinc oxide as an ingredient to soothe and dry the skin of babies, but if a pet were to ingest creams that contain this ingredient, it could cause illness. Zinc oxide is poorly absorbed by our pets, so the likelihood of systemic zinc toxicity, or an overexposure of the toxin, is low unless your pet is frequently licking up small amounts of it. However, this ingredient is very irritating to the digestive tract and will often cause vomiting. Other inactive ingredients in the ointment can also lead to diarrhea. Another thing to be mindful of concerning your pets and these types of products is an allergic reaction. from Pets who ingest them may develop hives or swelling of the face. Keep any of these creams or ointments stored in a medicine cabinet, or a secured spot that your pet cannot access.

Good oral health is important for all family members—human or animal.  Many people often use dental wipes to clean the teeth of babies and small children, but these are not suitable for our furry friends. Be aware that many of these wipes contain xylitol and need to be kept away from pets.  Dogs especially are sensitive to xylitol exposures and high levels of this product may cause a drop in blood glucose and put them at risk for liver damage, among other serious concerns. Low blood glucose may lead to tremors and seizures. In addition to the xylitol risk, ingestion of dental wipes could cause foreign body obstructions in your pet’s digestive system as well. 

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often given to babies and small children for fever reduction and pain relief. But these medications should never be given to your pets, and you should always be mindful about keeping items such as these locked away and out of your pet’s reach. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage in both dogs and cats, as well as damage to the red blood cells. A large amount could damage the red blood cells severely and impair their ability to carry oxygen, which could lead to serious medical concerns. If your pet ingests ibuprofen, they could develop GI ulcers. Larger ingestions of this medication could even cause renal failure. Neither of these medications should ever be used for your pets. If your pet is in pain, contact your veterinarian immediately rather than giving them any type of human medication.

How Do I Prevent My Pet From Getting Into These Things?

When it comes to keeping your pets safe, prevention and planning is usually key. Careful planning of what is needed for your new baby and sensible storage of all these items is essential for the safety of the furry members of your family. Be sure to keep these products secure and out of reach so that you won’t have to worry about mischievous pets getting into something they shouldn’t.

If you believe your pet has ingested something potentially toxic or seems to be having an adverse reaction to something, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435 for assistance.