9 Things to Keep Away from Your Dog ...

If you're like me – and, of course, if you own dogs – then your pooches are like your kids. You love them unconditionally even when they go digging in the bathroom trash that you forgot to put up or decide that it's cool to pee on anything they want to claim for their own. You also want to keep them safe from anything that could hurt them – such as these 9 things to keep away from your dog.

1. Mulch

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You need to be careful about what kind of mulch or fertilizer you put down, especially if your dog spends a lot of time outside. Certain mulches contain really harmful chemicals. So, if your dog rolls around in the fertilizer – or, worse, eats it – then that can cause some serious health problems.

2. People Foods

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There are certain foods that are really bad for dogs. Most pet owners know that chocolate is a no-no and that candy is awful, but there are some surprising people foods dogs shouldn't have. Grapes and raisins both can be extremely harmful for your dog, and can actual lead to kidney failure. Onions and garlic can lean to anemia, tomatoes can cause heart problems and paralysis, and many nuts can lead to things like jaundice, lethargy, and no appetite.

3. Cat Food

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Dogs will eat anything. Mine especially love the cat's food. It's not because they don't like their food – they pig out on that too. They just like to eat, well, anything they can get their little muzzles on. Cat food isn't great for dogs though – and dog food is not great for cats. I always know when one animal has gotten into food meant for the other species, because … they leave evidence on the floor.

4. Rocks

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Dogs are like babies, you have to keep an eye on what they're putting in their mouths. If you notice your dog eating rocks, or even just playing with them, put a stop to that right away. In addition to being a choking hazard, a swallowed rock can do awful things to a dog's stomach and digestive tract.

5. Mouse Traps

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You shouldn't have any traps – or rodent poisons or insecticides – anywhere your dog goes. Can you imagine if your baby got his paw stuck in a mouse trap? It's better never to use poisons in your home anyway, but take precautions and be careful in your choice if it has to be done – and do the same for anything you put outside as well.

6. Certain Toys

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Those hard, red rubber jingle balls with a hole in one side are extremely hazardous to dogs, and they are not the only dangerous toys. Don't choose toys with holes for your dogs, not even if there's a hole on the opposite side – the risk is too great for your dog to get his tongue stuck. Toys with small parts are bad too, especially if you have a dog like my hotdog, who is disturbingly rapt about ripping the squeakers out of his toys!

7. House Plants

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I'm definitely not going to say that you shouldn't have house plants. However, you should make sure they're high up in places where your dogs can't reach them. Certain plants are toxic to dogs, and eating their leaves can cause serious problems.

8. Cat Litter

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My Lab likes the cat litter – and that's about as graphic as I'm going to get. There are two things to remember here: you might need to incorporate something else into your dog's diet if he likes to dine out of the cat box, so give your vet a call. Also, those are rocks, too, and ingesting cat litter can tear up your dog's stomach.

9. Certain Bones

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There are also certain kinds of bones your dog shouldn't have. We let our dogs gnaw on steak bones sometimes, but chicken bones are out – they break too easily. There are also some dog bones that could be bad for your dog, such as rawhides that easily break into little pieces.

I never want anything to happen to my dogs, especially if it's something I could have prevented. Do you have any other safety tips to share?

Top Photo Credit: NOVIC

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