Sometimes our pets get adventurous and search our homes for things to sniff and eat. And sometimes, they find things that pose a hazard to their health — food in the kitchen, in particular. It’s important to store food out of our pets’ reach to prevent them from getting sick and requiring an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office. Consider these quick storage solutions for pet-hazardous foods:


#1 Avocado

Should your dog or cat ingest an avocado peel, it will likely result in an upset stomach.  However, should a pet happen to eat an avocado pit, it can harm the gastrointestinal tract and require an emergency trip to the vet. Avocado seeds contain a toxin known as persin. Persin can cause respiratory problems which can lead to fluid buildup around the heart — and sometimes even death — for animals.

Where to store: Pet owners should store fruit in a refrigerator drawer. However, avocados often require some time to ripen on the countertop. Since cats are particularly agile counter-jumpers, take the added measure of storing avocados in a container with a plastic top on the windowsill. It might slow the ripening process, but it will protect your cat from getting near the peel or pit.


#2 Chocolates, Coffee and Caffeinated Beverages

These three items are grouped together because they contain something known as methylxanthine, found in cacao seeds. Ingestion by your pet of any of these substances can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, thirst and urination, tremors, seizures and in extreme cases, death.

Some things to note:

  • Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.
  • White chocolate is the least dangerous.
  • Baking chocolates are the most dangerous because they have the highest concentration of methylxanthine.

Where to store: Keep coffee in a dog-proof canister and store it away in a pantry for added safety. Store chocolate in the refrigerator, pantry or freezer — and keep unopened caffeinated beverages stored in the refrigerator or pantry. Also, keep open caffeinated beverages far away from prying noses and paws.


#3 Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can negatively affect human beings, but it’s even worse for an animal. Some effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased coordination
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors
  • In extreme doses, death

Where to store: Keep alcoholic beverages in the refrigerator or cabinets. Some cats are particularly good at opening cabinets; if yours is this way, consider buying and installing a childproof lock. Also, consider putting the alcohol in the pantry. The doorknob will prevent your dog or cat from pushing it open.


#4 Salt

While your pet may like fries and chips, excessive amounts of salt can lead to results like:

  • Frequent urination
  • Poisoning from sodium ion
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Seizures

Where to store: When you aren’t using salt, store it as far away from your dogs and cats as possible. If you have a particularly adventurous pet, put salt in a pantry with a doorknob or store it in a cabinet that has a childproof lock.


#5 Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic include a compound harmful to dogs’ red blood cells. Depending on its strength, it can be very toxic. Never feed dogs any onions or garlic, not raw or in concentrated soup mixes or powders. Some side effects include weakness, exhaustion, and orange or red urine. Should your dog ingest onions or garlic, take it to a veterinarian for potential blood transfusions immediately.


Written contribution by Andrea Davis, Home Advisor

photo credit: Rubbermaid LunchBlox – Lunch Containers via photopin (license)