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Trash or Treasure: Keeping Your Pets Healthy

Trash or Treasure: Keeping Your Pets Healthy

Monday, December 5, 2016

DVM 360 has some expert advice on some pet items you might need to toss in the trash right now. Whether you are a cat owner or a dog owner, these general rules apply to you and your pets.

Plastic Bowls

Plastic may be a wonder to the modern world, but it is difficult to get truly clean. The surface is naturally greasy and easily scratched. Scratched surfaces can trap bacteria and oil, which can create issues for dogs or cats.

Cats can suffer from feline acne. It’s possible that the greasiness of plastic bowls contributes to oil buildup and clogged pores on your cat’s chin and face.

Dogs can chew plastic bowls into pieces that can be swallowed.

Ditch the plastic bowls and use ceramic or stainless steel.


Broken or chewed up toys may pose a swallowing hazard to your dogs. Tiny, fur covered mice can be a major hazard for cats. Small toys or toy parts can easily lodge in the GI tract and block it, becoming a life-threatening situation.

Avoid having your pets end up in surgery for removal of a foreign object. Check your toys weekly to make sure there are no missing pieces or broken parts. Throw out any toys in disrepair. Avoid small fur covered toys that your pet may instinctively want to eat.

Cat Litter Boxes

Most litter boxes are made of plastic, which scratches. Cats paw at the bottom of the box every time it is used. Tiny scratches in the floor of the box may trap odor and germs.

The next time you clean the litter box, check for micro-scratches. If you find some, it’s time for a new litter box.

Retractable Leashes

Many accidents have been caused by retractable leashes. The leash portion can be narrow and cause tangling. This can lead to injuries for both you and your dog.

They can be confusing to your dog because where you want him to walk is constantly changing.


Dogs and some cats wear collars all the time, close to their skin. Collars are like a pet’s underwear and should be kept clean and fresh.

Collars can rub the skin and create infections or hot spots around the neck.

Remember to wash or replace collars regularly.

Nail Trimmers

Most pets don’t enjoy getting a pedicure. Nail trimmers must have a sharp cutting surface. If it is not sharp, it will crush and split the nail causing discomfort to your pet.

Keep your nail trimmers sharp and in good repair or replace them often.

Expired or Inappropriate Medications

Sometimes it is tempting to save medication in case you need it again. Don’t.

Medications are prescribed for a specific animal and a specific problem. It might not be safe or effective for something else. If you are sure it is the same problem, it is best to double check with your veterinarian before giving any medication.

Inappropriate medications are not worth the risk and expired medications can be toxic to your pet.

by Elisabeth J. Giedt, DVM

Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital.  Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.

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