10 Dangerous Pet Products

Many consumers are not even aware that the pet stores do sell dangerous pet products. These commonly sold items should be avoided when shopping for pet supplies and food. Some have been linked to pet deaths. Why take the risk?

It might surprise you to know that many products sold in pet shops are actually dangerous, or cruel, to pets. Well of course when you think about it, pet stores are in the business of making profit, if people want them to sell something, they would rather sell it than talk you out of it. What are these dangerous products?

  1. Dog Shock Collars

    Although more humane products and training methods are now available, some stores still sell these poor excuses for dog training methods. A better alternative is a collar that spays citronella or water. I one time saw a cat whose owner had put one of these shock collars on his neck, believing it could control their feline from wandering, the electric nodes had dug into his neck, scarring him, and leaving a patch of missing hair that apparently never did return. Even on dogs, these collars are not always as effective as people are led to believe. Generally speaking these are used to combat boredom or wandering. Boredom can be helped by providing more mental stimulation and wandering can be controlled by a good fence.

  2. Dog Choke Chain Collars and Pinch Collars

    Choke chains and pinch collars were used to replace proper training, a “quick fix” against a dog that pulls on a leash and regular collar. The truth is that dogs can still lean and pull on a choke collar and many dogs have been strangled as a result of inappropriate use or misuse. If you have a dog that pulls, a better solution is obedience lessons or dog head halter similar to those used on horses. If a halter can control a 1000 pound horse, it will work on your dog.  Many dogs have died as a result of either collar, even when they are in use correctly.

  3. Over the Counter Medications

    A lot of people buy over the counter medications and treat their pets for ailments that have not been diagnosed by a veterinarian. Over the counter flea medications have been linked to many pet deaths.  You might have people treating a pet for an ear infection, when the pet actually has ear mites, or visa versa. Most of the over the counter worming medications are not broad spectrum, and unless you know what kind of worms your pet has, they may be completely ineffective.

  4. Cat Toys on Strings

    I have seen cat furniture for sale with toys hanging off them by a string. Would it not occur that the string could become wrapped around a playful kitten’s neck and strangle it? Similar dangers are present from cat toys that hang from door handles on string.

  5. “Starter Kit” Cages

    The problem with starter kit cages, are that people often don’t get anything larger than that cage, and many times the cage is not adequate for anything more than a young animal for a short duration of time, like a move or trip to the vet. So while these cages are not outright dangerous, over an extended period of time being kept in a too small cage will deteriorate the animal mentally and physically.

    Clearly this cage is too small for a hamster to live in for more than a short period of time.  Why would a store sell you a cage that should not be used for more than a week?  Photo from Wikimedia

  6. Cedar Shavings

    These shavings have long been linked to respiratory problems in small animals. Pine as well, but to a much lesser extent. The smell appeals to their owner, but this bedding for small animals is really bad for them.

  7. Rawhide

    Many dogs have been autopsied with bits of undigested rawhide in their stomachs. This has not been the cause of death outright, but certainly causes its own share of problems, it inhibits food digestion. Rawhide is also a common choking hazard. Sure many dogs eat rawhide every day and survive, but equally so, many choke and die. Rawhide should never be given to an unsupervised dog or a dog in a crate.

  8. Cat Milk Liquid Treat

    A total waste of money, there is no nutritional value in any cat milk liquid treat. This is a gimmick made to make people feel better if they want to give their cat milk but know that cows milk is bad for cats. This drink is sometimes offered by well meaning people to orphaned kittens, however it is NOT legitimate kitten milk replacer, which is very costly.

  9. Tuna for Cats

    Tuna has been long known to have many negatives associated with it when it comes to feeding it to your fuzzy feline. There are so many health problems that I won’t even begin to list them here, you can do your own research, but I am sure you will draw the same conclusion, that Tuna is bad for cats and should not be an ingredient in cat food.

  10. Pet Food Ingredients

    BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin, are all noted as bad. BHA and BHT will appear on the ingredient list. Ethoxyquin will usually not be listed but is a pesticide / preservative used in by-products, as such it is considered part of the by-product and may not have to be shown otherwise. All these low cost preservatives, all have been linked with health problems, including cancer, in cats and dogs.

Other Dog Related Links

The Six Safest Dogs with Children

Mystery Meat:  What is your Pet Eating?

Teacup Pets and Giant Pets:  A Look at the Problems

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User Comments
  1. The Minimalist

    On April 21, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Great article! I’m so glad you mentioned the rawhide treats. Our Boxer, Mrs. Boo got one stuck down her throat and it was really hard to get out!

  2. Kenneth Roan

    On May 2, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I like your writting, keep up the good wood

  3. Nelson Doyle

    On May 15, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Nicely written. Valuable information to know if you are concerned pet owner.

    God Bless,

    Nelson Doyle

  4. Eddie Starr

    On May 26, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Yeah, my cats not a very big fan of anything on a string, thank goodness! I really enjoy this article, good work, my cat and dog apprecaite it.

  5. Kaytee

    On June 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    My mum used to give rawhides to our dog, Tylie, and every time she’d chew one I’d be so afraid she’d start choking on it!

  6. B Nelson

    On September 9, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Also Laser Pointer toys are dangerous and have been linked to blinding some pets. Instead I suggest honey suckle toys for cats, and rubber KONG type for dogs, filled with yummy peanut butter!

  7. Stephanie

    On October 8, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    The comment that Cedar is bad for dogs is completely untrue. We’ve spend thousands of dollars researching and investing in non toxic pest control for dogs and cats and the active is cedar oil. visit us at http://www.wondercide.com

  8. Sue

    On October 15, 2008 at 10:52 am

    This morning I lost 2 of my kittens after applying Sergeants Natures Guardian Flea and Tick spray. I purchased this because it was supposed to be “natural” and safe for animals and children to be around. My poor kittens ended up in kidney and liver failure due to this product. No I am not just guessing at that…my Vet actually stated this and is reporting it to many Associations as to inform them of this. She is also contacting Sergeants for me. I now have 3 other kittens that I need to watch closely as to make sure they do not die from it as well.

  9. Laura

    On October 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    re: Sue. I’m sorry for your loss. a couple of years ago I had a similar incident with Hartz on a kitten. Luckily I was able to bath him clean before his body went into shock and organ failure, but it was scary for hours during his recovery. Afterwards I kicked myself for not going online and researching it first. I thought the same, how could it be harmful if it’s ‘natural’. e-hugs for you

  10. Jamie

    On October 30, 2008 at 11:34 am

    What is the alternative to Rawhide?? I buy the Busy Bones that they chew and can actually eat? Is that dangerous too???

  11. B Nelson

    On October 31, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I am not familiar with Busy Bones, of course there are different products in different countries. You can buy formed rawhide, which are bits of raw hide chopped up and preformed – they dont last as long and are a tad safer, but still best to avoid any of these products.. get a KONG – hard rubber type toy – fill it with your dogs favorite treat or even peanut butter.

  12. Sarah Goslyn

    On December 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    My dog almost died from the Seargent’s ear mite medication for dogs in cats. My dog started acting lathargic and we took him to the vet. The vet said that Seargent’s is very toxic and I ended up poisioning my dog. And even though the bottle said for dogs and cats, the vet said it actually isn’t safe for cats at all and a small dosage would kill a cat. A $4 bottle of ear mite meds costed me $200 in vet bills. If your pet is sick or has a problem, take them to the vet. It’s alot safer and may be cheaper in the long run then going out and diagnosing your pet yourself and buying over the counter midication.

  13. JZ

    On December 24, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    My cat is at the vets office right now due to poisoning from Zodiac Spot On. I applied it 2 nights ago and within 10 minutes he began having a reaction to it, I quickly put him in the sink and tried to wash it all out (very difficult b/c it is waterproof) but it was apparently too late. I woke up today and he was sleeping, non-responsive…took him immediately to the vet, had to have a blood transfusion to try and flush out the poison…he has a 50-50 chance of survival. DO NOT USE this product, it is VERY poisonous to your cat. I didn’t apply too much or use the wrong one for my cat, I followed the directions exactly. It goes into your pets blood stream immediately and washing will not help. While talking to the vet I learned that she sees countless animals suffering from poisoning from Zodiac products…spend the extra money and buy a safer alternative.

  14. Brenda Nelson

    On December 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    to JZ comment #13
    - I hope your cat gets better, I am not familiar with this product at all, but glad you mentioned it.

  15. Kevin

    On April 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I totally agree with your comments about Rawhide. I have heard of countless dogs choking on regular white rawhide bones and I can’t figure out for the life of me why anyone buys these pet treats!!!! I actually use a great alternative to regular rawhide. It is soft, flexible rawhide that is flavored but it is not basted on the outside, the flavor is actually baked into it in a high heat extrusion process. The name of the company that makes it is poochie treats and my dog goes bonkers over it! It’s still made of 100% rawhide but its chewy, flexible and digests easily. I used to buy them at petsmart but they don’t seem to be carrying them anymore. I’ll link you incase anyone is interested in them.

    hvPet.com or just hvpet.com

    I hadn’t thought about cat toys on strings as being a hazard so thanks for posting that and shamefully, I have used the choke collar (though I did know the correct use of it). Thanks for writing this, I wouldn’t use it again!

  16. Ann

    On September 16, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Glad I came across this site. raw hide bones are not good as I thought. Always wondered about those starter kits for animals and my quetions to all pet employees is this not too small, response, oh no plenty of room. they need only so much. well they need more to run around. use your own judgement, your pet not theirs when you buy it.

  17. James taylor

    On September 27, 2009 at 11:47 am

    sorry to be a bother but i know nobody would want the public to be misinformed but your number 3 is mislabeled. you have written choke chain but you have a picture of a pinch/prong/correction collar. these prong collars are not harmful to the dog at all. a study of 100 dog corpes at a major university has been conducted 50 that used prong / 50 that used choke chain. the choke chains are dangerous and cause major damage to the throat while pinch/ prong collars do none. prong collars are not a sorce of punishment its a sourse of correction

  18. Joan

    On October 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    JOAN….CHECK WEBSITE http://WWW.orange-dogs.com-==we buy their GREEN AND NATURAL shampoo and disinfecting orange spray and is the best ever…no chemicals and our dog who used to smell bad, smells like oranges all the time…they also have classy collars now and will ship and gift wrap sets of the shampoo and orange disinfecting spray, as well as collars, check website….fantastic company, high quality…My dog had bad skin allergies and scratched all the time, no more…best…J

  19. John

    On October 6, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    HEY, JOAN, Have tried the products you mentioned, and will never go back to the old, chemical ridden shampoo for my dogs….These are the best from http://www.orange-dogs.com–thanks for letting me know about the gifts…perfect for our dog loving family and buds….great stuff….John

  20. jacval60

    On June 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    She forgot to mention Chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes among tylenol is also bad tylenol is also bad for people if taking to much it is bad for the liver. You can check on-line what foods are bad for cats and dogs but these are bad for both dogs and cats. My vet said I can use baby aspirin for my cat and i have used it with no problems but it should be coated for it will not upset the stomach that much. I never knew that tuna was bad I usually give them tuna cat food they love it. Sometimes I will cook them some fish I think the oil in the fish is good for hairballs.

  21. Elle

    On January 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Sorry, I do not see comments about fish here, but just wanted to get the word out to any potential small fish tank owners. We purchased a Tetra tank with Whisper filter. We placed two fish in it, with the filter on low setting. One day I saw the filter suck up one of our perfectly healthy fish and dash it down to the rocks below, fatally disabling it. Two weeks later, my 12 year old son saw the same thing happen to the other fish. When I called Tetra to inform them about their filter killing our fish, they tried to blame us for having too many fish. I pointed out that their photo on the box has 5 fish in the tank! Some folks might not consider fish to be like cats or dogs, but my little boy was devastated. I won’t put another fish into that tank with that filter again.

  22. nitin

    On March 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    i like your advise……thanks mam

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