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When you think about the faithful Labrador Retriever, you might think about gamboling at a park, hiking, or playing fetch. You might think about their sweet, goofy expressions and lolling tongues, or how perfect they are with children, with other adults, with pretty much anyone, really: the classic, intelligent, loyal, family dog.
But did you know that the Lab is also the ultimate trouble-maker?
That's right. In 2012, the Lab was officially the breed that got into the most trouble. Unfortunately, we're not talking rolling in the mud. The ASPCA Poison Control Center reports that of more than 180,000 cases of pets exposed to possible poisons in 2012, 14,000 were from worried Lab owners, the most for any breed. Concerned pet owners called about everything from human prescriptions to household products like cleaners and fire logs. Apparently these friendly pups get into pretty much everything.
It's true that training and time will help, but countless pets wind up in trouble while their owners' backs are turned. Here are some simple tips to help you keep your pup out of harm's way.
1. Cover your trash - either in a very sturdy can, or better, in a secure cabinet.
2. Keep your medications, vitamins, lotions, cleaners, and other chemicals on high shelves, again, ideally in a secure cabinet.
3. Keep houseplants out of reach. Many varieties are poisonous if ingested, including many lilies and even succulents like aloe.
4. Many pets wind up at the vet because they've ingested a nontoxic item, like string or ribbon, small sharp objects (like sewing notions), and tools or toys. Put these things securely away.
5. Keep food out of reach (remember, pets find your counter perfectly accessible as long as you're not looking). Even if the food itself isn't a problem (and many are, including onions, chocolate, avocados, and raisins), wrappers and plastic containers can become a serious issue.
So give those mischievous Labs the love they deserve, and keep them (and all your pets) safe from harm. One more tip - if you think your pet may have ingested something that could hurt it, don't wait. Call your veterinarian right away, and if she or he is not available, call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. The faster your pet can be helped, the better the chance for recovery.