Pet safety 101: How to pet-proof your home

Whether you’re thinking about adding to your family by bringing a puppy or kitten into your home or if you’ve already got a cat or dog, it’s essential that you make sure your home is pet-proof. Cats and dogs are very innovative, and while their antics can result in gut-clutching laughter, their curiosity and sneakiness can get the better of them. Making your home safe for your pet can help you avoid a disaster in which your fluffy friend gets into something they shouldn’t. Your pet is part of your family, and they’re counting on you to look after them. Check out the pet safety tips below.

Pet safety: How to pet-proof your home, room by room.

Keep pets safe in the kitchen.

It makes sense that your pet would take a great interest in the kitchen, of course. Pet-proof your kitchen by doing the following:

  • Keep the garbage away. While gross to us, garbage is enticing to pets. They smell food scraps and think “Dinner!” To prevent your pet from eating scraps, trash, and objects that they shouldn’t, lock your garbage in a cupboard or pantry. Use a childproof lock to protect it if your cat or dog is creative enough to open doors with their paws.
  • Lock your cabinets with childproof locks. There are all sorts of things that your pet could find if they break into your cabinets – cleaners, chemicals, sharp utensils, breakable dishes, small items they could eat.
  • Be very careful about food. Many foods that are fine for people are toxic to pets – for example, onions, raisins, garlic, etc. Don’t leave food where your pets can get it. You might have to put a childproof lock on your pantry door if your kitty or doggie is determined to get themselves snacks at any given time.

Pet safety pro-tip: Save your vet’s phone number and the ASPCA animal poison control hotline (888-426-4435) into your phone.

Pet safety in the bedroom and living room.

Pet-proofing a home is just like childproofing a home. Check out the following pet safety tips to make sure your bedroom and living room are good to go for your puppy or kitten.

  • Keep electrical cords out of the way. This is a pet safety must. Yes, having your cat or dog chew through a phone charger, set of headphones, or laptop power cord can be very frustrating – and expensive. But what’s scarier than the price tag of a new cord is the possibility that they could get an electric shock. Move cords behind furniture, tape them to the walls, put them under the furniture, whatever you have to do to keep them out of your pet’s reach. For some reason, pets think cords are the perfect chew toy.
  • Put away small objects or trinkets. Just like kids, pets have a tendency to eat or chew things that could choke them. Make sure to clean up small items and trinkets that could be mistaken for a snack and keep them out of your pet’s reach. (And remember…cats aren’t afraid of heights. Putting trinkets on a high shelf might not work if your kitty can leap from the bed to the dresser, then onto the wardrobe, then to the shelf.)
  • Make sure no string or thread is lying around. String and thread are really bad for pets if they eat them because it can get wound up in their stomach and intestines.
  • Choose plants that aren’t toxic. Many pretty plants that smell nice are toxic to pets. Do some research before choosing any houseplant. You can see a list from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) here.
  • Consider your older pet. If your kitty or doggie is getting up there in years, he or she might have trouble getting up on the bed or to his or her favorite nap spot. To prevent them from falling as they try to jump or get down from couches or beds, provide them with steps or another easy way to get up and down. Watching your pet take a fall is both scary and heart-wrenching.

Pet safety has to extend to the kitchen, the living areas, the bathroom, and the laundry room.

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Pet-proof the bathroom and laundry room.

Pet safety should also extend to the bathroom and laundry room.

  • Childproof all cabinets. Again, you don’t want your pet getting into any chemicals, cleaners, laundry supplies, etc. that you might store under the sinks. Use childproof locks to seal them shut.
  • Keep medications out of range. Don’t underestimate the strength of a cat or dog’s teeth – or their determination. They may be able to chew right through the plastic bottle. Yes, the cap might be childproof…but it’s not pet-proof. Lock medications away.
  • Block off the spaces around the washer and dryer. Puppies and kittens love to wiggle into small nooks and crannies that you didn’t even realize were there…until you hear their plaintive crying for you to rescue them. Block off any access to the area behind or between your appliances.
  • Keep the toilet lid closed. Not only is drinking from the toilet gross and unsanitary, there could be chemicals leftover from when you clean.
  • Always check the washer and dryer before turning it on. The dryer is the best hiding place ever, obviously. Cats especially seek out warm places, so make sure that you double check the machine for passengers before you start the laundry.
  • Keep all cosmetics and lotions out of reach. Well, as adorable as your kitten would look with blush, it’s best to keep all makeup and lotions out of reach of tiny paws.

Pet safety for the garage.

Though your pets might not spend too much time in the garage, if they ever do go out there (or sneak out there) you have to make sure it’s safe.

  • Move all chemicals. Remember – cats love to jump and run around on top of cars, shelves, and any other surfaces they can leap to. Keep chemicals such as pesticides and cleaners locked away.
  • Beware of antifreeze. This is extremely, extremely toxic and even a small lick can be very harmful.
  • Move all tools and sharp objects. Best to get these out of reach of curious cats and dogs.
  • Temperature. If you put your pets in the garage to keep them from running around and wreaking havoc inside, you have to make sure the temperature is comfortable. Garages get really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter, and you don’t want your pet to overheat or get too cold.
  • Check the car hood/engine before driving. If your cat goes into the garage, be sure to check your car before driving away. Cats have been known to curl up inside engines, underneath cars, and on top of the tires. They like warm spaces.

Pet safety is an essential part of caring for your cat or dog.

Your pets are precious to you. Make sure to take care of them with pet safety. Your home is full of dangers that are obvious to you but aren’t to a curious kitten or an innovative puppy, or a crafty cat or dog. Being a responsible pet owner means providing a safe place for your pet to play, sleep, eat, be cuddled, and have a great life.

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