Keeping your pet safe requires being at least one step ahead of them. Fortunately, our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team is giving you a leg up by providing 10 steps to pet-proof your home. Put these steps into action to keep your four-legged friend safe from common household hazards.
#1: Scout out hidden pet dangers in your home
To know what hazards hide in your home, take a walk around and look for potential dangers. Small spaces that your pet can sneak into and get stuck should be blocked off, such as under furniture where electrical cords run. Everyday items, like purses and backpacks that store candy, gum, and choking hazards, should be hung up out of your pet’s reach, while jackets should be stored safely in a closet.
#2: Establish off-limits zones for pets
Some areas are easier to completely block off instead of removing pet hazards. Create off-limits zones with baby gates or establish strict rules about closing doors to keep your pet safe from dangers in bedrooms, bathrooms, and the garage and kitchen.
#3: Install a locking trash can lid for pets
If your four-legged friend is constantly rooting through your trash in search of a treat, it’s past time to install a locking lid. You can also place your trash can in the pantry or under your kitchen sink to prevent your pet from dumpster diving.
#4: Pick up small objects pets may ingest
When your child is done playing with small figurines or legos, instruct them to pick up their toys to keep them from being eaten. Ideally, your child will understand the consequences of leaving their toys laying around, but reinforce the idea that not only will they lose toys, but their pet could become seriously ill and may need surgery.
Many hazardous items are frequently left out during home improvement projects. Nails, screws, wood scraps, paintbrushes, and other supplies can be gulped down or chewed on by a curious pet, potentially causing toxicity or an obstruction. Keep your furry pal out of your construction zone, and ensure small items are picked up before allowing them back in.
#5: Use child locks on cabinets and drawers to keep pets out
Child locks are an excellent way to keep your pet out of cabinets and drawers that contain chemicals, food, sharp items, medications, and other threats. Child locks are easy to install and use, and can save your pet’s life.
#6: Keep windows and doors closed around pets
High-rise syndrome occurs when pets fall from a great distance out windows or over balconies, so keep your furry pal safe from disaster by ensuring doors and windows remain tightly shut. Window screens are often not sturdy enough to keep a pet from falling through, so open windows only a few inches at the top, and ensure your pet cannot scale nearby furniture to climb through.
#7: Verify your plants’ safety around pets
Before planting your spring garden or bringing in a beautiful bouquet to brighten up your home, verify its safety. Many popular plants are toxic to pets, whether your furry pal ingests the leaves, petals, stem, or roots. For example, if your cat eats only one leaf from a true lily, such as an Easter lily, daylily, or tiger lily, or drinks the vase water, they can suffer deadly kidney failure.
#8: Swap out rodenticides for alternative pest control options
Rodenticides work by causing brain swelling, soft tissue calcification, cardiovascular collapse, or clotting issues in rodents, and are equally toxic to pets. Newer rodenticide types cause more severe toxicity, and immediate action is needed to save your pet’s life. Swap out rodenticides for traps, or consult a pest removal service for pet-safe options.
#9: Use caution when spraying fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides around pets
When preparing your lawn and garden for a phenomenal growing season, carefully check the labels on your lawn chemicals. Many products are not safe for use around pets, or they may have a required drying period before your pet is allowed back on the grass. Avoid using organic fertilizers that contain blood, bone, or feather meal, which are tempting to pets, and skip over the delicious-smelling cocoa bean mulch. To be safe, block your pet from your garden or lawn areas that have been treated with any sort of chemical, or keep your four-legged friend contained in a pen while outside.
#10: Secure your backyard to protect your pet
Not only can slipping under or through the fence be dangerous for your loose pet, gaps can also allow wildlife to sneak in. Wild animals can carry a host of infectious diseases and parasites, which can be transmitted to your pet through bodily secretions, fluids, and feces. Ensure your fence is animal-proof to keep your pet from becoming lost or falling victim to wildlife-borne illnesses.
Keeping your pet safe in your home, yard, and garage can be challenging, even for the most experienced and diligent pet owners. If your furry pal finds themself in a sticky situation, contact our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team for help.