Curious pets can quickly get up to no good if owners have not taken the proper precautions to make their home pet-safe. Four-legged friends who follow their nose and sniff out leftovers in the trash and vitamin gummies in your purse can easily be in danger if they encounter toxic substances and household hazards. Keep your pet safe from harm by following our team’s pet-proofing tips.
#1: Clear the kitchen counters
Dogs, including short-statured ones, are pros at counter-surfing, and cats can typically leap onto a counter with little effort. Protect your pet from food toxins by clearing your kitchen counters after every meal. If you prepare raw meat, disinfect the counter to eradicate bacteria, and move any sharp utensils. Place pet-toxic yeast dough in the oven or microwave to rise. Throw away packaging, including plastic bags and twist ties, to prevent potential suffocation, choking, or blockage hazards.
#2: Shut doors to block your pet
One of the easiest ways to pet-proof your home is to shut doors behind you to ensure your pet cannot access dangerous areas, like the garage or basement. You can also install baby gates so your pet can see you, but they cannot enter a potentially hazardous area, like the kitchen.
#3: Install child-proof locks as needed
Older homes often have cabinets or doors that don’t stay latched, which can make proper pet-proofing a challenge. Keep your pet safe by installing child-proof locks on drawers and cabinets that hold sharp utensils, toxic foods, small items, or cleaning chemicals.
#4: Hide cords and cables
Your pet may consider electrical wires tempting rubber chew toys, but they can be in for quite the shock. Prevent your furry pal from electrical burns by covering cords, wires, and cables, tying them up out of reach, or hiding them under or behind furniture.
#5: Store toxins in secure spots
Household cleaners and other chemicals can cause a range of health issues, including GI and neurologic problems, if your pet ingests them. After cleaning the bathroom, keep the toilet lid closed, and shut the door behind you to prevent your pet from walking on the freshly mopped floor. Store cleaning products in a securely latching cabinet, and consider placing bottles in a plastic tote to prevent spills and leakage.
#6: Pick up small items
Small items can attract your pet, but they can inadvertently choke on or swallow buttons, jewelry, batteries, or toys. Pick up potential choking hazards and store them safely in bins, cabinets, or drawers. Encourage your children to put their toys away as soon as they stop playing, warning them about the danger to your pet if the toys are eaten.
#7: Verify that houseplants are pet-friendly
A variety of popular houseplants and flowers in arrangements are poisonous to pets. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats, and must be placed where cats cannot access any part of the plant, including the pollen. Before bringing plants into your home, check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants and avoid poisonous varieties.
#8: Hang up purses, jackets, and backpacks
Many items that threaten your pet’s health are left in purses, coat pockets, and backpacks, so always hang them up out of reach. Your furry pal may sniff out sugar-free gum or candies, chocolate bars, medications, small toys, glue, erasers, or other toxic items that can lead to a GI obstruction.
#9: Keep breakable items out of reach
Porcelain, ceramic, and glass knick-knacks can be dangerous for your pet if placed where a swishing tail or batting paw can reach. If knocked to the ground, breakable items can shatter and pierce your pet’s paws, or cause extensive injury if pieces are chewed and swallowed. Place these items in a display case or high on a shelf where they cannot be reached.
#10: Secure trash cans
Unsecured trash cans can prove too tempting for many pets, who will dive for tasty morsels that may be spoiled or toxic. Bones, aluminum foil, congealed grease, and a multitude of other scraps can create serious problems, such as a GI blockage or pancreatitis. Store your trash can in the pantry or under the sink, or purchase a can with a locking lid to protect your pet from themselves.
If your pet encounters a toxin, swallows a button, or roots through the trash, despite your best pet-proofing efforts, our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team is here to help—give us a call.