Pet-proofing your home is essential for your furry pal’s safety—and the safety of your clothes, shoes, furniture, and most prized possessions. While you likely consider your home as being your safe haven, your abode may not be as safe for your pet as you think. However, after you thoroughly pet-proof your home, you will likely develop peace of mind, knowing you have done everything you can to prevent your pet from being injured in their safe haven. Our Pioneer Animal Hospital team shares six items you need to help make pet-proofing your home a breeze.
#1: Safety locks to keep pets out of cabinets and trash cans
Pets are amazingly resourceful at figuring out how to open cabinet doors and garbage can lids. Using locks provides an added layer of security from the following pet hazards:
- Food scraps — If your trash can does not have a lid that locks, store the bin behind a closed door to prevent your pet from getting into forbidden snacks and garbage.
- Household cleaners — Many household cleaning products contain chemicals—bleach, ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, phenol, and isopropyl alcohol—that are toxic to pets. To prevent your furry pal from ingesting household cleaners, store these products in cabinets whose doors can be securely locked.
- Medications — Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications for people are potentially hazardous for pets. Store all medication out of your pet’s reach in a secure cabinet. In addition, never give your pet medication their veterinarian has not prescribed for them.
#2: Pet gates to block access to dangerous areas
The easiest way to keep your pet safe in certain areas of the house is to install pet gates. This allows you to choose if and when your pet is allowed into that area and protects them from hazards. Pet gates are especially helpful to keep your pet out of these home areas:
- Kitchen — While the kitchen is one of your home’s most popular gathering spaces, this room is also one of the most hazardous for pets. Many foods we eat contain ingredients that are toxic to pets, including chocolate, grapes and raisins, xylitol (i.e., birch sugar), and garlic. Install a pet gate that you can close to keep your furry pal out of the kitchen when you are preparing or serving foods, and prevent them from sneaking a taste of any food that could make them sick. In addition, for your pet’s safety, store foods out of their reach and clear the table immediately after eating.
- Stairs — Staircases can be dangerous for extremely young and old pets who could easily fall and injure themselves. A pet gate at a staircase’s top or bottom can help prevent your pet from injury. In fact, you may decide your pet will be safer if you block off an entire level of your home.
- Front door — If your pet is a door dasher, put them behind a pet gate when someone rings the doorbell. By keeping your pet behind the gate, you help ensure they won’t make a run for it, potentially getting lost or injured.
#3: High shelves out of your pet’s reach
Decorative items are important to making a house a home, and being able to look at a favorite souvenir from your travels can bring back special memories. You don’t have to hide away these precious items if you put them on shelves that are too high for your pet to reach. By displaying special items on a high shelf, you protect them and your pet. Keep the following items out of your pet’s reach:
- Knick-knacks — If your pet breaks or ingests a fragile item or small knick-knack, they can experience a laceration or choke.
- Plants — Many popular houseplants and flowers are toxic to pets. To determine whether your plants could poison your pet, check out the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List, or simply move household plants to high shelves out of your pet’s reach.
#4: Cord covers to prevent your pet from being shocked
A curious pet who mistakes a cord for a chew toy can receive a life-threatening shock. Keep cords and wires covered or safely out of your pet’s reach. Always keep an eye on your pet to ensure they do not chew an electrical cord.
#5: Pet-safe garden products
Your yard is where your pet spends their outdoor playtime, and unexpected hazards can transform this fun paradise into a danger zone. These garden products can potentially harm your pet:
- Fertilizer — Many fertilizer products are not safe for use around pets, or they may have a required drying period before your pet can return to the grass. Read package labels carefully to determine when your pet can safely venture out onto the grass after spreading fertilizer.
- Pesticides — Pesticides are poisonous and have devastating effects on pets. To prevent your furry pal from being poisoned, choose pet-safe alternatives and natural pest control methods.
#6: Durable fencing to keep your pet contained
Ensure your pet is safe and secure while frolicking in the backyard. Walk your yard’s perimeter, and locate and repair any fence gaps, missing or broken boards, and holes dug beneath. In addition, ensure fence gates stay closed and latched.
Pet-proofing is the best way to help ensure your pet remains safe while at home. The essential items we recommended here can help make your pet-proofing tasks easier. If you have questions about pet-proofing, or would like to schedule your furry pal’s wellness exam, contact our Pioneer Animal Hospital team.