Young pets are as curious as young children, except rambunctious kittens and puppies have jumping and climbing abilities that crawlers and toddlers have not yet mastered. As pets age, they’ll learn the ropes about what’s off-limits in their home and what’s not, but they still remain pets – which means they’ll always be curious and not always discerning about what’s best for them and what’s not. It’s smart to focus on pet-proofing your home in a variety of ways so your pets – young and old alike – stay safe and healthy.
1. Put Yourself in Their Paws
Childproofing experts recommend that parents get down on their hands and knees to see the world from a little one’s vantage point. Do the same if you’re a pet parent – and, this time, pay attention to possible pet hazards that you can see, reach, and smell like small objects under the couch or a broken wire fence. Imagine your jolly dog’s wagging tail too and remove any knick-knacks that might get knocked over in any enthusiastic moments.
2. Secure Cabinets
You probably keep cleaning products under the kitchen sink. And any bathroom item – from makeup to lotions – could potentially contain ingredients that are harmful to pets if swallowed. Beware of what you leave out on countertops, including medications and vitamins. Use magnetic child locks to secure cabinets that contain hazardous substances so you can prevent your pet from discovering poisoning cleaning products, pesticides, or foods they’re not supposed to have. A wise rule of thumb would be to evaluate all low cupboards and shelves to make sure your pet can’t easily access dangerous items.
3. Choose Plants Carefully
Many common house plants are poisonous to pets if eaten or even just chewed. For cats in particular, almost all lilies are toxic. If you must have greenery in your home, hang plants from above (in an area where they’re not easily leaped onto from another surface), rest them on out-of-the-way shelves, or secure them in small indoor greenhouses that are out of the reach of your pet.
4. Lock the Trashcan
If it isn’t feasible to hide your trashcan in a large cabinet or drawer, invest in a childproof lock so your pet can’t feast on what’s inside the trash should they succeed in tipping the can over. There might not be any foods in your trash that could harm your pet, but wrappers and packaging can be a hazard. Remember that chocolate, grapes, and raisins in particular can be fatal for dogs.
5. Get in the Habit
Keep your washer and dryer doors shut when not in use to prevent a curious animal from leaping inside. Always put toilet lids down. Keep the doors to off-limits rooms closed at all times. Clear the floor as often as possible to ensure that toys, clothing, and any other items that happen to be lying around aren’t going to tempt your animal to chow down.
6. Cord Free
One of the biggest strangulation hazards for children are window blind cords, which means they’re also dangerous for pets. Invest in cordless blinds, window cord safety locks, or at least make sure any cords are twisted up and far out of reach. Electrical wires are everywhere and your pet may consider it a hobby to chew on a rogue wire. Consider tamper-proof outlet covers, electric cord shorteners, and simply rearranging furniture strategically to hide any attractive-looking wires from nosy pets.
7. Get Your Gates On
A few strategically placed pet gates can help you keep your dog or cat contained in certain areas of your home, but be wise about the types of gates you install. Avoid putting a pressure-mounted gate at the top of a staircase – a pet (or person!) leaning on it could shift the gate and cause a fall down the stairs. Consider the talents of your pet as well – you may need extra-high gates to dissuade jumpers.
Taking the time to plan for your new pet’s arrival, or to safeguard your new home before moving in with your dog or cat, can save you and your pet from an emergency clinic visit. Should you have a pet emergency, the Northpointe Veterinary Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for fast and comprehensive care.