How To Pet-Proof Your Home
From those playful snakes (your power cords) and fun shaker toys (your medication bottles) to the yummy chew toys (your leather shoes) and the big drinking bowl in the bathroom (yes, we know it’s gross, and, yes, we know they do it), your home is a treasure trove for curious cats and dogs.
Keeping pets safe is our first priority — and we wouldn’t mind keeping our possessions intact! How do you do it?
Keep It Simple!
Often, the simplest solutions are the most effective. In this case, a closed door or a baby gate can restrict your pet’s access to certain areas of your home. Since many dogs and cats love the smorgasbord you keep in the kitchen (the trash), keeping them out is both a safety measure and a sanity-saver. Likewise, closing or blocking the doors of your bedroom, home office, or bathrooms with gates confines their exploration to more appropriate places!
Treat Your Furbaby Like a Baby
Like small children, pets are inquisitive. Some simple precautions help keep them from harming themselves in areas to which they do have access. These include:
- Using electrical outlet covers and powerstrip covers
- Installing safety locks for cabinets containing cleaning supplies, food, medications, etc.
- Placing unsafe objects out of reach (lotions, medications, vitamins, craft items, such as needles and thread).
- Making sure all heating/air vents have covers.
- Removing plants that may be toxic to pets (e.g. aloe vera, certain types of lilies, coleus, and the holiday favourites poinsettia and mistletoe.) or hanging them well out of reach.
- Using bread ties or zip ties to wrap up loose, dangling cords. If you can, hide the wires behind furniture.
Whip Up Some Kitchen Magic
We know that some cords cannot be completely hidden. Since they are pet-magnets (especially for teething kittens and puppies), try this little DIY trick. Mix a tablespoon of petroleum jelly, two teaspoons of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of red pepper flakes. Cover the exposed wires in this goop. It will deter Fluffy from trying to wrangle with your wires again.
And no, you won’t have to do this for the next decade. Your pet will soon start avoiding dangerous wires with this simple training.
Stop Unauthorized Snacking
A treat here and there is fine, especially if you are reinforcing positive behaviours in your pet. But when your pet digs into the food container or roots through the trash, it can be risky. Not only is he consuming too many calories, which is detrimental to his health, he may eat food scraps, wrappers, or other objects that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even intestinal blockages.
Keep food in a pet-proof container. If that doesn’t stop your determined dog or cat, put it out of reach (e.g. on top of the refrigerator, in a cabinet, or behind a closed pantry door).
Invest in a trash can that your pet cannot open. A metal can with a step-on lid will do the trick for most cats and dogs. If your pooch is big and especially food-driven, installing a pull-out trash can in a cabinet is the best bet. And if it is an ongoing problem, you might consider going back to step 1: blocking off access to the kitchen altogether.
Check Small Spaces
Kittens and puppies can fit themselves into the tiniest of places, and they often venture into spaces you wouldn’t expect. Make sure you:
- Check the washer and dryer before you turn them on, even if you typically leave them closed. Better safe than sorry.
- Close the toilet lid and/or the bathroom door. While the thought of drinking from the toilet is, to use the technical term, icky… the water also contains cleaning chemicals and poses a drowning threat.
- Check your drawers before you close them.
- Examine the nooks and crannies that your vacuum cannot reach to ensure there are no choking hazards, such as string.
Use Strategic Crate Training
Now, cats simply will not stand for this, so this tip is for dog owners. When you crate train properly, you create a safe space for your pup. This is his “bedroom,” and it is often helpful for him to go relax when you’re out of the house for longer periods. This will keep him out of trouble and spare you from returning home to a couch that looks like it’s been mauled by hungry wolves.
For many of us, our pets are like our children. Pet-proofing is quite similar to baby-proofing a home. Get down to their level and see what looks enticing for curious cats and dogs. Removing, locking up, or blocking off access to hazards — and offering fun chew and squeak toys — allows them to play and explore safely.
Check out the link below for some more helpful tips to keep your pets safe!