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10 Simple Steps to a Pet Proof Home

When you bring a new furry friend into your home, a pet proof home is essential so that your new buddy is safe from dangerous and potentially lethal situations.  Pets, just like children, are naturally inquisitive and it’s true that curiosity can kill the cat – or dog – if you don’t protect them properly.   Take a careful look around your home with this checklist to make sure it’s pet friendly and safe:

  1.  Plants need to be out of reach or safe. This is often overlooked.  You can search the Internet or check your local library for a list of poisonous plants – pets can be lethally poisoned after simply chewing on a few leaves of a plant.  Either get rid of poisonous plants or make sure they are out of reach.  Keep in mind that cats are exceptional climbers and even hanging plants can be reached if furniture is placed near them.
  2. Check for small spaces at pet level.  Spaces we don’t usually notice – like the small spaces behind our washers, dryers and refrigerators – will intrigue curious pets.  Unfortunately, they can often squeeze in and then not be willing to back their way out.  Without enough room to turn around, they can become stuck and become terrified waiting for you to rescue them.  Block these areas with wood, vinyl or some other material to keep little explorers out.  This also prevents your pet from losing their toys under your appliances.
  3. Always, always keep toilet lids closed.  You’d be surprised by the number of kittens who drown each year after falling into toilets.  Many dogs are also poisoned or fall ill from drinking out of toilets that contain bleaching agents or cleansers.
  4. Wrap or hide power cords.  Puppies and kittens have a penchant for chewing, and power cords are particularly enticing. Whenever possible have them covered or securely fastened down.
  5.  Child proof latches are a must for all cabinets and doors in a pet proof home.  This keeps inquisitive little paws from being pinched and will keep your puppy or kitten from getting into cleansers, foods or other products they shouldn’t have access to.

    Pet proof home with safe, child proof lock on cabinet doors

    A child proof lock on cabinet doors keeps pets safe.

  6.  Window blind and drapery cords are especially dangerous because they usually have a loop at one end that a puppy or kitten can become entangled in and hang themselves.  Be sure that all cords are tied too far off the floor for pets to reach them, wrapped securely around a bracket or that the loops are severed completely.
  7.  Always check before closing drawers and closets.  Cats are particularly prone to slipping into small spaces to curl up for a quick nap and if you aren’t careful, you could shut your kitty up in a drawer or closet without realizing it.  You’ll hear undignified protests in the middle of the night if you shut kitty up in the linen closet.
  8. Invest in secure trash cans. If you have smaller dogs or dogs that don’t generally get into the trash to root around for delicacies like bread crusts, leftover hot dogs and moldy cheese, a trash can with a secure or locking lid will do the trick. If your pet is determined to get the lid off, you may need to keep your trash can inside a locked cabinet. It’s a hassle, but less troublesome than having your pet’s stomach pumped.
  9. Remember that everything looks fun to your pets.  They have trouble distinguishing between toys and precious objects like your favorite shoes, eyeglasses and cherished photos, so be sure you keep irreplaceable or valuable items safely out of pet territory!
  10. Neatness counts in a pet proof home. Puppies and kittens are curious about things you might not even notice, like the paperclips strewn over your desk or the magic markers the kids leave out on the coffee table. Ingesting either of these could mean a trip to a veterinary hospital for emergency surgery. Put away clutter and keep it out of reach when you aren’t closely supervising your pet. Leaving out temptations such as your favorite shoes can seem like an invitation to a puppy who hasn’t yet learned what he’s allowed to chew on and what is off-limits.

Once you’ve done everything on our checklist, go through your home one more time with a “pet’s eye view” in mind to make sure you truly have a pet proof home.  It can help to get on your hands and knees (really!) so that you don’t miss anything.  Look for anything that might be dangerous and correct the situation to ensure that your new best friend is safe and happy in your pet proof home for years to come.

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