How Do I Make My Home Safe for a New Pet?
Just as new parents have to baby-proof their home, new pet owners have to make their home safe for the new dog or cat..
Welcoming a new pet into your home is an exciting time. However, it can also be quite hectic. Just as new parents have to baby-proof their home, new pet owners have to make their home safe for the new dog or cat (or whatever animal it may be). But don’t stress! We have compiled a quick list of ways to prepare your home for your new family member.
8 Ways to Make Your Home Safe for Your New Pet
“In the midst of all that care and cost, many pet owners don’t think to look to the risks that exist for their pets in their own home,” says Lora Morris, Expertise. “The average home is filled with items that could potentially harm a pet.” Be on the lookout for these hidden dangers.
Don’t Be a Grouch – Pet Proof Your Trash Can
“The kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in your house – for you and your pets,” says Morris. And one of the most vulnerable areas is your garbage. “Trash cans are a mecca of interesting and exciting smells,” says Jason Nicholas, Preventive Vet. What is obviously trash for you, is not obvious to your pet. So, it is often best to invest in a trash can with a latch or locking mechanism. Or, if you’d rather not buy a whole new trash can, you can add some common baby-proofing devices to make your existing trash cans more secure.
Window Treatment Woes
“Every pet loves to peer out of the window to watch for their owners coming home and to bask in the sunshine on those sunny days,” says Stacey Sibley, creative director of interior designers Alexander James Interior Design. Unfortunately, window treatments – particularly the cords – can pose a very real threat to your pets. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), window cords are one of the top five “hidden hazards” in the home. “Your cat could strangle themself by getting the cord wound around their neck or choke on a plastic pull that they’ve chewed into pieces,” warns The Humane Society of the United State. This is why we recommend Cordless Window Treatments.
Little Houseplant of Horrors
“Some plants we find lovely can be poisonous to our loved ones,” says Morris. Fortunately, all it takes is a little research to make sure you purchase pet-friendly plants from now on. We recommend you reference the ASPCA Animal Poison Control’s list of poisonous plants and flowers. Several of your favorite holiday plants, such as poinsettias, are on the list.
Not only are some holiday plants hazardous to your pets, but some decorations can pose a risk too. For instance, “plastic eggs, if ingested, can rip tears in the digestive system,” says Brittany Gibson, Reader’s Digest, while “Easter grass and tinsel are attractive, but deadly.” Other common holiday items to be on the lookout for include balloons (choking hazard), candy (illness), fireworks, turkey bones, and certain Christmas ornaments.
Cleaning Up Cleaning Supplies
“From household cleaners, detergents and glue, to yard and automotive chemicals, most homes are bound to have a few toxic substances that need to be locked up,” says Nicholas. Don’t expect the cabinet door to be a safe enough barrier. “Most animals aren’t able to open cabinet doors, but if you end up with an especially smart or savvy one, you need to be concerned,” says Morris. A few well-placed child locks are all you need to keep these chemicals safely away.
Young puppies and even some cats are known to chew and explore. So, it is important to hide cords and cover outlets to prevent accidental shock.
“Wherever possible, keep the cords off the ground so they’re out of reach,” says Morris. “In the instances where that’s not an option, you can try to block them with furniture, tape them to the walls so they’re less tantalizing to your dog, or try a product designed to discourage chewing like a cord cover or chew deterrent spray.”
Batten Down the Hatches
Cats, in particular, are quite the escape artists. So, it is important to keep your doors and window screens secure to prevent any unwanted romps through the neighborhood. You may even want to look into cat-proof window screens that better stand up to tiny claws.
Don’t Forget the Backyard
The backyard can be full of potential hazards. Unfortunately, some of these may be out of your control. What you can do is “keep an eye on your pet when they’re in the yard and do occasional sweeps to look for anything suspicious so you can dispose of it,” says Morris. Be on the lookout for potential choking hazards (sticks, rocks, fruit pits) and make sure to constantly check your perimeter to make sure your fence is in tip top shape.