We all love our furry friends – that’s probably why the ASPCA estimates that around 37-47% of households in the U.S. own a dog, while 30-37% own a cat. Bringing home a loving domestic animal who can keep you company with entertainment and affection can be a wonderful thing, but it’s important to know that most households are brimming with items that could harm, or injure your newest family member. After all, something as simple as tossing an old razor into the trash, or leaving a chocolate bar on the kitchen counter could spell disaster for your pet.
When you decide to adopt a four-legged friend, it becomes your responsibility to keep them healthy, and out of harm’s way. Following, we’ll cover just some of the hazards you’ll need to address, and what you can do to keep your home safe for your furry family members.
1. Toss the Toxins
Stopping your dog from drinking antifreeze might seem obvious, but there are actually more toxins in the average house than you might know. While keeping your pet indoors is generally a good idea when you want to protect them from the unknown dangers of outside, there are various risks that they could be exposed to behind closed doors, including everyday products and items like food, cleaning chemicals, and even decorations.
Take the time to wander around your house and remove or secure any item that might seem toxic, including:
- Cleaning supplies
- Automotive chemicals
Remember, antifreeze in particular has a sweet taste for animals, and can be particularly deadly to your pets. If you can’t keep it locked behind a garage door, you might need to place that particular chemical in your home safe, alongside a few other important items.
2. Stay Secure with a Home Safe
When it comes to running a secure household, a home safe isn’t just useful for keeping your valuables out of the hands of burglars, and away from the threat of fire. Since many household items can be lethal to your pets, you might choose to lock some of the biggest dangers away. After all, dogs and cats can be particularly crafty when it comes to tracking down and opening things they’re not supposed to have.
Medications are one of the items that you could benefit from storing in a safe – particularly as pets are quick to snatch pills from nightstands and counters. According to the AVMA, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as antidepressants, ibuprofen, and antidiabetics are the most dangerous.
It’s also worth using your safe to protect small, valuable items that could become a choking hazard to your pets. Jewelry, tiny keepsakes, and more can easily become lodged in an animal’s throat. Simply take a visual inventory of everything in your living space that may be a risk, then determine whether you had best store it in your safe, or somewhere else.
3. Pick Appropriate Plant Life
Most of us enjoy using plants as a way to spruce up an interior space, or access clean, fresh air. Unfortunately, some of these blooms can be poisonous to our pets, meaning that it’s important to evaluate your options before you go shopping for greenery.
While cats in particular enjoy nibbling on plants, other animals can be just as prone to this behavior, so determining which are toxic is essential. For instance, ingesting even a tiny amount of Easter Lily can be enough to cause kidney failure in cats. Other dangerous options include:
- English Ivy
- Narcissus Bulbs
While you can apply a bitter-tasting deterrent to plants, it’s safer to remove unsafe options from the home entirely.
4. Wrap Up Wires and Electronics
When pet-proofing your home, try to think like your furry friend to get a sense of what might be dangerous to them. If you’re really committed, it may be worth getting on your hands and knees and taking a dog’s eye-view of your surroundings. Look around and inspect areas that your pets can access through climbing or jumping, then remove hazards like wires, strings, and choking hazards.
Choking, electrocution, and strangulation hazards are particularly important to watch for in rooms that are generally full of electronics. Your television and games wires may be essential for you, but they can be extremely dangerous for your pets, so cover them when possible. At the same time, try to keep your window treatment cords cut short to prevent cats and dogs from getting tangled.
5. Keep Pets Out of the Kitchen
Finally, there’s often more danger for your pet in your kitchen than in any other room of the house. After all, your dog doesn’t know that a hot stove will burn them, or a sharp knife might cut them when they attempt to jump up and see what you’re doing.
If your furry friend is prone to digging through the trash, make sure they don’t have the opportunity to find bones, glass, and other items that can obstruct the throat or tear the intestines. Also, remember that moldy foods are brimming with toxins that can cause convulsions and muscle tremors. Often, the best way to keep your pets safe in the kitchen, is to keep them out of the room entirely with a door or pet gate.
Defend Your Furry Friend
A pet is a wonderful addition to any household, but it’s important to make sure you have the knowledge and understanding to keep them safe. After all, your pets can’t look after themselves, so it’s up to you to protect them.