Keeping your home safe is essential whether you’re the parent of a pet or a human infant. Both of them can get into all sorts of muddles and troubles, wreak havoc in the house and sometimes put themselves in serious danger. If you’ve watched The Secret Life of Pets on Netflix, you have a fair idea of the kind of fracas they can create. Kids and pets are innately curious, unafraid, and love to experiment. And this is a surefire recipe for disaster. In The How To Guide To Pet Proof Your Home, we look at some of the common predicaments that can happen. Of course, we don’t guarantee we’ll cover every possible eventuality – No one can! But here are some handy hints to keep your home and your pet safe.
Keeping your house clean when you have a pet is another ball game altogether. It takes consistent and regular cleaning and hygiene practices to ensure your family stays safe from allergies and diseases.
Apart from safety, pets can destroy shoes, carpets, clothes, upholstery, curtains, and even your favorite crockery and cutlery. In addition, they may tear up your bedding and cushions, accidentally swallow your jewelry, chew up toothpaste tubes, and more. “The dog ate my homework” is a genuine excuse for some kids!
Potential Pet Hazards In The Home
We sometimes forget that animal physiology is very different from ours. Though we do share several things in common, major differences do exist. Dogs and humans have a similar one-stomach system. But in humans, the digestive system performs many tasks, such as breaking down starch into sugar. In dogs, the crushing and biting are completed in the mouth, and the stomach completes the digestion. Dogs have a shorter alimentary canal. There are similar differences between cats, rodents, and birds.
Food Hazards: Certain foods, such as chocolate, are highly dangerous for dogs. It can cause seizures, stomach upset, heart problems, and allergies. Raisins and Grapes can damage kidneys in dogs. Nuts such as macadamia are responsible for neurological damage in dogs. Artificial sweeteners may cause a range of fatal consequences.
Plants: Pets may inadvertently eat plants in your garden. Lilies, if ingested, can cause kidney damage in cats. Other plants, such as tulips, daffodils, and azaleas should be kept away from pets. Oleander can cause gastrointestinal irritation and hypothermia in both cats and dogs. Peace lilies are commonly found in homes because they look good and clean indoor air. If eaten, they can cause mouth swelling, vomiting, and drooling in pets.
Toys: Marrow bones are a favorite food and toy for dogs, but they contain fat that can cause diseases such as pancreatitis. Smaller dogs can choke on them or have splinters stuck in their teeth. Plastic and rubber balls are choking hazards. Small toys can be swallowed and cause serious blockage and indigestion. Rawhide bones are a popular teething toy for puppies. If they chew off big pieces, they can swell inside the stomach and cause pain and blockage. Supervised play is the answer at all times.
Cleaning Products: Younger dogs are boisterous and playful and may accidentally ingest cleaning products such as dishwashing liquid, bleach, disinfectant, or even swallow a scrubber or sponge. In addition, cats are allergic to essential oils and certain types of room fresheners.
Prescription Medication: Well-meaning pet parents often dose their pets with human medication such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, or aspirin. Vitamins, supplements, and prescription drugs are dangerous for your pets. They should be given only animal-specific drugs and supplements recommended by a qualified vet. If such products are left lying in your home, your pet could accidentally ingest them.
How To Pet Proof Your Home
- Organize Your Possessions: Keeping your possessions out of harm’s way is important. Window blinds or curtain cords, tablecloths and linen, and things that swing are tempting for pets. Keep all food products safely out of the way. Cosmetics, medication, footwear, or books should be stored on higher shelves. Use a wire manager to take care of dangling electrical wires and computer cables. Give young kittens and puppies lots of chewy toys that are safe for them and satisfy their teething troubles.
- Pet Zones:It’s important to designate pet zones for your pets. This keeps your home more hygienic. Train your pet to urinate and defecate in designated areas only. Clean the kitty litter often and replace the sand in your dog’s run or yard if it goes outside to relieve itself. If you’re a pet parent who lets your furry friends sleep in your bed and have the run of the house, it just means that much more work. Human living spaces are not designed specifically for animals. When your pet is a kitten or puppy, training them to stay in designated areas helps them and you to pet-proof the home.
- Secure entrances and exits:Unless you want your pet to have a free-to-come-and-go life, ensure that you secure doors, windows, and ventilators. This keeps strays out and your pets safe. This is a good tip if you have hamsters, birds, or pet mice.
- Garbage: Keep your garbage can closed tightly. Apart from the disgusting mess, eating trash can be highly dangerous. Bones, rotten fruit and veg, and spoiled food can be toxic. Ensure your trash bin has a tight-fitting lid and can only be opened with a foot pedal.
- Toilets: It’s yucky, but dogs and cats can drink from the toilet bowl! Additionally, it’s a huge health hazard because of the chemical cleaners and fresheners you use. So keep your toilet lid down, and remember to lock the washroom door.
- Laundry:Cats love to jump into a pile of fresh, warm laundry. This is another dangerous place for them to be in. Buttons, shoelaces, string, and the smell of bleach can be life-threatening. Keep your laundry in a tightly shut hamper and ensure that your laundry cleaners and bleach are out of reach. Before you turn on the washing machine, always take a look inside. Your kitty or little doggy could easily have found it comfortable to nap there.
- Hidey-holes: Cats love to sneak into cabinets, cupboards, and closets. They may even jump into open drawers and dryers. Make sure you close these tightly every time after use. Pets love exploring but make it safer for them by installing interesting cat trees, dog runs, mazes, and other designated play areas where they can safely snuggle, hide, or take a nap.