Dog and cats, especially young ones, can be curious. Unfortunately, not all pet dangers are totally obvious. Keep furry friends safe and sound by handling all of the potential hazards before you even bring them home.
Pets can get into everything and escape through even the tiniest opening. From the bathroom and laundry room to the office, kitchen, garage, and even the great outdoors, there are some expected and unexpected hazards your pet might face.
Here are some tips for keeping your furry companion safe in your home.
Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
Food is, of course, the most common kitchen-related problem. And the best-known dangerous food is chocolate, but other toxic foods include avocados, grapes, even onions, and coffee.
In the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, some hazards are apparent: cleansers, detergents, fabric softeners, bleach, medications, vitamins, and even dental floss can all be lethal if eaten or swallowed.
In the laundry room, dogs may be tempted to chew on towels and stray socks, which can lead to severe gastrointestinal problems. Some ideas for keeping them include:
- Place medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves.
- Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking harmful cleaning chemicals.
- Use childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets.
- Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet.
- Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn’t harmful, the wrapper could be).
- Block off any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinets or behind washer/dryer units.
- Kittens love warm piles of clothes, so make sure you always close your washer and dryer doors.
Family gathering areas.
Fortunately, there typically aren’t too many dangers lurking in these gathering rooms, but there is some potential. The fireplace is something to keep a close eye on. Flames and flying ashes can harm pets, so be sure to invest in a screen.
Wires and cords can also be a problem; chewing on a plugged-in cord can electrocute a pet. Be sure to keep cables tucked away or covered. Doing this will keep them out of your pet’s way and also will leave your room looking neater. Some other things to do in these rooms are:
- Put away children’s toys and games as they can be choking hazards.
- Put away knick-knacks until your cat has the coordination not to knock them over.
- Check all those little spaces where you can’t fit, but your puppy or kitten can. Look for dangerous items, like batteries or string.
- Move common house plants that may be poisonous out of reach. Don’t forget hanging plants that can be jumped onto from nearby surfaces.
- Make sure all heating and air vents have covers.
- Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread.
Aside from the dog chewing on your good shoes, bedrooms are reasonably safe as well. But as always, it’s smart to err on the side caution. Keep jewelry, hair clips, pins, and bands away from exploring pets.
Another potential hazard is mothballs. They’re toxic, so if you use them, be sure they’re in a place your pet absolutely can’t reach. Ensure you implement the following ideas as well:
- Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors. Drawstrings and buttons can cause major problems if swallowed.
- Be careful that you don’t close your kitten in closets or dresser drawers.
- Keep any medications, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces — like the bedside table.
- Move electrical cords and wires out of reach of chewing.
Garages and basements.
Garages and basements are two areas where a pet will likely spend the least time. Unfortunately, they are both areas that are highly dangerous no matter how much time a pet spends there.
Because these are areas outside of the main house and protected from the elements outdoors, they are places where deadly chemicals and other potentially lethal items are stored. Other things you can do include:
- Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors.
- Keep all sharp objects and tools out of reach.
- Clean all antifreeze from the floor and driveway, as one taste can be lethal to animals.
[Incorporating bloodwork into your pet’s annual wellness care will allow your veterinarian to evaluate their overall health, including any hidden dangers. Check out our services page for more information.]
Spring is here and you and your pets will naturally want to spend more time outside. But just as food in the kitchen can be a problem for pets, so can plants in the garden. There is any number of plants that can cause problems. Compost, cocoa-based mulches, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and other garden chemicals can all cause problems for pets. Your first line of defense is keeping things stored away safely and out of reach. Here are some more ideas:
- Install a fence around the yard to keep stray animals out and pets in.
- Put a barrier around gardens to keep pets out.
- Remove poisonous plants from the yard, and check with a knowledgeable nursery before planting anything new.
- Just like inside, the fireplace can be a source of danger. Never leave pets alone when a fire pit is in use.
- Add fencing around pools to keep unaccompanied pets away.
- Schedule regular flea and tick control services.
- Use an enclosed shed to store pool or spa chemicals or keep them in a cabinet in the garage.
While it might feel like a lot of work, pet-proofing your home early on will save you a lot of headaches or heartaches in the future. Take things one step at a time, and make sure you follow through with behaviors that will keep your dog safe in every space of your home.