Tips on Pet-Proofing Your Home
Pets bond with our hearts so quickly. They’re loyal companions — at our side through thick and thin — offering up unconditional love all the time. They comfort us in so many ways. So, whether you are thinking of bringing home a new pet or you’re a seasoned owner, it’s always a good idea to look at the best ways to pet-proof your home and keep those cherished furry friends safe.
Lookout for Toxic Plants
Aloe vera is a popular houseplant that many homeowners adore for its unique, tropical appearance and healing properties. But this plant is toxic to both dogs and cats, and if ingested, it can cause vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea. Familiarize yourself with your pet's sensitivities, and police the plants used both inside and outside your home.
Use Essential Oils Sparingly
While you may enjoy the aromas of essential oils at home, they can be harmful to pets. If you have a dog, it’s good to know that they can be less susceptible to essential oils than cats since they are better able to metabolize the toxins. Unfortunately, cats can experience tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, drooling and even worse when exposed to essential oils like clove or citrus.
So, if you regularly use an oil diffuser in your bedroom, keep pets out. Consider avoiding the following essential oils if you have pets:
- Tea Tree
Be Careful with Candles
Candles are calming to humans, but they're curious to cats. Flickering flames that leap and dance along a wick can be too enticing to resist. And if your kitty succumbs to her curiosity, she could get burned. Open flames and super-heated wax are dangerous to pets, cats especially, because of their adventurous nature.
Cover Kitchen Garbage Cans
You might not think twice about tossing cooked chicken bones into the kitchen trash, but a puppy will find and eat them. Then, you could have a bigger problem than spilled garbage.
Cooked bones should never be given to pets, says the American Kennel Club. These bones can cause mouth lacerations, choking and intestinal blockages. They splinter when chewed, unlike raw bones, and are best kept far away from pets.
Raw bones are a better option. However, some vets will caution against giving your dog bones all together. If you do indulge, follow these simple rules:
- Wait until after a meal so your dog chews on the bone instead of trying to devour it.
- Give a bone that's too big for them to swallow whole.
- Limit your dog's time with the bone to just 15 or 20 minutes, then take it away and store it in the refrigerator.
- Toss the bone after three days.
- Always supervise your dog when he's enjoying a raw bone.
Before you bring home your new friend, inspect your garbage cans. Keep cooked bones and other tempting food scraps safely out of reach by using a trash can with a latching lid in the kitchen.
Consider the Not-So-Obvious
There are other hazards around the typical house for pets. Take a look outside for more plants that aren’t pet-friendly in your garden.
Now, take a tour of your home and consider places that might appeal to an animal. Are there dangerous places that they might try to hide? Is there anything laying out on the floor that they might try to eat? Cats may be drawn to the warmth of an open clothes dryer or escape through open windows. Dogs might try to chew on electrical cables or other odds and ends.
Use Child-Proofing Kits
A pet is a lot like a toddler — look for anything that rests near the ground that they might hit, chew or claw. You might be surprised by your pet’s ability to open cabinet doors, nuzzle the toilet lid open or climb up the furniture.
Thankfully, there are latches and locks meant for child safety that can keep your cabinet doors and toilet lid closed. Get a safety gate for stairs or other areas your pet isn’t ready to visit. Use corner pads, outlet covers and furniture protectors to keep your pet and furniture safe from one another.
Find out your pet's habits and level of curiosity. Then, do what you can to anticipate any issues. This will keep you both safer and happier as you cuddle comfortably with your new best friend forever.