How to pet-proof your home

Living with pets is like living with small children. So, to help keep them safe and sound, you’re going to have to pet proof your home. And because every pet is different — some may get into everything and think all shoes and socks are chew toys while others are couch potatoes — your approach to pet-proofing your home should be tailored to the needs of your pet. Below, Expertise.com talks about some typical room-by-room safety hazards to consider before pet proofing and how to deal with them:

Sad Looking British Bulldog Tempted By Plate Of CakesKITCHEN SAFETY

The kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in your house for both you and your pets. You may know what items to avoid, but animals don’t see the same risks as you do in a hot stove, sharp knife or indigestible trash items.

The most effective way to make your kitchen safer for your pets is to make it inaccessible to them. For some pets, you can install a gate to make it impossible for them to enter the room without you letting them in. But this solution will probably not work if you have an agile pet prone to making tall leaps. In that case, you need to attend to each of the risky areas separately.

The garbage

Problem: This is probably the biggest risk area since kitchen garbage cans often hold tasty treats for hungry animals.

Solution: You can buy special garbage cans with lids that lock to keep your pets out. Or you can keep your garbage cans stored behind a pantry or cabinet door (although you have to be vigilant about keeping the door closed).

Cabinets

Problem: Kitchen cabinets contain any number of items that can cause problems for pets — toxic cleaning supplies, dishes made of breakable glass and sharp utensils, to name a few. Most animals aren’t able to open cabinet doors, but if you have a smart or savvy pet, you should be concerned.

Solution: Even the smartest pet should be foiled by installing simple child locks on your cabinet doors. You don’t have to worry much about the individual items in the garbage or cabinets as long as they’re stored in ways that make it impossible for your pets to access them.

BEDROOM AND LIVING ROOM SAFETY

Good news! For the most part, bedrooms and living rooms are pretty safe. Since these tend to be the rooms that pet parent spend the most time with their pets in, there are a few safety hazards that could cause problems.

Electrical cords

Problem: Dogs with chewing tendencies can cause a lot of frustration in what they ruin, but when it comes to electrical cords, the biggest risk isn’t to the cords themselves. You don’t want your pet to experience a jolt of electricity.

Solution: Wherever possible, keep electrical cords off the ground so they’re out of reach. If 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.

Choking hazards

Problem: Many small, everyday items you have around the house can become a choking risk for your pets. Jewellery, pens, batteries and paper clips — things you wouldn’t normally think unsafe — may cause serious injury if your pet thinks it could be fun to chew on.

Solution: Do a review of everything in your living room and bedroom that could be a risk and store it somewhere out of reach — either too high up on a shelf for your pet to access, in a closet or cabinet or in a box with a sealed lid that your pet can’t open.

Tall furniture

Problem: Small pets may have a hard time jumping on and off of tall pieces of furniture, especially once they start getting on in age. You don’t want your pets to hurt themselves just trying to get up on the couch to hang out with you.

Solution: Buy or build some steps or a ramp to make getting up to their favourite spot easier on them.

Deutscher Schäferhund auf dem BodenGARAGE SAFETY

Some pets have little reason to ever spend time in the garage while others might stay there on a regular basis, for instance, during the night or when you’re not home. If your animals will be spending any time in the garage, you need to make it pet proof.

Tools

Problem: Your tools can be a choking hazard and the sharper ones can cause cuts or other injuries.

Solution: Make sure you put them up out of reach. Depending on the layout of your garage, that could mean putting them in cabinets, in your workroom, or simply putting a lock on your toolbox so they can’t get into it. If you don’t have a good out-of-reach spot in your garage for your tools and don’t want to keep them in the house, it may be worth investing in some cabinets or a sealed off storage space.

Garage temperature

Problem: Although the inside of your home is kept at a comfortable temperature, most of us don’t think about the temperature in the garage.That’s all well and good, unless you’re animals are kept there for any length of time.

Solution: Unless you have a temperature controlled garage, the temperature inside will fluctuate with the weather. If it’s especially hot or cold outside, make sure there’s a fan, air conditioner or space heater (kept out of reach of your pets) in the garage to make it comfortable for them. If the forecast warns of extreme weather any time of year, find a place for your pets inside your home rather then risk serious injury to your pet such as heatstroke or frost bite.

Antifreeze and other chemicals

Problem: Many of the chemicals and cleaning supplies used in our homes, cars and on our lawns get stored in the garage and all should be kept well out of reach of our animal friends. Antifreeze in particular can be deadly to pets.

Solution: Wherever you figured out to put your tools to keep them out of reach, do the same for any chemicals and cleaning supplies. Make sure they’re behind a closed door, under lock and key or behind some kind of barrier that will keep your pets from getting into them.

washing machine and catBATHROOMS, CLOSETS AND LAUNDRY ROOM SAFETY

All these smaller rooms should either be treated as off limits to animals, or pet proofed along with the rest of your house. In particular, if you use one of these rooms to keep your animal in when you leave the house, or if you have a pet that treats one as a comfortable safe space, you need to make sure nothing’s accessible that could cause harm.

Medicines and chemicals

Problem: Items like cleaning supplies and prescription medication must be kept in a safe place. You have to be careful not to leave them out where your pet can reach them.

Solution: Keep them behind closed cabinets or high up where they’ll be out of reach. If you have a pet with a skill for opening cabinets, use some of those child locks we recommended for the kitchen.

Appliances

Problem: If you have a cat that likes to curl up in small spaces, your washer and dryer could become a deadly trap.

Solution: Make sure you always make a point to check the washer and dryer before you start it to confirm that your pet isn’t inside. And keep the doors to it closed in between use.

Toilet water

Problem: Toilet water is not the safest water for your pet to drink. You use chemicals to clean your toilet that you don’t want them ingesting. Also, it’s flat-out unsanitary.

Solution: First, make sure your pets always have clean water in their bowl so they’re not tempted. Next, keep the toilet lid down. If you find that’s not enough to keep your pets away (or you keep forgetting to close the lid), then you may consider buying a gadget such as “Drink No More” that sounds an alarm to let you know when your pet is heading toward the toilet bowl.

golden retriever puppy caught in the act of diggingYARD SAFETY

If you have a yard, your pet will likely spend a significant amount of time in it. Most yards are harmless, but for pets who are escape artists or your yard has plants that are potentially harmful to pets then you need to be careful.

Escape

Problem: A missing pet can be a terrifying experience. Beyond your own yard there are fast moving vehicles, other threatening animals and untrustworthy humans who might be tempted to steal your beloved furry family member.

Solution: A good fence is paramount if you let your dog out in the yard. Even if you think your fence is escape proof, you should make a point of regularly checking for spots in the yard your pet could fit through especially after windy days or big rainstorms, which could affect the integrity of the fence.

If you have a dog that’s a digger, try putting cayenne pepper along the edge of your fence, or burying an anti-dig yard guard product so they can’t get through even if they try. If your pet is a magician with special escape skills no matter what you try, technology can come to the rescue. Get a pet GPS tracker so you can pull up your pet’s location through an app the moment they disappear.

—Source: Expertise—connecting consumers with experts and empowering small businesses to thrive. Visit www.expertise.com for more info.