Inquisitive pets can quickly go through nine lives if they follow their noses into trouble. Your home, garage, and yard hides many hazards that can harm your furry pal, and potentially prove fatal. Here are five ways to pet-proof your four-legged friend’s living space and keep them safe.

#1: Think like your pet

Put yourself in your pet’s paws and look closely around your home. What lies under your furniture, or within reach on a coffee table or countertop? You may not realize how many hazards exist in your home, until your pet sniffs them out. Go room by room and carefully investigate every accessible area for potential dangers. Check for:

  • Exposed electrical cords
  • Floss
  • Medications
  • Insecticides
  • Disinfectants
  • Detergents
  • Razors and sharp utensils
  • Mothballs
  • Tobacco
  • Rubber bands
  • Houseplants
  • Batteries
  • Coins
  • Plastic bags
  • Food

You may think your pet would not bother chewing these items, but think again. Pets eat the oddest things, and when in doubt, it’s best to keep everything out of your pet’s reach.

#2: If you can’t lock it up, place it out of reach

When safeguarding your home for your pet, use many of the same methods parents use to keep their children safe. Child locks are easily installed on cabinets and drawers, and locks for your toilet and trash can are available. Keep electrical cords out of sight with plastic covers, and ensure batteries are always securely installed inside devices. Lunch boxes and backpacks are also dangerous for pets, because they are filled with snacks, small toys, calculator batteries, rubber bands, paper clips, and other hazards, and your pet can easily follow their nose and root open a zipper. If you cannot block your pet’s access to a dangerous location—like installing a baby gate to your kitchen—place hazardous items such as cleaning chemicals out of reach on a high shelf or inside a locked closed closet. 

#3: Learn common household toxins

Knowing the dangers in your home is half the battle, but then you must block your pet’s access. The top 10 toxins listed by the ASPCA include:

  • Human over-the-counter medications
  • Human prescription medications
  • Food
  • Chocolate
  • Plants
  • Household toxins
  • Veterinary products
  • Rodenticide
  • Insecticide 
  • Garden products

Once you have your home pet-safe, go outside and consider your yard. Check the ASPCA’s toxic plant list before planting your garden. When you spray chemicals, ensure your pet stays off the lawn until they can safely walk on the grass again. Then, check your garage. Keep pets out of the garage when you change your vehicle’s oil, add antifreeze or wiper fluid, or spray pesticides, and keep all products well out of reach. When in doubt, assume every chemical is toxic to your pet.

#4: Pick up choking hazards

While many pets and kids are best friends, they can often get into mischief together, especially if your furry pal is the vacuum cleaner. Encourage your child to pick up toys, not only to keep them intact, but to prevent their four-legged best friend from choking. Tiny figurines, puzzle pieces, Legos, craft supplies, and all sorts of children’s activities can be a GI hazard for your pet. 

Other common choking hazards include buttons, string, shoelaces, and pet toys and chews. If your pet is a particularly powerful chewer, they can gnaw off pieces from clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, and their own toys that can lodge in their throat or become a GI obstruction. Always pick up anything that might appeal to your pet as a chew toy as you walk around your home. Aso, routinely check your pet’s toys for wear and tear.

#5: Block off dangerous hiding spots

Small pets, cats in particular, enjoy curling up in tiny areas that make cozy resting spots, but small spaces can be dangerous if they burrow in. Keep your pet from finding hazardous hideouts by installing covers on heating and air-conditioning vents, plugging gaps and holes around plumbing and major appliances, and ensuring your window screens are hole-free. Better yet, keep your windows closed if your pet can reach them. As a final precaution, double check rooms, closets, washing machines and dryers, and dresser drawers before you close them to ensure your pet doesn’t get trapped. 

If your pet-proofing efforts weren’t as successful as you hoped, our Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital team is here for you and your furry pal. Give us a call if your pet needs veterinary care after getting into something they shouldn’t.