While your home might be safe for you and even your young children, there are a number of hazards in every home which can unwittingly put your pets at risk. Animals can get into places people can’t, and young animals especially can be particularly inquisitive. Whether you’re getting a brand new puppy or kitten or simply want to make sure your home is as safe as it can be for any existing pets, this guide will do its best to help you.
Poisons – As with children, any pills or products containing potentially dangerous chemicals (for example cleaning products such as bleach) should be kept well out of reach. This means high up and preferably secured with child-proof latches; animals can be remarkably good at opening cupboard doors. Additionally certain types of food are poisonous to pets; chocolate, for example, can easily kill a dog.
Electricity – Wires should be tidied well out of the way wherever possible, and if not they should be covered with special, purpose-made wire covers. Make sure there are no wires dangling from things such as lamps and telephones; your pet could pull them down onto themself and get hurt.
Water – This one may seem silly, but water hazards around the home can pose a real danger to your pet. The toilet, for example, can be surprisingly dangerous. Smaller pets can jump into it and even drown, while larger animals such as dogs can poison themselves by attempting to drink from it and ingesting harmful chemicals.
Windows and Doors – When you first get new pets, especially if they’re young, unvaccinated and/or not yet neutered, you should always keep them inside. As such, you need to make sure your doors and windows are secure (the latter even more important if you live in a block of flats); making or buying special pet screens can be particularly helpful in ensuring this.
Open Flames – This may seem like an obvious one; most people know that having a fireplace guard is pretty much a necessity should you have an open fire and pets or children around. However, you also take care if you habitually light candles or burn incense: you should never leave pets around these unattended.
Small Objects – Any small object (or even some larger ones if chewed up sufficiently), sharp or otherwise, can potentially be eaten by your pet, which can cause any number of problems further down the line.
Appliances – Always check inside appliances before turning them on. Cats in particular really like climbing into washing machines, especially as they’re usually warm inside. As a rule you should leave the doors of ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and washing machines closed to prevent any tragic mishaps.
About the author: Katherine Suggs is the proud owner of two cats and a dog, none of which have met with any mishaps in her home. Photo courtesy of Mariana Figueroa.