Most people know it's important to childproof a home where youngsters live, but many don't realize that the same precautions are necessary to keep pets safe from harm. The average residence contains many opportunities for a curious ferret, puppy or cat to get hurt, and many of our habits can lead to problems for our house pets. An ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. Take a few moments to consider what aspects of your home might be a problem by going through these guidelines. You can make most of the recommended changes quickly, providing you with confidence and your pet with safety.
House Pet Safety Guidelines
Make or purchase "Rescue my pet" stickers. These are available from many animal rescue groups, pet stores and fire departments. If you decide to make your own, include the type and number of each pet so emergency workers will know how many animals are inside your home.
Remove hanging cords from window blinds. Pets can strangle on these cord loops. While they can be replaced with other closure systems, you can simply cut through the loops to avoid tragedy.
Garages and basement workshops are often filled with paints, solvents and other chemical compounds. Knocked over by a wagging tail or jumped on by kittens at play, they can be deadly. Keep doors to these areas tightly shut so pets cannot enter.
Laundry room products can be hazardous to your pets. Spilled, they can cause eye inflammation and breathing difficulty in many animals. Keep them in sealed containers on shelves your pets cannot reach, or behind locked cabinet doors.
If your pets are climbers, be sure to always latch the door of the dishwasher and trash compactor. Remember, these often have food odors that can tempt your pets to get inside.
Stop using tablecloths that drape down where your pets can reach them - it is nearly guaranteed they will swipe at them, pulling the entire meal down with the cloth.
Your pet doesn't think of it as a trash can - your pet thinks of it as the other place you keep food. Make sure the kitchen garbage receptacle has a tight-fitting lid.
Consider the use of safety gates where appropriate. They can allow your pet to see what is going on in a particular room, yet prevent access.
Many indoor plants are poisonous; still more can cause illness when ingested. Be sure they are out of reach for your pets.
Finally, take a look around your home with the same interest and eagerness shown by your pet: get down on the pet's eye level if you can. The world looks quite a bit different from their vantage point. It's up to you to keep it safe.
Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2010, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, aspca.org
Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680
ASPCA Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 ($65 Consultation Fee)
Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 ($35 Consultation Fee)
Nationwide Standard Human Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 (FREE)