Basic Pet Care
5 Tips to Pet-Proof Your Home
The smartest way to avoid an accident is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Cats and dogs never intentionally wander into trouble, but they are curious creatures and opportunists. To keep your pet out of danger and away from harm, take these precautions:
Seal off escape routes
Don't give your pet the chance to go exploring without you. An open door or window or a fence with a hole or missing section are all invitations to roam, which is why a microchip and updated HomeAgain membership are essential. Remind friends and family to be careful to close doors and windows, and determine if there are any other ways your unaccompanied pet might get out.
Protect against poisons
Protect pets from ingesting anything that could make them sick. Dangers lie both inside and outside the house. Inside, make sure your cat or dog can't access food that isn't intended for pets. Since many cleaning products are made with ingredients toxic to pets, they also should be stored out of reach. If you use antifreeze, know that pets and wild animals in your area both find it irresistible due to the sweet taste of ethylene glycol.
Secure the trash
What's considered garbage to you might taste like a gourmet meal to your dog or cat. Spoiled food and ingredients not intended for pets can make those who scarf it down ill. To keep them away from your discarded bounty, use a pedal-operated trash can they cannot open.
Shield cords and wires
To humans, they deliver electricity. To pets, they're chewables – and gnawing one can lead to burns or even electrocution. If possible, keep cords off the floor and blocked from pets. Otherwise, invest in a deterrent. Options include bad-tasting sprays and wire guards. If all else fails, disconnect wires before leaving your pet alone. And while you're inspecting for potential danger, pick up anything left on the floor and put away sharp objects that pets can reach.
In addition to keeping cabinet doors closed, also keep the toilet lid down and the dryer door closed. It's amazing the tight spots dogs and cats can get into! Tamp down mischief by tiring your pet out with daily exercise and playtime.
Susan Breslow is the former Head of Publications for the ASPCA and the author of the children's book "I Really Want a Dog." She writes about pets and people and cares for rescued cocker spaniels