Pet Proofing Your Home

Samatha O’Boyle, CVT
Veterinary Information Specialist
Pet Poison Helpline

Puppies, kittens, ferrets…..oh my! What do these snuggly critters have in common? They can be mischievous and can get into unexpected amounts of trouble.

You may have previously thought your home to be safe, but your new furry friend has turned your home upside down. Toxins and medications are not the only concerns you should be worried about. Small crevices, wires, trash cans, food and knick-knacks left on the counters. All of these are new play toys (what pet would want an expensive toy when they can steal your TV remove and play with the batteries?)

Go through room by room and pet proof as you go.

Living Room/Offices

  • Move or cover cords and any electrical wires to that they can not be played with or chewed on. You can even purchase wire covers or bands to help keep them neat and tidy away from curious pets.
  • Cover any fireplaces with a fire screen even when not in use.
  • Secure any heavy or precarious furniture with wall hooks.

Kitchen

  • Make sure garbage cans have lids that can be closed and secured.
  • Keep any chemicals or cleaners put away when not in use. Place child proof locks if your pet is talented or extra crafty.
  • Block small spaces that can lead under appliances or behind the refrigerator (make sure your cat does not climb into the dishwasher like mine does).
  • Keep surfaces clear of any clutter that a cat might knock off onto the floor for your dog to ingest (contrary to popular belief dogs and cats sometimes work as partners in crime).
  • If possible, consider installing a baby gate to keep pets completely out of the kitchen.

Bedrooms

  • Another important room to move or hide electrical cords if possible. Pets can get under beds and nightstands like little bugs.
  • Tie back drapes or blinds to prevent climbing and make sure cords are not available as a present a choking hazard.
  • Place mothballs inside of drawers or in a location they cannot be reached. It would be even safer to consider not having mothballs in the house at all. They are very toxic to pets and carry a very narrow margin of safety. Even one mothball can be toxic.

Bathrooms

  • Keep toilet bowls closed to prevent a pet from ingesting any toilet bowl cleaners.
  • Place any medications in drawers or the medicine cabinet and keep them shut.
  • Keep sinks clean of any toothpaste residue to prevent accidental ingestions by visiting kittens.

Laundry Room

  • Close washer and dryer doors when not in use, if they are left open check them before starting since inquisitive kittens may like to lay inside a recently warm dryer.
  • Store laundry cleaners and other chemicals inside a cabinet.

Garage

This may be one of the hardest rooms to keep safe since pets may not spend much time in them. It may even be better to not allow a pet access at all.

  • Keep all tools in locked boxes and pick up any screws or nails that might fall on the ground during work.
  • Check flooring for an oil, antifreeze or other hydraulic fluid that may have leaked during car work. Pick up any drainage pans immediately.
  • Roll up/wrap up any electrical cords.

Backyard

  • Identify plants with a local nursery to determine toxicity risk. Remove any plants deemed toxic.
  • Examine yard periodically if trash has ever been thrown into your yard.
  • Store pool chemicals, fertilizers, etc. in a storage shed or elsewhere.
  • Use small decorative fences to section off un-safe parts of the yard.

They say that home is where the heart is. We keep our homes safe for our human children and they same should be done for our furry ones. It is important to not become complacent. Just because mans best friend has not been naughty before does not mean the mood will not strike them randomly, and of course it will be when you least expect it.

Helpful Resources:

https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/pet-proofing-your-home/

https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/pet-proofing-home-yard/