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A lot of work goes into maintaining a safe home. There are smoke detectors to check, germs to disinfect and chemicals to watch out for. And if you have pets in the house, there are even more specific needs to consider. You want your furry or feathered family members to be just as safe as everyone else, so check out these seven pet safety tips.
1. Sweat the small stuff. Anything that’s smaller than your fist is a choking hazard for your pet. Colorful rubber bands, small toys, string and even small tools look like a chew toy to your pet, so make sure they’re out of reach. Do a sweep room-by-room and try to think like your pet: What looks tempting? What’s eye-catching?
Note: If you have multiple pets, keep in mind that a small toy meant for a tiny cat is a choking hazard for a big dog. Just because it’s meant for one animal doesn’t mean it’s safe for every animal!
2. Don’t tempt with trash. Cats and dogs both seem to love the smell and taste of trash. Avoid tempting them by securing your trash with a lid or taking it out before leaving them alone in the house. A trash-diving session is more than a hassle to clean up. Seemingly benign items (like chicken bones) can be dangerous for your pet to gnaw on!
3. Double-check your plants. Indoor plants do a lot of good – from cleaning the air, to making us happy to adding a pop of color – but some of them are toxic to animals. A few common houseplants that can be toxic if ingested include: amaryllis, poinsettia, lilies, mums and aloe vera. But this list is by no means complete, so check the ASPCA’s list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants if you’re not sure about one of your potted plants.
4. Check for danger zones. That space behind your refrigerator? Yeah, your cat or small dog could get trapped there. Do a quick check in your home for places where your pet could get stuck. Seal any openings you find by moving furniture or filling the cracks with other items (like stacking books under furniture). Also, look for “ladders” that your pet could use to climb onto tables (like chairs). Either remove the “ladders,” or make sure those tables are danger-free.
Tip: It may seem a little silly, but it helps to get down on all fours and see things from your pet’s eye level.
5. Watch your windows. So many cats and dogs fall out of windows that vets have given it a name: High-Rise Syndrome. Only open upstairs windows if you can monitor your pet when they’re near the open area, and make sure your window screens are sturdy throughout your house.
6. Think about the bathroom. Your bathroom is a hotbed of pet trouble. Always keep your toilet seat down, especially if you use automatic bowl cleaners (the residue can poison your pet). Make sure all medication is locked away because curious pets can gnaw through plastic and get into pills. Sharp objects like fingernail clippers and hair scissors should also be kept out of reach or in a drawer.
7. Pet-proof your yard. If your pet is going to be spending any time in your yard, make sure your mulch, flowers and fertilizer are all pet-safe. To make sure all of your bases are covered, read: Pet Proof Your Yard.
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