Home Safety for Pets: Fido-proofing your home
You’ve made sure to carefully dispose of anti-freeze and other chemicals that could poison your pet. You’ve cut mistletoe and “icicle” type tinsel from your holiday decorations, and moved potentially poisonous plants out of pets’ reach. You’ve switched from bait to traps for keeping rats and mice out of your home. Did you know there could still be dangers lurking about for Fluffy or Fido? Pet-proofing your home can save thousands in vet bills, not to mention regrets and heartache.
Is your best friend a garbage-hound? Dogs and cats who knock over trash cans are more than a nuisance: They are putting themselves at risk. Spoiled food, cigarette butts, chicken bones and coffee grounds can make your dog very ill, a very unpleasent ailment colloquially known as “garbage gut”. Avoid the problem by buying puppy-proof trash containers with tight-fitting lids, or removing the temptation entirely by closing the trash in a room that’s not accessible to your pet.
Electrical cords can provide a shocking chew-toy, especially to young, bored or teething animals. Some cats seem to have a plastic deficiency in their diets, and will chew incessantly on electrical cords. Remove cords from kitty or puppy’s reach, and consider covering cords with tape or specially-made pet-proof covers.
Foods that represent tasty treats to us may be dangerous to pets. Chocolate is the most commonly known hazard, but apple seeds, raisons and grapes also pose a threat. Some dogs positively love apple slices; just be sure to remove the cores before allowing your pet a fruity treat. Apple and other types of seeds contain minute traces of arsenic, which can cause seizures in dogs.
Pieces that come off worn-out or inappropriate toys can pose a choking hazard. Be sure to check your pets’ toys regularly to be sure they’re intact. Toys that have pieces falling off or small parts should be removed. Rotating toys regularly helps keep your pet interested and entertained, and reduce the risks of inappropriate chewing.
Be aware of how curious pets can be when exploring their environments. Places like open heating vents are an invitation for a kitten to crawl in. A warm dryer might seem like a great spot for Fluffy to curl up for a nap. Be sure to check dryers, dishwashers and cupboards before closing, and be aware of where your pets are at all times.
Bird-owners must also consider their pets’ ability to fly. Ceiling fans are extremely dangerous to our feathered friends. Teflon-coated pans offer up another danger: When overheated, they release toxic fumes that are fatal to birds. Toilets and other water sources are dangerous to small pets. They may fall in and drown before they’re missed. Be sure to close the lids, or close the bathroom door, and supervise caged pets while they roam free, especially in unfamiliar areas.
A few simple precautions will save you, and your pets, heart-ache, vet visits and worry.