When buying or renting a new home, it’s likely we’ll consider all the safety aspects of having humans in the house, especially little ones. However, whilst over fifty percent of all homes have pets living in them, do we take the time and trouble to consider them, as much as we consider adults and children?
Our four legged, feathered and finned pals need just as much consideration and thought putting into what will, after all, be their home too. After all, they’re a huge part of the family as well.
Here, we’ve put together a guide to making sure your home is as pet safe as it is human safe.
Plan around your pets carefully
If you’re just about to move home, consider the place you’re moving to and the environment around it. For example:
Do you live on a high-traffic street?
Is the neighborhood well populated or quiet?
Are you surrounded by open space or countryside?
Is your abode a multi-storey dwelling like flats or apartments?
Think about whether your beloved pets are the type of animal that will make a dive for the door and disappear outside, or whether they’re quietly content to wander round the house. Do you have a dog or cat that is uncomfortable around non-familiar guests? Are your pets at an age when they might find tackling a lot of stairs or steps an issue?
Most importantly of all, think about the household items we all have and use that are not toxic to humans, but potentially very damaging to animals.
It can help to take these initial points into consideration before you move and see how just a little planning beforehand can go a long way to keeping your beloved pet safe.
Get down to your pet’s level
When you’re baby or child proofing a new home, a rule of thumb is to try and get down to their level and get a child’s eye view of things. The same can be said of your pets. Put yourself in their place, crouch down on all fours and look around to see how differently everything appears.
Are there trip hazards? Areas they could get bumps and grazes? Where are the places they could easily access by climbing or jumping?
General advice on pet safety at home
Alongside those initial thoughts, here are some other points to consider:
Keep window blind cords short, and make sure there are no loops in them. The same goes for any wires or other items in the house that could potentially cause a strangulation hazard.
Unplug or over over any wires and electrical cords to prevent choking, strangling or electrocution.
Make sure pets cannot easily climb to access worktops and kitchen surfaces, even removing tea towels or anything that hangs from cupboards can help. Animals can often get cupboards open to access what’s inside, so consider locking them shut.
Never leave foods or medications out on work surfaces where they can be accessed.
Keep kitchen garbage and food waste neatly tied up or away from pets to stop them rummaging. A good tip is to regularly sprinkle baking soda on your trash bags or recycling to eliminate any attractive food odors that might keep Fido coming back for seconds.
Why is keeping trash to a minimum so important? Well, there are many potential choking hazards in bin bags – not least the bags themselves which can be dangerous. Things like chicken bones, fruit stones and cores can cause harm to inquisitive pets. Stones from fruit can also be poisonous to some animals as can the caffeine from coffee grounds and the sugar from chocolate. Anything that contains artificial sweetener can also be harmful too.
Only consider indoor plants that are non-toxic to pets. Many people don’t realise that flowers such as lilies can cause fatal illness in our feline friends. Other plants that can make pets ill include: amaryllis, poinsettia and aloe vera.
In the bathroom keep the lid of your loo down, most especially important if you use automatic bowl cleaners, to stop pets falling in, or ingesting any cleaners you may have put down there.
Make sure your pets cannot easily access open windows, or that if they can, you have screens installed that are sturdy and can prevent them from falling through. Vets have now coined a condition called ‘High Rise Syndrome’ due to the increasing numbers of cats that are falling from open windows.
Make a pet safe space at home
Pets will often try and sneak into small, dangerous spots in the home at any opportunity. Therefore, it makes sense to give them their own small, safe space to live in that will keep them away from some of the more hidden spots.
A hazard free spot with a comfy pet bad, source of water and some safe toys will be more than enough.
Near this make sure there is a place to wash feeding bowls and some storage for any pet accessories you may have.
Pets that are well looked after, including having the requisite amount of exercise are less likely to become naughty and want to explore. They’re also more likely to sleep better at night (and thus in turn less likely to disturb you). If it’s possible to do so within your home in Perth, create a pet area with cat or dog door access to a fenced-in yard, garden or dog run so that they can head outdoors at their leisure.
Make sure your pet’s toileting needs are properly taken care of
Ginv your pet safe space to take care of their toileting needs is not only sensible, but also essential in terms of their physical health.
If you have a pet that doesn’t feel safe using a litter box, they won’t – and they’ll let you know they’re not comfortable too!
Litter boxes should be placed away from feeding areas and in a place that’s private, but not too isolated away from everyone else.
If you have older pets they should ideally be given an area at ground level and they should also have access to wee pads.
These sorts of considerations are also very important if you’re not at home for long periods of time during the day and your pets have to look after themselves. As well as making sure toileting needs are met, you’ll also have to ensure that there is a pet fountain within easy access, so they can drink fresh water
If you have a pet that is especially curious and nosey, consider crate training them or blocking off a small, safe area with a baby gate to keep them from harm.
Think about pet-safe flooring and furnishings
Pet safe flooring is as much about keeping work to a minimum for you, their owner, as it is about keeping your beloved animals healthy and well! Opt for furnishings or fabrics in leather or washable suedes that can be wiped clean, spot cleaned or not affected too negatively by the wear and tear that pets cause.
If you end up inheriting furniture and flooring that isn’t ideal, then you’ll have to become a master at monitoring stain removal and keeping everything well disinfected. The longer a stain is left to hang around, the worse it will be to remove and also – the more likely Fido is to sniff it out and commit a repeat offence!
Although many homes are carpeted, it’s not the best choice for those who have pets. However, if you do have to have carpet choose a color that will mask pet hair and also one that is more stain resistant and easy to spot clean.
For non-carpeted floors, think about using either hardwood with a urethane finish for long wear and easy clean, or opting for ceramic tiles or another non porous hard surface flooring for a more durable long wearing type of floor cover.
A groomed pet is a happy pet
It’s easy to underestimate just how much keeping your pet groomed can keep them healthy and safe. If you regularly bathe and de-fluff your furry friends you’ll spend less time cleaning the house, and keeping their nails trimmed and ship-shape will reduce the chances of them scratching themselves.
Finally, make sure you pay attention to flea and tick prevention and control. If the pests are already on your pet, then it’s likely that flea eggs, pupae, and larvae are in your carpeting, bedding, and yard and will need to be tackled as soon as possible to prevent further infections and infestations.
Looking into these tips and tricks and getting your home ship-shape and pet ready will go a long way to not only making your pets happy, but also keeping them well and safe. Our furry friends are as much a part of our family as anyone else and deserve to be cherished, pampered and looked after as well as possible.