Whether you’ve got dogs, cats, rodents, potbelly pigs, birds, ferrets or rabbits, there are hazards within your home that these pets could get into which can do them real harm. Actually, any pet that chews could potentially be at risk, if you’re not aware of the materials presenting dangerous opportunities for them. Unwitting animals have absolutely no idea what’s safe and what’s not until they get into it. It’s your job, as pet parent, to pet-proof your home, just as you’d toddler-proof it for children. Furry kids need protection, too, so learn how to keep pets safe from common indoor hazards.
Most pets are curious by nature. Couple that natural inclination towards inquisitiveness with boredom and you’ve got a recipe for mischief. As pets explore our homes they discover all sorts of new sights and sounds, some more appealing than others. But more house pets than not chew, so don’t be surprised to find any of the above-mentioned animals — and a handful that weren’t — chewing on electrical cords. According to veterinarians, this destructive behavior is not limited to rodents. Cats and dogs of all ages and a sizeable portion of the inhabitants of Noah’s ark chew, and chewing an electrical cord will lead to shock and possibly death.
Cleaning Products & Medication
Like kids, household-cleaning products are among the leading culprits for pets struck ill within the home. Currently, small children and pets are falling victim to the inviting allure of dishwasher gel packs and ending up in ERs at an alarming rate. Bottles of cleaning fluids, drain cleaner, bleach, lighter fluid, just about anything under your sink is hazardous. The problem is these products often get left out and bored pets looking for something to do find them. The same goes with OTC and prescription medications. If your pet has enough time on their paws, they can get into them, or at the very least start a nice dent.
Hazardous Building Materials
While the crusade for the reduction of lead and asbestos has been making headway over the last couple decades, there’s still a lot of it around — especially if you live in an old house or apartment. Certainly the last few layers of paint may not be hazardous, but how about the 10 coats or so beneath it? And it isn’t just paint. Linoleum, drywall and other building materials may contain it. That’s why it’s important to keep animals from eating chipped paint or chewing on baseboards and door frames. Even ingesting a small amount could be fatal for small pets.
Food and the ability to stay at a comfortable temperature are both a necessity and a luxury many people take for granted. Pets, though, are at the mercy of their owners when it comes to these creature comforts. They depend on us to not only provide them with food, but to provide them with safe food. If you’re a pet owner, it’s up to you to research which foods are dangerous to your particular pet. For instance, garlic, onions, chocolate, grapes and many other foods are toxic to some pets. If you’re going to feed them people food, find out if they can have it first.
Also, make sure and provide your pet with the proper climate it needs to thrive. Animals can be extremely temperature sensitive. Birds don’t like drafts and cold, rabbits and brachycephalic animals can easily overheat, and creatures like iguanas and hedgehogs can go into hibernative states that include a slowed heart rate and increased opportunities for susceptibility to illness if the temperature drops.
Houseplants are another hidden hazard that are right out in the open. Animals that chew and forage are drawn to these attractive nuisances just as easily as they’re drawn to the other materials mentioned. Not all plants are dangerous to all animals, so it’s important that you acquaint yourself with your specific pets and the foliage that could in turn create a health crisis, indoors and out, should they indulge in it.
Now that you’ve read this, take a moment to go through your casa and see if there’s room for improvement regarding pet safety in your home — and let us know if we’ve missed anything on our list of tips for keeping pets safe from common indoor hazards.