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Cats and Dogs, Safety

Making Your Home a Safe Environment for Your Pets

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

White cat with orange collar and blue eyes laying with white shaggy dog on a white/grey blanket.

Home is where your pet is- but is your home safe environment for Fluffy and Fido? The average home is filled with potential hazards for your pet and the unthinkable can happen in a matter of seconds. Whether you’ve had your pet for years or your preparing to bring home your first, it’s a good idea to make a habit of regularly assessing your home for pet safety. Not sure where to start? Check out our list.

Making Your Home a Safe Environment for Your Pets


One of the most obvious environmental dangers for pets is household toxins– many of which come in scents that may be appealing to curious noses. To make matters worse, many of these products are commonly stored in lower cabinets, right at your pet’s height. Cleaning products, insecticides, rodenticides, solvents, fragrance sprays, detergents, medications, soaps, certain plants… the list of household toxins is quite extensive. To keep your pet safe, always store toxic items out of your pet’s reach. An upper cabinet or shelf is a great place for these potential dangers, or lower cabinets with child-proof locks will work. Here are a few other tips:

  • Keep the toilet lid closed to keep your pet from drinking toilet water and potentially ingesting chemicals.

  • Keep any dangerous plants out of your pet’s reach

  • Always put dangerous materials away immediately after use

Think your pet is safe just because you use natural and non-toxic household products? Think again. The list of household toxins doesn’t start and end with cleaning supplies; in fact, your kitchen garbage can could be the biggest offender in your home. You’re probably familiar by now with the foods to avoid feeding your pet*, but that doesn’t mean your pet can’t still get to them without your knowledge. Leftovers on the table or countertops or scraps discarded in the trash can be tempting for our dogs and cats who don’t know better. We recommend a trash can with a latching lid to keep Fluffy and Fido from dumpster-diving while you’re away.

*These foods include (but aren’t limited to) chocolate, xylitol (an artificial sweetener), alcohol, coffee, onions, raisins and grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, and chives. The best practice is to always avoid feeding your pet food unless it is specifically formulated for their dietary needs.

Choking hazards

Dogs and cats are inquisitive creatures and generally, their first instinct is to use their senses of smell and taste to explore their world. Even the most innocent items can pose a health hazard if they’re small enough to fit in your pet’s mouth. Always be sure to store small items out of your pet’s reach. Surprising choking hazards to look out for include pens and pencils, batteries, jewelry, coins, paper clips, screws, and small children’s toys. Get in the habit of checking floors and any surface within your pet’s reach for small items before you leave a room.

Electrical cords

Dogs (especially puppies) are notorious chewers. While destructive chewing can sometimes lead to frustration and the headache of having to replace your favorite shoes, the stakes are much higher if your pup turns his attention to electrical cords. In addition to a shock hazard, a playful pet could easily pull items onto themselves if they’re playing with cords. Dogs aren’t the only pets that can be tempted by cords. Ferocious feline play can quickly escalate from innocent batting at cords to biting. Whenever possible, keep cords out of your pet’s reach, or cover them with a cord cover specifically meant to protect cords for pets.

Fire safety

Never, ever leave a pet unattended around an open flame. Always practice fire safety when cooking with an open flame or using candles or a fireplace. We encourage you to practice home fire drills with your whole family (including your furry family members) at least once a year. Having a detailed and practiced fire evacuation plan can ensure that everyone makes it out of your home safely in an emergency situation. Here are a few emergency evacuation plan details to consider:

  • In an emergency evacuation, who will be responsible for getting your pet(s) out of the house?

  • Where can you exit your home in the case of a fire or other emergency situation? Can you easily and safely get your pet out using these exits?

  • Do you have a designated area to go after you exit your home?

  • Do you have a plan for your pet’s necessities (food, water, medications, etc.)?

  • Is your pet microchipped, or is the information on their tags current?

  • Will you have a first aid kit easily accessible?

Pet Fire Safety Day is June 15th. A few things you can do to help safeguard your pet in the case of a fire are:

  • Place a window cling to a prominent front window to alert firefighters that you have pets inside. Write down the number of pets in your home.

  • Keep your pet’s collar on at all times, with updated contact information.

  • If you kennel your pets while you’re gone, place them near entrances where firefighters can easily locate them.

  • Stove and cooktops are common home appliances to blame for house fires- typically because knobs can be turned on by accident. Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers when not in use.

For more pet fire safety tips, go to the American Red Cross.

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