You may think your home is a relaxing haven away from the outside world—but for your unsuspecting pet, your home contains a multitude of dangers. Protect your furry pal from potential hazards in your home by scheduling a day to pet-proof each and every space, inside and out. Here are seven ways to get you started on pet-proofing your home.

#1: Install locks on cabinets and drawers

Although your four-legged friend doesn’t have opposable thumbs, they are often exceptionally skilled at nosing or pawing open drawers and cabinets that contain toxins. If your pet is too talented for their own good, install child locks on cabinets that contain chemicals and toxic foods, and drawers that hold sharp knives and cooking utensils.

#2: Secure your backyard

The backyard may be your favorite spot to hang out and relax, but a fence may not be enough protection from dangers for your furry pal. Check your fence regularly for security and gaps or holes. Walk around looking for poisonous plants that may have sprouted, and refrain from using harsh, chemical-laden herbicides and fertilizers that your pet can walk through or lick. 

#3: Create boundaries in your home

You may not be able to keep certain home areas completely pet hazard free. But, baby gates, closed doors, or exercise pens can prevent your pet from potential dangers, such as food in the kitchen, dropped medication or cleaning chemicals in the bathroom, or freshly applied lawn fertilizer. 

#4: Be aware of poisonous plants

Many popular plants and flowers that bring color and light to homes and gardens are poisonous to pets. Before filling a vase with brilliant blooms or updating your landscaping, check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants. Some of the most common plants toxic to pets include:

  • Azaleas
  • Autumn crocuses
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Lilies
  • Sago palms
  • Tulips
  • Hydrangeas
  • Pothos
  • Daffodils
  • Hostas
  • Oleander
  • Yew
  • Cyclamen
  • Kalanchoe
  • Amaryllis

Depending on the plant your pet ingested, they can experience signs ranging from mild vomiting and diarrhea, to cardiac arrest or kidney failure. Whether your pet eats the petals, stem, leaves, or roots also determines the clinical signs and their severity.

#5: Avoid sharing food with your pet

No matter how much your furry pal begs for a handful of your trail mix, or a spoonful of sugar-free peanut butter, stay strong and resist their soulful stare. Many of your favorite foods can be toxic to your pet, so avoid sharing:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocados
  • Foods with onions and garlic
  • Sugar-free foods sweetened with xylitol

Other foods can be hazardous to your pet because of the high-fat content, which can trigger a pancreatitis episode, or because they can cause a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction. These foods include:

  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Bones that contain meat
  • Citrus fruits
  • Salty snacks
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Nuts

#6: Give your pet only prescribed medications

Medications are a major problem for pets, especially if they gnaw on a pill bottle they found in a purse or backpack. Keep your pet out from underfoot when taking your own pills, in case you drop one. When rubbing ointment on sore joints or skin issues, prevent your furry pal from licking the area to avoid ingesting the product. Stash tasty chewable vitamins and supplements out of your pet’s reach, and ensure they cannot reach their own medications, because these products are formulated to be flavored or chewable, to entice pets to take them.

If your pet is sick or injured, do not medicate them with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. Pets do not metabolize drugs like people, so many products are toxic to cats and dogs. Dosing also varies greatly, so do not give one pet another pet’s medication, as the prescribed dose can be too high and cause toxicity.

#7: Watch out for wires

Electrical cords, metal wires, and strings all pose serious threats to your pet’s health. While a rubbery cord may seem like a fun chew toy, your pet could receive quite the shock and suffer from electrical burns in their mouth. Wire can pierce the mouth, stomach, and intestines, while string can wrap around the tongue and wad up in the intestinal tract, requiring surgical removal. Keep cords covered or out of your pet’s reach, and pick up other tempting “rope toys.”

If your pet manages to find a household hazard despite your pet-proofing efforts, contact our Lebanon Animal Hospital team for help.