Pet-Proofing and Home Remodeling
When bringing a pet home for the first time, it is important that its new environment is a safe one, particularly if it is a free-roaming animal such as a cat or a dog. In preparation for one's newest addition, the house or apartment should be made pet-proof. Pet-proofing a home means making changes that prevent animals from easily accessing the things that may cause them harm. This crucial step must be taken to ensure their safety both indoors and outside. Even families that currently have a pet must ensure that it is safe at all times, particularly when changes such as home remodeling are taking place. To be most effective, it is important that pet owners know what it takes to create and maintain a safe environment for their dog, cat, or whichever type of creature that is in their care.
To pet-proof the home, the first step is to evaluate each room for items that can cut, poison, choke, or otherwise suffocate their pet. Household cleaners and detergents, which are most frequently found in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas, should be kept closed and in secured cabinets that a pet cannot easily nudge open with its paw or nose. Poisonous products and chemicals such as antifreeze, paint thinner, or fertilizer can also be found in garages. Chemicals kept in garages should all be stored in tightly closed containers and placed in cabinets or on shelves. In the event of a spill, it should be cleaned immediately before an animal has the opportunity to lick or step in it.
In kitchens, the garbage poses an enormous threat to pets. It can contain objects such as bones that pets can choke on. Additionally, it can contain chocolate, coffee grinds, and other foods that are considered poisonous to cats or dogs. Some animals may even tip a garbage can over and suffocate if their head becomes trapped inside of an empty bag or box. Ideally, kitchen garbage should be kept in a can that has a lid to secure the contents.
Bathrooms are not only places where chemicals are found, but they also represent a drowning risk and should in most cases be off-limits to pets. If bathrooms are accessible to animals, eliminate the drowning risk by closing toilet lids when they are not in use and never leaving pets alone when the bathtub is filled with water. Medicine cabinets should be kept closed at all times, particularly in homes with cats that can jump onto countertops. In addition, no medications should be left on bathroom counters, as they may easily be knocked over. Throughout the home, cover electrical cords and wires or keep them high enough to prevent pets from choking or chewing on them and potentially electrocuting themselves. Small or sharp objects should be kept off of the floor and off of surfaces where pets can reach them. Instead, store items like this in a safe location where they cannot be played with. Other things to be cautious of and check for include poisonous house plants and decorations. Heights can be dangerous for pets, too. Reduce the risk of pets falling from windows by installing pet-proof window screens. To keep pets off of stairs or out of certain parts of the home, one may use a baby gate to close off the area.
During home renovations, pet owners must take steps to ensure that family pets are safe from accidental harm. The best course of action is to leave the pet with a friend or family member who lives outside of the home. If this is not an option, keep the animal in a room that is not undergoing renovations, preferably one that is the farthest away from any loud or potentially frightening sounds. Before letting the pet loose, check for any dangerous items that may be left on the ground or within reach, such as nails, broken glass or paint chips, or open or spilled chemicals.
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