How to Make Your Home Pet Friendly

In one of our past posts we discussed how you can budget for a new family pet. In today’s post we’ll discuss how you can make your home pet friendly in preparation for your new furry friends arrival.
Most American households include a beloved pet, but are we really considering their comfort and safety when we bring them home?

Sure we love them, play with them, feed them and so on, but what more can you do to ensure their happiness and wellbeing?

Examine the Problem

Every pet can be frustrating and messy at times, but it is important to examine your house and lifestyle before blaming your pet. Ask yourself, “Is this a pet problem or a people problem?”
For example, is your dog constantly getting into the bathroom garbage? It might seem as though your dog has a behavior problem, but might actually be a people problem. The solution could be as simple as closing the bathroom door when you’re not around. You could even try getting a garbage can with a lid. Changing your routine or placement of items is usually the easier fix!

Avoid Harmful Ingestion

Keep toxins and Poisons out of reach of your pet. This includes medications, household cleaners, and plants, but also food that may be hazardous to your pet. Animals are drawn to smells and can and will eat things that are bad for them.

Empty your garbage cans frequently and keep a tight lid over them; or conceal them where your pet can’t access them. It will save you from cleaning a big mess, but might also save their life.

Common poisons and hazards for dogs:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Nutmeg
  • Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions, garlic and chives

Common poisons and hazards for cats:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Milk

These substances can cause diarrhea, liver failure, strokes and more in your pet, even in small doses.
If you think your pet may have ingested something poisonous call the ASPCA poison control center at 888- 426- 4435.

For a complete list of toxins refer to the ASPCA website.

Inspect Your Home

Just as you would baby- proof your home for an infant, you may need to pet- proof your house as well.
This may sound silly, but by crawling around your house on your pet’s eye level you will be able to spot hazards lurking behind furniture and even out in the open.

Is there anything they could get caught in, injured by or otherwise find trouble? You may need to cover a few outlets, shorten some blind cords, cover electrical cords, etc. It’s always a good idea to fix, remove, or cover anything that could harm your pet.

Dedicated Pet Area

Creating a comfortable place for your pet to relax and sleep is very important. Animals instinctually want a space that is warm, soft, and comforting.

A soft bed or blanket placed in a warm corner is the perfect place for your pet to relax. You can also add a toy or two to encourage them to play in this area as well. However, be cautious about choosing toys that are appropriate in size, strength, and material for your pet. Choosing a chew toy too small for your dog or cat could result in choking, injury, intestinal blockage or worse.

Make sure water is readily accessible in a safe location and that it is easy to drink from. Find a place to store their food, toys, and accessories so that you have control over your pet’s access.

This also applies to small animals such as birds, fish, and rodents. The area in which you place their cage is very important. Make sure to avoid drafts, extreme heat, fumes, high ledges, etc; anyplace that causes stress, breathing problems or extremes in temperature or a risk of falling.

Birds, rodents and other small pets like to be able to hide, so placing them in a corner rather than the middle of a room will cause them less stress. Avoiding windows is a good idea as well. Some animals may see outdoor animals as predators and will always be on guard. If appropriate for your pet, purchase a safe hiding toy to help them feel secure.

How do you ensure that your pets are safe and happy at home? Let us know in the comment section below.

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