How-to Pet Proof Your Home

It is important to pet proof a home with the same diligence that new parents do when they baby-proof their homes before the arrival of the new baby. Unfortunately there are major sources of potential hazards for our pets including foods, plants, and every day household items.

Be Careful What You Share

Fun food for people aren’t always as fun for our fun-loving furry friends. While these “treats” may be just a few added pounds to us, it might be an unexpected health hazard for our pets. For example:

Chocolate can cause stomach upset, heart arrhythmias, seizures, and even death. In general, the darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is, with white chocolate being the least toxic and baker’s chocolate being the most lethal. Both grapes and raisins have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. It is well documented that onion and garlic cause red blood cell damage in cats and dogs. Some nuts, like macadamia nuts, can cause weakness and neurologic signs in dogs. To be safe, pets should only be offered treats made specifically for them. Hartz offers a complete line of tasty treats made just for cats and dogs.

Pet Proofing Plants

Its a common misconception that plants and animals are good for each other. The  truth might actually be just the opposite. Hill’s mentioned that lilies, especially Easter and Tiger lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats, even if cats ingest just a small amount of the plant. Other plants to be careful of include azaleas, daffodils and tulips. All plants should be kept out of reach of pets, keeping in mind that cats can reach places thought to be inaccessible.

I found a great pet product that helps keep my plants safe and my furry friend happy. It was cat grass. Cat grass is not a specific kind of plant, but a grass mixture that is grown from seeds, such as wheat, barley, oats or rye. Do not confuse this tasty safe treat with outdoor lawn grass, which has the potential to contain toxic pesticides. Cat grass comes ready for purchase at national pet stores and as DIY packages.

Everyday Household Items

Where do you place your cell phone when it needs to recharge? Do you have your television, cable modem, and desktop lamp plugged into the same outlet? These are the types of everyday household items that your cat might love to investigate- and maybe even bite. I suggest you tie-up all hanging electrical cords and keep them off the floor and out of reach. Also, try sitting on the floor and looking around to see what items jump out at you from that level. You would be surprised what dangers present themselves when you find yourself 7-8 inches off the floor.