Imagine this: You get home from a long day of work. You open up the door to your apartment, ready to put the day behind you, and find your plans have suddenly changed: Your cute, loveable, but often mischievous Pomeranian has decided to redecorate the inside of your apartment with what seems to be every roll of toilet paper in the place.
If this sounds like something that has happened to you, or like it could happen, your apartment may need to be pet-proofed. Not only is pet proofing good for you and your belongings, it’s a great way to make sure your pet is safe at home! A lot of harm can come to your furry friend in a living space that has not been properly pet-proofed.
So, what can you do to make sure your precious pet is safe at home when you’re gone? This simple list of ideas and suggestions will help keep your pets safe and secure inside your apartment without risking your security deposit.
What Is Dangerous For Your Pet?
All sorts of things pose possible threats to your pet. From toxic insecticides to fertilizers, pets have proven that they can and will get into just about anything when left to their own devices.
We often overlook things that could be dangerous to our pets simply because we don’t think of them as hazardous. Listed below are some things commonly left accessible to animals when we leave them for the day.
Prescription And Over-The-Counter Medicines
For obvious reasons, animals should not be taking human medications. Leaving a bottle of medicine where some pets can reach is just like leaving a rattling toy for them. After they chew it to bits, ingesting plastic along the way, they will more than likely eat all of its contents.
When we become pet owners, it becomes our responsibility to keep them in mind when we do anything. Spraying or bombing for insects can have an extremely negative effect on your pets if done improperly. Animals that are pets are generally fairly curious about the space around them, and if they smell something unfamiliar, they are likely to investigate. Keep them away from this list of items to help keep your pet safe at home.
Believe it or not, certain pets will get into chewing tobacco or even eat entire packs of cigarettes. Tobacco isn’t even good for us, and it’s definitely not good for our pets.
Extension cords are often necessary to set up your space the way that you like. While you probably keep them as far out of the way as possible, are they unreachable for a curious dog? Unless you specifically designed for it, probably not.
Rat Poison And Traps
Anything that has the word poison in it probably isn’t best for your pet. Make sure these items are kept securely and are only used as intended.
If you don’t have a specific place for your detergents, often people will lay them on the ground beside the washer and dryer. That clean-smelling liquid can attract the attention of your pet. At best, you may have a really fragrant mess to clean up, and at worst, you may find your pet has consumed something poisonous.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe at Home Alone
If you have a pet like a fish, pet-proofing your house is pretty simple, provided you don’t have any other animals to deal with. For those of us with more potentially ornery animals like cats and dogs, a few more steps are needed.
Regardless of your pet’s maturity, there are some safety features that are necessary no matter how well trained your pet is. These non-permanent fixes are some surefire ways to ensure your pet’s safety while left alone.
Avoid Leaving Cords Hanging
Not only wires hanging from TVs, games systems, computers, and appliances, but also the cords on your blinds or shades can entice pets that like to climb and pounce. Falling equipment and tangled cords can badly injure pets and cause unfortunate damage in your home. In order to protect your pets from cords, consider using a few plastic sleeves to keep the cables contained and out of your pet’s sight. If you think that cord covers won’t solve the problem, consider investing in furnishings that have hidden compartments for cords.
Close The Toilet Lid
Small or young pets may try drinking from the toilet and fall in, which can lead to your pet being at risk of drowning. Keeping the toilet seat down will, at the very least, keep animals small enough to fall in from getting stuck.
Be Aware Of Your Plants
Plants may seem to be almost simply decoration to most people, but they can be dangerous to your pets. Some plants are toxic to animals, and you should be aware of what kinds you keep in your home. The most common house plants that are toxic for animals are Philodendron, Pothos Ivy, Arrowhead Plant, Lilies, Caladium, and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. If you have any of these at home, make sure to keep toxic plants out of the reach of your little friend. When keeping plants in your home, be sure to consider their location and accessibility. Heavy pots on stands can also pose a threat to your pet.
Block Areas Off
Since it is unrealistic to put up or hide every single thing that your pet would like to chew on or play with or swallow, consider having a room with a lot of open floor space that stays more or less pet-proof throughout the day. Use pet or baby gates to keep them in this designated area when you’re away, ensuring they are comfortable and have enough toys to distract themselves. Conversely, if your pet is generally well-behaved but just has that one problem such as drinking out of the toilet bowl, you can allow your pet free reign of most of your apartment while keeping the doors to the bathroom or bedroom closed.
Your Pet Is Not The Only Thing To Protect
You also have to consider damage to the rental property. Some pets suffer such anxiety when their owner leaves that ‘accidents’ can happen. Couple that with a little nervous chewing and an untrained bladder and you may find yourself with damage to furniture and flooring. Pet beds, toys and scratching posts can direct pets’ energy and attention from the furniture. Crate training may be an option for younger puppies and kittens, and puppy pads and other similar products are very effective once you train your pet to use them.
You can also add protective coverings to your furniture, or use a tacky substance, such as paper or double-sided pet tape. This will discourage them from scratching or chewing. Maybe consider a pet proof rug that’s water absorbent to help prevent a mess. Scotchgard and no-chew spray are also viable options.
The animals we keep as pets are many and varied, but we love them all. Part of wanting them to always be safe and comfortable means we must always be paying attention to things that could potentially harm them.
Through a bit of preparation, you can ensure you don’t have to worry about your pets or your property whenever you leave the house. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can keep both your beloved pets safe at home and happy for many years to come.
Stefania Filizola is a design editor at Fixr.com, a website that connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for remodeling projects. She writes about home improvement tips and tricks to help homeowners make better remodeling decisions.