When you bring your new pet home for the first time, you want to make sure that they are comfortable
and safe in their new environment. Pet proofing is as much about protecting your home from a curious
and energetic pet as it is about protecting your pet from potential harm. Here are 12 steps to pet proofing
your home inside and out.
1. Cover cords. Keep dangling cords out of the reach of pets who may chew or pull. You can secure
dangling cords with tape, or cover with plastic tubing to prevent chewing.
2. Put away breakables. Put any breakable knick-knacks or decorations out of reach of your new pet, at
least until they are trained and/or comfortable in your home.
3. Store toys and games. Make sure any toys or games, especially those with small pieces that might be
a choking hazard for pets, are put away in any room where a pet will be left alone. The same goes for
coins, jewelry, pins, thread, etc.
4. Screen off fireplaces. Install a heavy screen in front of a fireplace that can’t be moved or bypassed in
any way by an animal who loves to squeeze through tight spaces. Also take care not to leave pets alone
in a room with a space heater.
5. Check indoor plants. Many houseplants are poisonous for pets. If you are not sure whether a plant is
safe, either remove it from your home or put it out of reach of your pet.
6. Secure cabinets. Just like you would for a baby, secure cabinets with childproof latches or locks. Keep
all medications, cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, or any other chemicals, in a secured cabinet.
7. Secure trashcans. Trashcans can be very enticing for pets but can also contain a multitude of hazards
(and the potential for a giant mess), so either store your trashcan in a cabinet, or invest in a can with a lid
that your pet cannot open.
8. Hide food. Keep all food out of reach of your new pet. Many foods that are fine for humans can be
harmful for animals eat. For example, avocado pits are toxic and raisins can cause sudden kidney failure
in cats and dogs, according to VetStreet.com.
9. Keep beauty products out of reach. Cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and other beauty products can be
hazardous for pets and should be kept in a place where they cannot be reached.
10. Tie up blind cords. Long, loose blind cords can be a danger for pets. Tie or wind long cords so that
an animal cannot get entangled in them.
11. Fence your yard. For pets that will use an outdoor space, installing a fence is essential. A privacy
fence, which has no gaps to squeeze through, will keep even small pets safe. Find a reputable company
who is known for installing fencing specifically for your type of pet.
12. Lock up sharp tools. All yard tools and machinery should be locked away in a garage or shed,
out of harm’s way for a curious pet.
When pet proofing, assume that your pet will want to explore every part of your home—from living areas
and kitchens, to bedrooms and the outdoors. Your pet won’t be able to distinguish between those things
that are harmless and those that are potentially dangerous, so it is your responsibility as a pet owner to
remove hazards and create a safe and comfortable home.