There was a story in the news recently about a man who ignored firefighters to return to his burning home to save his dog. Incredible or stupid? It depends on who you’re speaking to. We love our pets and many of us would do whatever it takes to keep them safe. To most, pets are not just an extension of the family, they ARE family. People make lifestyle changes and bend over backward financially to accommodate their furry friends. Here’s a basic list of things you can do, both inside and outside your home, to better protect your pets and your valuables.
Cats are evidence that the Earth is round. If the Earth was flat, cats would have pushed everything off it by now. Take a second to roll your eyes. On a more serious note, we all know cats love laying on high, flat surfaces. What they love even more is pushing random objects off high, flat surfaces. This insatiable appetite for destruction can go from cute to frustrating very quickly. You can cat-proof your home by keeping valuable and sentimental items off tables and countertops. Using mounting or foam tape can also keep these items secure.
You might also want to invest in a cat shelf or perch. These kitty playgrounds are tall, carpeted, and perfectly designed to accommodate cats and their strange lounging habits. Supplanting your cat’s favorite lounging and napping areas is a tall order. Placing your new cat shelf next to their favorite napping areas can help them warm up to it.
As we all know, cats like to scratch things. When they’re doing this, they can go from little balls of cuteness to destructive monsters. Cat claws are ridiculously sharp and are easily capable of making your couch cushions, drapes, or cabinet doors look like they’ve been sent through a paper shredder. However, declawing a cat should always be a last resort as it’s very painful for the animal and leaves them defenseless if ever confronted by a predator. Try these options first.
Instead, get your cat a scratching post. This is an easy and inexpensive way to protect your furniture while also allowing the animal to do what it needs to do. You can coax them into investigating their new toy by putting it in an area or by a piece of furniture they normally scratch up. You can also try spraying catnip on it. The most proactive thing you can do is trim their nails early and often. Cats mostly scratch to shed and remove old nails so trimming them routinely removes the need for them to claw up your furniture.
What do large and medium size dogs have in common with your sink disposal? They both eat everything! It’s very important to keep any potentially consumable items out of their reach. I use the term “consumable items” very loosely. This can include toilet paper, house plants, small toys, garbage, your homework, etc.
You’ll need to get creative here. I’ve seen toilet paper placed in decorative containers and baskets on the back of toilets in order to keep them inaccessible. If you leave shoes on the floor you risk them being turned into flip-flops. They’ll be better off kept in closed cubbies by the front door or placed on top of an armoire or dresser. If you enjoy greenery in your home, purchasing fake plants instead of real ones might be a safer move. You never know how your animal might react to certain plants when consumed. Pull-out trashcans can also be a great investment because they can be stored inside cabinets yet remain easily accessible. Lastly, remembering to close all doors after exiting the bathroom, pantry, and other “problem” areas will drastically reduce the chances of an accident happening.
Doggie dangers don’t just come from inside the home but outside it as well. All dogs require outdoor access for playing and using the bathroom so it’s important to provide a secure area to let them off the leash. If this area is at home, you’ll need to make sure gardening equipment, supplies, and tools are stored away in a shed or enclosed area separate from where your animal plays. To keep your dog flea and tick free it’s always a good idea to keep your deck, shed, porch and other structures around the exterior of your home swept and kept clean. These parasitic bugs thrive in damp, low lit conditions and around wooden structures. Regular upkeep of these areas, coupled with an occasional paint job, will help keep your dog pest free!