While your pets no doubt love you very much, it doesn’t stop them from trying to make escape attempts! You may think that a small hole at the bottom of your fence isn’t big enough for your dog to escape through, but they can tunnel and will take advantage of any gaps. If you want your pet to stick to certain areas of the garden, you can install pet barriers and fencing, or even attach a run to the house. This is handy if you don’t want them digging or going to the toilet in certain areas, or if they annoy the neighbours by getting too close to their home
Many common chemicals used in the garden can be harmful to pets. For example, weed killers and lawn care products are full of chemicals, and it’s easy for pets to eat them accidentally. Where possible, use pet-friendly alternatives, and if none are available, check the label to see how long you need to keep pets inside after applying.
Puppies are a lot like babies, in that they’re very curious, so it’s important to do some dog-proofing before you bring a puppy home. This can include:
Choosing a bin that clicks shut – if dogs get into the rubbish and eat certain foods, it can be fatal
Storing chocolate in high cupboards and keeping any tempting foods out of reach
Getting a lock for the toilet lid
Keeping breakable items on high shelves and out the way of wagging tails
Not leaving any dangling wires around
Adding a wire basket to your letterbox to protect your mail and ensure your dog doesn’t injure anyone making deliveries
A lot of products that people use when baby-proofing can also be helpful for making your home safer for pets. For example, cupboard locks can be used on any low cabinets where you store food, and cable tidies are handy to stop chewing.
Like humans, animals like to have their own space where they feel warm and cosy. A dog crate can help your puppy feel safe and secure, and it gives them somewhere to go if they’re overwhelmed; for example if there are new people around or loud noises. Cats also enjoy having their own space, although they rarely sleep in the luxurious beds that their humans provide. They like high spaces where they can keep an eye on the room below, so if your cat is always perching on a high shelf or on top of the kitchen cabinets, make them a little nest up there.
Clutter can be dangerous for pets, as it means they have opportunities to swallow small items or injure themselves more easily. Even worse, pets and clutter don’t mix, as it makes it harder to clean up any mess or pet hair. If you’re planning on getting a pet, think about having a clear-out and minimise the number of things you have on display.
It’s not just the garden where pets can make an escape attempt; dogs can easily squeeze out of doors when you open them, while small pets like hamsters and rabbits can find small gaps in floorboards and walls. When you let your pet roam freely, make sure they’re limited to rooms that you’ve checked for escape routes. If your dog is out of its crate and wanders around, then be careful when opening the front door. Consider using a baby gate to keep them from rushing at guests or running out the door, and make sure your children know to be careful.
It’s surprising which common items in your household can be dangerous to pets. Lilies can be poisonous to cats, and if they rub against them, then lick the pollen, it can be fatal. Chocolate can be fatal for dogs, and paint fumes or household chemicals can kill fish, even if only a small amount gets inside their tank. Make sure you research the products that can harm your pets, so you can keep them out of the way.
Pets can be a great addition to the family, but it’s important that you prepare your home ready for their arrival, to keep them happy and healthy.