Puppy or kitten proofing your home is similar to baby proofing your home.
Like any baby or small child, kittens and puppies are extremely curious and will want to investigate everything! This means chewing, eating, licking, and knocking over anything they can get their little paws on!
Thinking about all the things that need to be done to keep your pet safe in your home can be overwhelming. Realistically, you won’t be able to watch your pet 24/7 to make sure they are staying out of trouble, so you want to make your home as safe as possible. Before you bring your new friend home, go through your house and stop in each room they will have access to. Ask yourself if there is anything in the room which your kitten or puppy could damage, or if there is anything that is a potential danger to them.
Use this list of tips to help you get started, and make your home a safe place, so you can keep your mind at ease when you don’t have your eyes on your baby!
1) Baby Gates
Baby gates are going to become your new best friend. The only way to prevent your pet from entering that sacred room (you know that room with the nice carpet you couldn’t bear to have soiled) is to block them with a gate. Baby gates are also a great way to keep your small friend contained in a certain area, such as the kitchen during feeding times. You might have a senior cat that just doesn’t want to be bothered–gates will help to establish boundaries between your pets. Make sure your gate isn’t too short for your pet–if they a way to get over it, they’ll take it! No escapees allowed!
Lock your cabinets! You’ll want to put a lock on any cabinet that contains forbidden foods, delicate dishes, or household chemicals. The last thing you want is ripped open bags of food or broken china sprawled across your floor. You may also want to consider putting a lock on your garbage can if it is easily accessible too. If you have windows, they should be closed and locked when you are not present to supervise your pet. You can purchase easy to open baby locks- anyone without thumbs won’t be able to open them, guaranteed!
3) Keep Food & Plants Out of Reach
Any food left out should be out of your pets reach. If you are keeping food on the counter, make sure it is in a spot that your pet can’t get to. Remember that some puppies can jump very high and kittens are climbers! This goes for plants too. There are many plants that are actually toxic for your pets to ingest. Some of these plants are Poinsettia, Lilies, Tulips, and Azaleas. Foods that are toxic to pets include chocolate, onions, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts, and foods containing xylitol, such as sugar-free candies or gum. If your pet does ingest a toxic plant or food–no matter how small the amount–call your vet immediately for direction.
4) The Bathroom
The bathroom is a great place for your little one to get into trouble! If you have a bathtub, move any items you may have sitting around your tub such as razors and soap and put them out of reach. If you keep any medications or supplements on an easily reachable counter, they should be locked up and out of reach as well. Keeping your toilet lid down isn’t a bad idea either, unless you’d like to be licked by a puppy with toilet water breath!
5) Cords & Small Objects
Cords are known to be a kitten favourite. If you have cords lying around, your kitten is bound to chew them! Earbuds, with and without cords, are a particular favorite. Try and tuck electrical cables under your couch or behind furniture–somewhere your kitten won’t be able to get at them. If you don’t have a place to keep them out of reach, there are cord covers you can purchase to protect loose wires as well.
You will also want to keep your small pets away from Venetian or vertical blinds and their cords to avoid them becoming tangled.
Just like children, puppies and kittens will put anything in their mouths. If you do have small human children, they most likely tend to have lots of small toys lying around. Encouraging them to put their toys away in a toy bin is key to prevent your pet from ingesting these objects. Just like food and plant toxins, If your pet swallows a foreign object, contact your vet immediately for direction.
6) Small Spaces
Your tiny new companion will likely attempt to squeeze themselves into tight spaces. These spaces may be under or beside large furniture, such as the fridge or a couch. Once in there, they may be hard to extract, and the insides of an appliance may be dangerous. A great trick to limit access to these areas is to roll up a towel or blanket to block the hole or space. Another option is to cut pieces of cardboard and tape them in to block the open area.
One of the number one household dangers for pets is the garbage can. Your garbage may be filled with all sorts of things–rotting food, plastic wrappers, dental floss, medication, and other foreign objects. Garbage locks will keep your garbage closed even if knocked over by a naughty puppy or kitten. Try keeping your garbage in a contained space as well. For example, in the cupboard under the kitchen or bathroom sink; guaranteeing your pet won’t be ingesting anything they shouldn’t!