Tips for a Pet-Friendly Home

A pet-friendly home keeps pets safe and can save money in damages and vet bills.
Months of planning go into preparing your home when a human baby is on the way, but many people bring home a baby animal without a thought to "pet proofing" their house. Making your home pet-friendly not only keeps your new four-legged family member safe, but it can save you hundreds of dollars in property damage or vet bills.

Get Down

Just for a moment or two, get on all fours and look at your home from a pet's perspective. Look at all the juicy wires, plants, trashcans, curtain cords and fragile knick-knacks there are to play with. Oh boy! Kittens and puppies are naturally curious; they'll be drawn to everything that swings, waves, shines or looks like a potential friend. Protect your pet and your home by following these tips:

* Put all plants well out of reach, and that includes the places where a kitten might jump. Many common plants are toxic and falling plants could hurt a small animal and make a big mess.

* Use locking devices on cabinets where household cleansers or toxic chemicals are stored.

* Until your new pets have matured, put irreplaceable or breakable items in a safe place. 
Things get broken when rambunctious puppies or kittens are romping around. In the case of Grandma's Tiffany & Company vase, it's better safe than sorry.

Many common plants are toxic and falling plants could hurt a small animal.

* Secure cords as well as you can, including cords from electrical appliances and curtains or blinds. Stuff them inside empty paper towel rolls, use duct tape to affix them to the floor, the leg of a desk or high up on the wall where a pet can't reach them.

* Designate one room or space as the "free zone." Use the bathroom, laundry room or a spare bedroom or block off part of a room with a baby gate and remove or lock away everything that's not bolted down. Put in a comfy bed or cat condo and some safe pets toys. When you have to leave the house or when your pet needs some down time you can place them in the free zone and know that they'll be safe.

Move It or Lose It

With time and training your pets will come to understand simple commands like "down" or "leave it," but while they're young or new to your home it's only natural for them to explore every nook and cranny of their new environment. If your pet gets into the trash once or chews up a shoe that's left on the floor count on them to do it again if you don't find a solution. Remember, you're the one with the big brain and it's up to you -- not a puppy or a kitten -- to maintain household safety.

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