How to keep your pets safe at home

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dog and cat intro

Getting home to your excitable pooch or cat at the end of a busy day is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

From excited barks and a wagging tail to welcoming meows and contented purrs, our pets really do love us and we really do love our pets.

Because we love our four-legged friends so much, making sure they’re safe and covered if anything was to happen to them is vital.

To help you keep your pets happy and safe at home we’ve put together some top tips to help you out and to give you peace of mind while you’re away from your furry friend.

Pet safety in your home

Check your home for fittings that could cause danger to your cat or dog such as:

  • Cables – animals are likely to chew these
  • Furniture – your pet will want to explore their surroundings so make sure you prevent them from climbing onto tall furniture which they could fall from and hurt themselves
  • Appliances – cats particularly like to hide wherever they can, so make sure you close the door on appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines and microwaves
  • Toilets – close toilet lids as younger pets may jump in to drink the water. Toilet bowl cleaners will also be poisonous to them

Is your garden safe for cats and dogs?

Make sure the area surrounding your home is safe, ready for when your pet starts to explore the great outdoors: 

  • Fencing – make sure the area is secure so your pet can’t escape onto nearby roads and there’s no risk of them being stolen
  • Pest and weed killer – cleaning products and weed killers (herbicides) contain chemicals which are poisonous to animals so keep your pet away from areas sprayed with these
  • Tools – make sure no garden tools are left out while your pet is outside as your four-legged friend is likely to injure themselves 
  • Ponds – puppies and kittens may try jumping into ponds which could put them at risk of drowning if they don't have any experience with water

Elaine Humphreys, an Auxiliary Veterinary Nurse in south Wales, offered this advice on pets eating something potentially poisonous: "If cats have eaten something like anti-freeze they'll start foaming at the mouth almost immediately; phone the vet straight away," she said. 

"If a pup has eaten something non-poisonous but potentially large, like a sock, then make sure you monitor them. It will often pass through but if they stop producing faeces and/or start vomiting, take them to the vet as this could indicate a blockage." 

Watch what they eat

Whether you have a cat or a dog, you probably know by now they're pretty greedy and will eat whatever they find. Try to feed them at the same time every day so they know when to expect food and don’t leave ‘human food’ within their reach.

Did you know -

  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Onion
  • Garlic 
  • Dairy

can all be toxic to your pup or kitty? 

Auxiliary Veterinary Nurse, Elaine, said: "If it’s suspected that something poisonous has been ingested you shouldn’t wait for the animal to start showing symptoms; a vet should be called immediately."

"Often, by the time they are showing signs, the damage to the kidneys has already been done. 

"The vets will all have a list of different products and 'safe' tolerance levels and can often advise over the phone when to leave it pass through and when to bring them in.

"So if you spot a chewed packet or other evidence that your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t have, phone the vet immediately." 

Dangerous plants for cats and dogs

Many types of plants are poisonous to cats including:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils

If you want them in the house, keep them in a room your cats don’t go into or on a high surface they can’t get at. However, it might just be best not to take the risk at all and invest in some silk flowers and scented air freshener.

Keep pets hydrated

Your pets should always have access to fresh drinking water so be sure to fill up their bowls before you leave the house. If possible leave more than one source of water in different locations as animals like choice too!

Don’t leave pets alone for too long

It’s no surprise cats are lower maintenance than dogs and can be left alone for longer periods of time but that doesn’t mean you should forget about them all together.

Always make time to play with your cat and pay them plenty of attention when you get home from work.

Dogs, on the other hand, shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours at a time, especially when they’re puppies. If you have to work all day you should arrange for a dog walking service to take your pooch out, or for a family member or friend to check in and give them some attention and a walk.

Get your pet a friend

Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the companionship of having another dog in the household. Cats are more solitary creatures and are often happy enough living alone. However, all cats are different – introducing another cat to your moggy once they have gone past the socialisation period could stress them out. But on the other hand, cats which have been in the company of other kitties since they were in a litter may be much happier with a mate.

Keep an eye on them

If you’re really worried about leaving your pet at home all day and can’t bear to have them out of your sight/are concerned they may be chewing your curtains while you’re at work, you could invest in a pet CCTV.

These types of cameras have moved on loads in the past few years with many now doubling up as a treat dispenser that you can control through your phone or even Apple Watch in some cases! You can also choose a camera that includes a two-way speaker, so you can talk to your pet while you're out of the house.  

The Independent has just reviewed the 8 best pet cameras on the market, so go check them out.