We love our furry friends! For many of us they are more than pets, they are a part of the family! Unfortunately, not all homes are built with pets in mind. Over half of homes have a pet residing, and it’s definitely worthwhile to do home improvement with pets in mind. There are certainly ways to make your home safe and convenient for your furry family member.
The first is to consider your location. Are you on or near a busy road? Even if you walk your dog on a leash, being near the highway can pose a threat to animals that may sneak out, or want to follow you to your car. If you live near a road, consider adding a barrier to discourage your animals from running out. You may decide to invest in having your yard fenced or reinforcing the gate on an already fenced yard. Another option is an invisible fence, if you plan on letting your animal roam. Also, know the foliage in your area as well. Many plants can turn a curious cat into a sick one. When landscaping, avoid insecticides and fertilizers. When you hire a landscaper, talk to them about using natural and organic methods that will be safe for your animal.
Another consideration is anything your pet may ingest. One common, deadly substance found in many garages is anti-freeze. Make sure if you keep any around, it is properly stored and secured. If it were to leak onto your driveway, your dog or cat could be in danger. They love the smell of it, and a teaspoon is enough to cause fatal poisoning. Anti-freeze claims approximately 10,000 pets’ deaths each year. Don’t let it be yours!
Inside the home, there are many unlikely hazards that may be lurking, undetected. Look for anything your pets could get a hold of and chew. Is it hazardous to their health? Could they choke? In one year alone, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center handled over 140,000 cases of pets who were exposed to toxic substances within their own homes. It’s important to keep dangerous foods, chemicals and objects out of their reach! Do your garbage cans have lids, to prevent them from pulling old bones and wrappers out? Are your chemicals and foods properly stored? Do you leave leftovers on the counter where an animal can jump up and eat them?
When cleaning, make sure that you not only properly store the products used, but keep the recently cleaned area off limits for a short time. For example: When cleaning your toilet, keep it out of reach. If your dog were to try to drink water with leftover bleach residue, it could lead to gastrointestinal distress, skin irritation, and respiratory problems. A great alternative is to switch to non-toxic cleaners.
Check your home’s windows as well. Cats can be especially adventurous, and most animals don’t have a well-developed concept of height. Windows that are left open without a screen are accessible to pets. If your window has a screen, make sure it is properly installed and sturdy, to prevent an animal from pushing it out. While window guards may be great for larger dogs, most cats will squeeze right through them. If your windows aren’t sturdy and guarded, consider having them replaced by a professional. At a minimum, have your screens replaced and reinforced.
You love your pets, and as you continue to make improvements to your home, work with professionals who will to choose options that are safe for your furry friends! If there’s an improvement that your home needs to make it more safe, visit us at responsiblecontractors.com for a list of companies we recommend to take care of you!