Pet Hazards to Watch For In Your New Home
When you’re looking for a new home, are you considering whether or not your pet will like it and, be safe there? Here are a few things to look for, if a pet is part of your family;
Look for places in your new home where your pet could get stuck. Is there a small space behind the refrigerator or another appliance? Decks and porches may have crawl spaces underneath them where a pet could get stuck in. Are there high areas that your pet could jump to and then not be able to safely get down? If the home has a second floor, are there sturdy screens on the windows that can be opened? Is there a balcony that needs to be made pet-safe to prevent falls?
There are some areas in a home that are almost never safe for a pet, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Do these rooms have doors to make them inaccessible when you’re not there, or would you be able to install a temporary gate in the opening into the room? if you have high-jumping pet able to leap over tall barriers, you might have to take other measures in these risky areas.
Will you be able to keep trash out of the way of your pet? Both cats and dogs are attracted to trash, especially if it smells of food. Many newer homes have pull-out cupboards that hold one or two trash containers and can’t be opened by pets. Many people put a waste basket under the sink. Could child-proof “locks” be attached to that and other cupboards your pet might try to get into? Do existing garbage and/or trash cans have pet-proof lids?
Is the stove top accessible to resourceful and curious pet? Are there ways to make it impossible to jump to? Are there places your pet could go unrestricted, like the garage, and experience unhealthy temperatures? If you plan to keep your pet in the garage, make sure there’s a fan or space heater there to keep the temperature at a healthy level.
You love all the light in the home and the great places there are for house plants. Even though indoor plants have a positive effect on the air and the look of a room, some of them can be toxic if ingested by animals. Check the ASPCA’s list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants, if you’re not sure about any of the potted plants that are there.
Make sure all of the toilets and/or bidet, have hard-to-access lids. Always keep the lids down, especially if you use automatic bowl cleaners (the residue can poison your pet). Is there an attractive fountain inside or outside the home? If your pet can get to it, make sure the water doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals or that pets or even small children couldn’t drown in it.
Are electrical cords of all types off the ground or otherwise able to be kept out of reach? Dogs and even some cats might try to chew on a cord and get a surprise jolt of harmful electricity. If not, try a product designed to discourage chewing like a cord cover or chew deterrent spray.
Can tools be kept where they won’t be a choking hazard or cause cuts or other injuries? If there isn’t a good out-of-reach spot in the garage for your tools, it may be worth investing in having some cabinets or a comparable sealed off storage space installed. Whatever you’re going to do with your tools, do the same with car and cleaning chemicals. Make sure they’re behind a closed door, a lock, or some kind of barrier that keeps your pet from getting into them.
Each year, 40,000 pets are killed in house fires. To protect your pets and your property in the event there is a fire in your home when no one is there, be sure your home has a monitored alarm system for fire and carbon monoxide. Be sure the heating system has been inspected recently and that the electrical wiring is up-to-code.
If your pet is going to be spending time in your yard, make sure that mulch, flowers and fertilizer are all pet-safe. A good fence is a necessity, if you’ll be letting a dog out in your yard.
Be sure to tell your Real Estate Agent that you are looking for a home that is pet-safe! Then all of you can keep your eyes open for possible hazards to avoid or fix.