Petproofing Your Home & Car

The home is a hazard zone for pets so educating yourself about pet safety is the first precaution pet owners shouldtake.  Much like children, pets are propelled by curiosity and are not aware of the potential dangers in the household and so they can get themselves into trouble when not supervised.  Their safety depends on you.

“Companion animals don’t realize anti-freeze is poisonous — they just think it tastes great. Electrical cords often look like fun chew toys. And the kitchen and garage are full of delicious “treats” to get into,” explains the American Human Society.  There are both obvious and hidden hazards in our homes that can be eliminated with some simple steps.  Let’s define them and then learn how to rid your home of the dangers.


  • Strangulation: Blind, curtain, electrical cords, their leash
  • Burn: Fireplaces and chimneys, heater vents
  • Drowning: tubs, pools, ponds and Jacuzzis
  • Poisoning: cleaners, prescription drugs, plants, chocolate, raisins, nicotine products, mothballs, lead paint, gum with Xylitol®
  • Choking: Remove pennies, buttons, batteries that might be lying around.
  • Falls: Access to areas where the pet can fall a long drop should be “off limits” and locked.
  • Human: Old habits die hard so be mindful of where your actions as they might out your pet in danger. (I.e. leaving door or windows open or chemicals or food out.) Little ones can pose danger to pets with improper handling and feeding.



  • Use childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets
  • Place medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves or behind cabinets with magnetic cabinet locks
  • Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet
  • Check for and block any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinets or behind washer/dryer units
  • Make sure your kitten hasn’t jumped into the dryer before you turn it on
  • Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn’t harmful, the wrapper could be)
  • Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals
  • Look out for paws, noses, and tails when you shut doors behind you or scoot chairs. Some birds and hamsters have been known to lose their lives being crushed in a door jamb or when perched atop the door.
  • Keep pets from drinking from or falling into toilet

Living/family room

  • Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, televisions, stereos, and telephones out of reach
  • Put away children’s toys and games
  • Put away knick-knacks until your kitten has the coordination not to knock them over
  • Check all those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn’t fit, but your puppy or kitten does, for dangerous items, like string
  • Move common house plants that may be poisonous out of reach. Don’t forget hanging plants that can be jumped onto from nearby surfaces.
  • Make sure all heating/air vents have covers
  • Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread
  • Cleat all dangling blind or curtain cords.
  • Use baby gates or pet barriers to block off any spaces where your pet could be in danger of falling (i.e. windows, stair tops, balcony, decks, etc.). Many puppies and kittens lack depth perception, and falling presents a big hazard. Older cats also are at risk because they become less agile with age.
  • Use screen protectors to prevent pet from clawing or biting open screen door.


  • If possible this should be an off limits room for pets as it’s the #1 room for dangers.
  • Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors
  • Clean all antifreeze from the floor and driveway, as one taste can be lethal to animals
  • Keep all sharp objects and tools out of reach


  • Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors as drawstrings and buttons can cause major problems if swallowed
  • Keep any medications, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces (like the bedside table)
  • Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing or cover it
  • Be careful that you don’t close your kitten in closets or dresser drawers
  • Be aware that the window screen can be pushed out  and pet can fall out


  • Only about half of the United States have laws in place that enforce vehicle tether laws for pets.  A vehicle restraint system or harness is the safest for your pet and everyone else in the vehicle.  NOTE: Crates are not crash tested and can break apart on impact in a severe crash creating lethal projectiles.  It’s not safe for humans or pets to ride in a car with crate!
  • Store all items in trunk so in the event of a crash there are no projectiles.
  • Do not let your pet ride in an open bed truck as it’s not safe even if you leash them inside the truck bed as they can be tossed over the side and can strangle. If your dog must ride in the back of the truck, put pet inside a crate that will give it some protection from the wind and weather. Tie the crate securely to the walls of the truck bed, so it cannot slide about or be tossed out of the truck.
  • Knock on your vehicle’s hood and call pet’s name before starting engine.  Cats like to sleep where it’s warm and climb up onto engine for a nap.

Some of this source information was from the American Humane Society,

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