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© By Martine Lavallée BAA, TSA

How to make our house a safe place for our pets?

When we become parents, we adapt our house to make it childproof. As pet owners, we should do the same for our pet. Our companions on all fours (one of mine has only three…) are like babies and toddlers: curious by nature, they are inclined to explore their environment with their paws and their claws and to taste everything. However, they cannot distinguish what is dangerous from what is not… So it is up to us to make our home safe. The following tips can help you and your pet to live happily for many years without accidents. 

Around and in Our House

  • Drugs, cannabis and other drugs should NEVER be within the reach of our animals. These products must be in a high cabinet that closes properly.
  • Plastic bags are also very attractive, but our pet can choke when playing with them.
  • During their period of dental transition or as they often say "when they make their teeth", puppies and kittens love to chew on anything and everything! As a result, disconnect and remove the electrical wires or cover them with guards.
  • Never leave our young animals on a raised balcony, porch or terrace.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended near a wood stove, wood furnace, barbeque or stove in use.
  • Take the time to pick up all small items (needles, elastics, paper clips, etc.) that may be lying on the floor or on furniture. Our animals are at risk of swallowing them.
  • If we live in a second and above or our house is in height; install mosquito nets in windows to prevent falls.
  • Many indoor plants such as Dieffenbachia, spearhead philodendron, spider plant, are all toxic when ingested. Place them out of reach in hanging planters or on high shelves.


In our garage or workshop

  • Gasoline, paint and other hazardous products should be stored out of the reach of animals.

  • Cats love the heat, and a warm engine is very attractive. Before starting our car, honk or tap on the hood to make sure no animal is hiding in the engine.

  • Antifreeze products and windshield fluids are composed of chemicals such as ethylene glycol, glycerol, methanol, isopropanol and mixed with water. All these chemicals are TOXIC AND FATAL! It is therefore important to seal containers and wipe spills on the floor.

In our kitchen, bathroom and laundry

  • It goes without saying, but it's good to remember, NEVER leave the rounds of the stove or iron on when we leave the room.
  • Carcasses and bones found in scrap are also a significant problem if they are eaten by our animals. Let's take care of the pet-proof bins.
  • Medications, shampoo, lotions and other toiletries can kill our pet. Let's make sure there is no access.
  • Because it is more hygienic and for the safety of our animals, close the lid of the toilet. Also note that an animal that drinks in the toilet bowl is really not a good idea.
  • Close the doors of our washers and dryers because our smaller animals like to come in to take a nap.
  • All our household products, which are mostly chemical, must be stored out of the reach of animals.

Garden Side

  • As in the home, some plants in our flower beds can be toxic to our pets. Here is a short list:
    •  Giant hogweed
    • Bulbs
    • Wild mushrooms
    • Laurel-rose
    • Ivy
  • Keep pets away from lawns, vegetable gardens, gardens, or any lawns treated with chemicals. My recommendation, avoid using point-to-point chemicals because they are all found in the water table and possibly in the ecosystem food chain.
  • Store our tools and gardening products safely. In addition, let's keep our garden shed locked.
  • Place a wooden space in our pools, whirlpools and ponds to create a lifeline and allow our animals to leave when we do not use the finished season (autumn).

Avoid Worries With Our Cat

  • Many objects that serve as toys for our cat, such as wire, string, elastic, aluminum foil, can be extremely dangerous if swallowed.
  • Cats love to sleep in hot, dark places. Let's make sure to close our drawers, trunks and wardrobes, because our cat could suffocate if it remained too long locked up.
  • Cats wearing a ribbon tied around their necks are probably quite adorable, but this ribbon could get stuck and smother Kitty. Better to use a collar designed for cats with an attachment device that opens easily.

Avoid Worries With Our Dog

  • If our dog regularly wears a collar or harness, it is best to remove all the hooks at the neck of our dog. Indeed, the latter can remain attached to these famous hooks.
  • To prevent our dog from being hit by a car or going on an adventure in the neighborhood, a large pen is recommended. Some will prefer the electric fence, but I personally do not like punitive tools like this..

Let's Go Back to the Christmas Celebrations

  • Christmas decorations such as ice cubes, angel hair, tree lights, and Christmas glass balls are certainly a source of curiosity for our pet, but they could all be fatal if they chewed on them and swallowed.
  • Note also that poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are toxic to our pets.

Living with pets requires a lot of vigilance and energy. But if we make sure our home is safe and pet proof, we avoid a lot of hassle as well as veterinary expenses. I wish you a lot of pleasure with your animals and a good cohabitation to all!

Schering-Plough Santé Animale division Schering Canada Inc.


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