According to the CDC, pets offer several health benefits for humans, including lowered blood pressure, better cognitive function, and decreased feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
So, if you’re one of America’s millions of pet owners, the least you can do is create a pet-friendly home in return.
Here’s how to make sure your four-legged friends are comfortable, healthy, and safe in their domain.
Take an Animal’s Eye View of Your Home
To ensure a safe pet home, it only makes sense to remove all kinds of pet dangers from their surroundings, especially if you have a curious puppy or kitten.
Get down to a level that’s appropriate for the size of your pet and take a look around. Take steps to remove dangers like:
- Choking, strangulation, electrocution, and suffocation hazards
- Low-hanging window treatment cords
- Floor-level wires and electrical cords plugged into sockets
- Human medications and foods
- Unsecured waste bins
In some cases, it’s not possible to remove all hazards. In these cases, take steps to ensure your pets can’t reach them. Be sure to remove any potential ‘ladders’ that may give them access to these dangers.
If your pets get into your trash bin, they might choke on chicken bones, fruit seeds, and cores, or eat spoiled food that may make them sick.
Make sure you know about any allergies your pet has, and pay attention to the location of any common animal toxins like:
- Grapes and raisins
Keep the ASPCA Poison Center’s number and your vet’s emergency line on speed dial in case of mishaps. Latch your cupboard doors, so your pets can’t try out any of your medications, poisons, or cleaning chemicals.
If you have a cat, install screens on all your windows, so you can keep your feline inside when you open them. Cats don’t land on their feet when they jump out of a high-rise building.
Plants for a Pet-Friendly Home
As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to avoid keeping poisonous plants within your animals’ reach. Some no-nos of the plant world include:
- Aloe vera
Don’t grow these plants indoors and avoid planting them in your garden, too.
Other pet-safe gardening tips include checking the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants before you buy any specimens, installing adequate, safe fencing, and ensuring they can’t climb onto anything to jump over walls.
Make sure your pet has adequate protection against ticks and fleas before they go into your garden, and keep your yard tidy, so snakes aren’t tempted to make a home in unkempt spaces.
Ensure Optimum Nutrition
A pet-friendly home always has freely available water, just not from the toilet bowl. Keep the lid of your toilet closed, nobody wants to drink that water, and the chemicals used for cleaning toilets are toxic to pets.
Always invest in the best quality food you can afford for your pet, and make sure it’s appropriate for their activity levels and size. Avoid feeding them table scraps and leftovers. This practice disrupts the nutritional balance of their meals and can lead to health issues or allergies.
According to Veterinarian Services in Des Moines, good nutrition impacts your pet’s quality of life at every stage, so adjust your pet’s feeding regularly according to their age.
Whichever type of pet food you buy, ensure you store it in a sealed container, so it stays fresh, tasty, and nutritious, especially if you buy it in bulk.
Be sure to keep your pet’s bowls spotlessly clean and provide fresh water daily. If you’re going out for an extended period, provide an extra bowl of water in case you get back late.
Give Your Pets Their Own Space
Every pet needs a place to call its own, even if they do sleep on your bed at night. Give them a cushion or a crate where they can retreat for peace when needed.
Launder and vacuum their bedding regularly to prevent a build-up of dander and loose hair.
If you have children, teach them to treat your pets with respect or leave them alone.
Young children often hurt dogs and cats with their curious prodding, poking, and pulling. This can lead to anxiety and aggression in dogs and is bound to result in a nasty bite or scratch for the child.
Small pets like rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, and amphibians need a secure tank or cage to live safely. These pets can easily slip outside where they’ll face danger from other pets and predators, or get into unsafe indoor nooks and crannies.
Larger pets, like cats and dogs, should also have unlimited access to a small, safe, and fenced outdoor area, so they can go outside when they want to.
Invest in Pet-Friendly Flooring and Fabrics
Pet dander is unsightly, smelly, and unhygienic. By keeping your pet well-groomed and bathing it regularly, you can greatly reduce the amount of hair they drop all over your home.
Get rid of your wall-to-wall carpets if you want to keep pets.
Not only will these fibers attract and cling to pet hair, but they’re also useless at repelling mud and other debris commonly associated with pets. Hardwood flooring or tile is a much better option for pet owners.
Likewise, buy furniture with durable pet-proof upholstery, especially if you allow your pets free access to your sofas and chairs.
Be the Best Cat or Dog Parent You Can
In most cases, pet-friendly measures involve little more than commonsense and knowing your pet’s personality and quirks. If you’re uncertain about anything to do with your pet’s health and welfare, get in touch with your veterinarian for advice.
Creating a pet-friendly home starts with knowledge. Browse our blog for more tips and information concerning all types of pets.