Keeping Your Pets Safe Around The Home

Keeping Your Pets Safe Around The Home

Most Australian households treat their pets as a member of the family.  That is why pets are often referred to as ‘fur babies’ in Australia — we treat them like little furry children!

It can be quite traumatic when pets are injured or become sick.  Pet owners feel even worse if their pet becomes ill because of a hazard in the home environment.  Unfortunately, the home is filled with hazards that most pet owners aren’t aware of.

This article will highlight the most common household hazards for pets.  By being mindful of these dangers, you can make modifications to your home environment and keep your pet safe.

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Choking hazards

Puppies and kittens are naturally inquisitive.  They like to taste items that are lying around the home, giving them a quick chew and swallowing anything that fits down their throat!  

Unfortunately, they can sometimes find objects that are unsafe.  Items like plastic toys, toothbrushes, utensils, razors, wire, coins, batteries, and Christmas decorations can be very dangerous for your pet.  Prevent your pets from finding choking hazards by regularly cleaning your home and placing potentially dangerous objects on high shelves.

Keep prescription medications away from your animals

Some prescription medications are extremely dangerous for animals.  If your dog finds your blood pressure medication and eats it, it could kill them within a few hours.  Always keep your pills locked up in a medicine cupboard or drawer.

Keep chemicals and toxins secured

Most homeowners have dozens of toxic chemicals in cupboards throughout their home.  They often give little thought to how dangerous they are for small animals.  Some of the most dangerous items found in the average household include: 

  • Mothballs
  • Snail pellets
  • Insecticides and pesticides
  • Detergents
  • Bleach
  • Kerosene and other fuels
  • Rat poison
  • Antifreeze

Always keep these items in locked cupboards and take care when using them. 

Be aware of dangerous foods

Many of the foods that humans eat are unhealthy for animals.  Some foods can even put your pet’s life in danger.  Pet owners need to be careful about the kinds of food they leave around the home.  Some of the foods that can be dangerous of cats and dogs include:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate, chewing gum, candy, and artificial sweeteners
  • Grapes
  • Salt
  • Cooked meat bones
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocados
  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Onions, leeks and chives
  • Mushrooms

Pet proof your home

You can really make your home safe for your pet by going from room-to-room and identifying potential hazards.  Here are a few of the most common hazards:

  • Electrical items
    Keep gadgets like mobile phones off the ground so your pet doesn’t find them.  Avoid placing electrical cables and charges on the ground so your puppy doesn’t start nibbling on them!
  • Kitchen area
    Keep all sharp utensils and electrical appliances in positions where your pet cannot reach them.  Make sure your panty doors are secure so your pets can’t eat your food or get into cleaning products.  Secure your garbage bin so your pets can’t get into it, eating your food scraps and rubbish.
  • Outdoor spaces
    Keep all fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides locked up at all times.  Avoid using toxic sprays and snail baits in the garden, as they can harm your pet.  Remove any toxic weeds from your backyard.  You should also make sure your back yard is secure, so your pet cannot easily run away and unfriendly animals cannot enter your property.  
  • Garage
    Secure all toxic substances and tools.
  • Laundry and toilets
    Keep the lid closed on your toilet so your pets can’t drink from it!  Keep cosmetics and personal hygiene products inside cupboards or on high shelves.  Always check the washing machine or clothes drying before turning them on — you cat might be hiding in there!
  • Other dangerous locations
    Take steps to prevent your pets from entering tight crawl spaces or getting onto high ledges where they might fall.  

Use pet day care if you are renovating

If you have decided to renovate your home, it may become an unsafe environment for your pets.  Power tools, paint, chemical cleaners, building materials and dust can all be dangerous for an animal.  Construction noise can also be traumatic for a pet.

Avoid these hazards by placing your pet into day care while the renovation is being performed.  Alternately, you could have your pet stay with a friend or relative for a few weeks.

How pet insurance helps you deal with unexpected emergencies

Having pet insurance can help you deal with any unexpected emergencies.  In return for paying an annual premium, the insurance company will help you pay your pet’s veterinarian bills.  Most policies pay between 80 to 85% of your bills. 

Australian pet insurance policies usually require you to pay a small excess when you make a claim on a new condition.  This typically ranges between $200 and $300, but some policies have a $0 excess.  In most cases, paying a higher premium lets you obtain a policy with a smaller excess and more features.  In Australia, there are three types of pet insurance available:

  • Accident only
    This pays for any medical costs that occur after your pet has been in an accident.
  • Accident and illness
    This type of coverage also pays for any illnesses they may suffer
  • Comprehensive insurance
    Comprehensive insurance cover accidents, illnesses, and helps you pay for routine care.  The insurance company will provide some assistance for things like vaccinations and training classes.

Consumers have plenty of different insurance companies to choose from in Australia.  Purchasing a great policy from a reputable provider will help to keep your fur baby safe!