A pet can make any house feel like a home. Whether they’re running to greet you or lounging by your side, the companionship of a pet – furry, feathered, or scaled – is an amazing experience. As pet owners, it’s our job to keep our pets safe at home, something that’s not always easy to do. In honor of National Pet Day on April 11, we’re sharing five tips for pet safety.
Keep Spring Cleaning Fresh
If spring cleaning is on your list, be careful of cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals. For example, cleaners that contain ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde or glycol may be toxic and can also leave behind vapors that continue to harm people and pets. Also remember that pets spend a lot of time lying on and perhaps even eating off the floor, so residues from harmful cleaners can be easily ingested. Make sure you read the ingredients and don’t just assume a product is safe because it has the word “green” or “natural” in the name. (Source: The Sentinel)
Look Out for Gardening Gotchas
Spring also means it’s time to get out your green thumb and get to gardening. Just as with household chemicals, remember that fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides can contain chemicals that are harmful to animals. Certain plants can also be toxic and even fatal if eaten. Also beware of sharp objects, such as garden tools and lawnmower blades, that pets might not see lurking in the grass. If you have metal edging, always cover the edge with a protective rubber strip.
Fun Fact: It’s estimated that 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35% have a cat. (Source: ASPCA)
Secure Fencing and Gates
Fenced yards are great for pets who like to spend time outside enjoying the spring sunshine and getting some exercise. However, you need to make sure the yard is secure so your pet can’t roam outside the border, where they can get into all sorts of trouble. Check your fence line twice a year and repair any sagging or weak sections, or areas with exposed nails or other items that could hurt your pet. If your pet is a “digger,” check more often for holes that might lead to freedom. If you live in an area that experiences high winds, be sure your gate latches securely and won’t be blown open and allow your pet to escape.
Separate Pets and Strangers
According to the US Postal Service, last year 6,755 postal employees were bitten or attacked by a dog. It’s such a serious problem that USPS has designated April 9-15 as National Dog Bite Awareness Week. Although many dog owners believe their dog would never bite, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always keep your dog (or any pet) away from mail carriers and delivery people who come to the door. If you aren’t sure that you can control the animal or keep it from trying to escape when you open the door, post a note that instructs carriers to leave deliveries outside the door. Also be aware that some people do have a fear of dogs, and may feel panicked if your dog approaches even to give them a big sloppy kiss. In such a situation, both the person’s and the animal’s behavior can be unpredictable, so always supervise interactions with strangers.
Fun Fact: According to the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 70% of households in Vermont have a pet. (Source: Dogtime.com)
Help Rescuers Save Your Pets
If a fire starts and you’re not at home, a “pets inside” safety sticker on your front window or door will let firefighters and rescuers know that you have pets that may be trapped inside.
You can also install smart smoke detectors that will alert you via your smartphone if the alarm goes off. If you can’t get home immediately, you can call the fire department or a neighbor and make sure rescuers know about your pets. If you have pets that need to be crated when transported, such as a bird or reptile, be sure to store the crate in an easily accessible location near the pet so that rescuers can safely enclose the animal.