Pets are very special members of the home. As such, they also deserve a home that is free from danger. Keeping pets safe goes beyond feeding and taking them to the vet occasionally. Having a pet at home also means paying attention to creating a safe space for them. With that in mind, it’s essential to know the potential risks and measures to take when having pets in your home and ensure you have a great environment to protect your house and their wellbeing. That is why we asked experts for tips on keeping pets safe.
What are the factors to consider before choosing pet insurance?
“There are a number of factors to consider before choosing pet insurance. First and foremost is your budget. Pet insurance rates can range widely, so go in knowing what you’re able to pay and shop for a policy that works with your budget. The next thing you want to do is read the fine print. What’s included, and what’s specifically excluded? Most policies exclude pre-existing conditions, so if you know your pet has a condition, you need to be prepared to have that coverage denied. Also, be sure you understand what percentage of care is covered, and watch for fine print that states they cover a percentage of the approved amount for that particular service. That means if your pet has a $500 service that’s covered at 80% of the approved amount – and the approved amount is $400 – you’re only covered for $320. It’s important to know exactly how the coverage works before you buy. Consider whether you want coverage for regular vet care, which can be added to some policies, or just for unexpected injuries and illnesses. Finally, although most pet insurance policies work on a reimbursement system, if you’re looking at a policy that pays the vet directly, make sure there are clinics near you that will accept the insurance.”
Leslie Kasperowicz, Insurance.com
What are the most common household dangers for dogs?
“Cleaning Products: Dogs often get into and sometimes even eat anything they come across, including toxic substances such as cleaning products, medications, and chemicals. Keep items containing bleach, aerosols, ammonia, formaldehyde, and phenol locked in a storage cabinet or shelf out of their reach. Consider using pet-friendly cleaners that are poison-free
Houseplants: Houseplants provide many benefits in the home for humans. But certain kinds are toxic for animals. Avoid having snake plants, hydrangeas, and tulips in your home or garden, where your dog can easily get to them.
Foods: Certain human foods, such as chocolate, grapes, and onions, can cause serious health issues or be potentially fatal to dogs. You need to know which foods are unsafe for your dog to keep them healthy.
Sharp Objects: Dogs can be injured by sharp objects such as knives, scissors, or broken glass. Even harmless things like small toys, coins, string, staples, and other household objects that fall on the ground can easily be swallowed by pets and could cause serious health problems.
Stairs & Floors: Stairs, particularly uncarpeted, can be hazardous for dogs, especially for older or injured ones who can fall or slip. If needed, use a gate to block off steps in the home and put area rugs with a non-slip feature in high-traffic areas to prevent accidents. Dog ramps and stairs are also useful for getting in and out of a bed or sofa.”
What are the most common household dangers for cats?
“Household dangers for cats include toxic plants, cleaning products, chew hazards (string, electrical cords, rubber bands, dental floss), flimsy window screens, and open windows where a cat can easily escape outdoors and encounter cars, predators, poisons, diseases, or getting lost. A catio, an outdoor cat enclosure, can reduce vet bills and provide a safe space for cats to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and birdwatching, and provide peace of mind for cat parents.”
Cynthia Chomos, Catio Spaces
Safety tips for full-time RVing with pets
“1. If your pets are new to RVing, introduce them to your RV slowly. The RV will be your pets’ home on the road, so you want them to be comfortable in the space. Before you start traveling, spend some time each day letting your pets explore the RV. Remember, it’s a brand new thing for them, and it’s your job to teach them it’s going to be fun!
2. Pack the right gear. Before your trip, start a list of all the things you use to care for your pets. When you’re ready to pack the RV, grab the list and gather all those items. Don’t forget your pets’ vaccination certificate and veterinary records.
3. Plan a pet-friendly itinerary. Planning your trip is part of the fun! And finding pet-friendly places to go and things to do is easy when you begin your search at GoPetFriendly.com. With more than 300 pet-friendly destination guides for inspiration, you’re sure to find a place you and your pets will enjoy. Once you’ve decided on a location, use the site to find pet-friendly RV parks and campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, and attractions in the area.
4. Always buckle up. Pets should always ride in the same vehicle as you – not in a camper you’re towing – and be buckled up in a crash-tested seat belt harness or secured carrier. This protects them in case of an accident and keeps them from distracting you while you’re driving.
5. Prevent unplanned departures. Having your pets get lost while you’re traveling is one of the biggest safety concerns of RVing together. A good way to avoid that is to place a pet gate between the living space and the door of your RV. This keeps your pets from scooting out the open door when you’re coming and going.
6. Update your pet’s ID. In case you and your pets do get separated, cats and dogs need up-to-date ID tags on their collars. As an additional precaution, check to be sure that the service where your pet’s microchip is registered has your current contact information.
7. Watch the weather. RVs are more susceptible to weather extremes, so it’s important to be aware of the forecast. When you arrive at RV parks and campgrounds, make time to locate the storm shelters. And always take your pets with you in emergency situations. If you’re traveling where heat could be an issue and need to leave your pets unattended, consider a remote temperature monitoring device. These devices send alerts to your phone if the temperature in your RV gets too hot or cold for your pet.
8. Give your pets their space. Square footage is always at a premium in an RV, but pets need a place where they can be comfortable and out of the way. Beneath the dinette or on a sofa is a good spot for your pet to be close to you without being underfoot.”
What should pet owners look for when choosing a fertilizer?
Here’s what you should look for when choosing a fertilizer that won’t put animals at risk.
- Look For Pet-Friendly Labels There are so many fertilizing products out there, but few dog-safe ones. So looking for a pet-friendly label saves you a lot of time during your search. Don’t assume that because there is an image of a child and a dog on the product, it is automatically child and dog friendly.
- Ingredients To Avoid – Any fertilizer that uses insecticides, pesticides, and fungicides should not be used with pets. Fertilizers that contain baits for snails and slugs should also be avoided. These fertilizers usually contain compounds designed to lure them (which also attract dogs). The active ingredient is usually metaldehyde, which is highly poisonous.
Two other chemicals to avoid are ammonia, which causes paw, skin, and lung irritation, and disulfoton, which is responsible for seizures and pancreatitis, one of the most harmful chemicals found in fertilizers.
- Natural Doesn’t Always Mean Safe Just because a product is 100% natural or organically EPA-certified doesn’t automatically mean it is safe to use in your pet’s yard. Some of these products contain natural chemicals that might harm your pooch. And they can still cause digestive issues if consumed in large quantities.
- Remember always to read the label carefully and follow the instructions to ensure that you’re using the fertilizer safely and effectively. And whatever product you use, be sure to monitor what Fido is up to after you’ve treated your lawn.
What are the benefits of eco-friendly pet products?
“Often product industries use the words sustainable and eco-friendly interchangeably. This can range from recycled plastics to natural organic fibers. But when it comes to products applied to or ingested by our human and pet family, it’s also important to make sure the eco-friendly products are made of nontoxic materials.
Nontoxic, eco-friendly products are beneficial to pets and people because:
They support health and wellness: There are fewer health issues due to allergic reactions or long-term exposure to chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer in people and animals.
They are better quality: Certified nontoxic products are made of quality materials. They are tested strenuously for contaminants that are suspected of causing health issues and are certified by a regulated agency for safety.
They create less waste: Nontoxic, compostable, and biodegradable materials can be recycled into nutrient-rich compost reducing waste deposited in landfills which takes decades to break down.
They do not harm the environment: More nontoxic products are being made from alternative, sustainable, plant-based fibers that support a healthy environment.
They are innovative, fun, and affordable: Nontoxic, eco-friendly products are not boring or expensive: More pet products are coming onto the pet market that uses beautiful nontoxic colors, minimal components that reduce cost, and fun modern designs that can be appreciated by pets and their humans.
Choosing products that are nontoxic as well as eco-friendly is a win for the entire family, 2-legged and 4-legged family members alike.”
Tips for the environment at home to ease the separation anxiety in pets
“To help ease separation anxiety in pets, it’s crucial to create a calming and comfortable environment at home. Start by ensuring your pet’s space is well-ventilated and providing a cozy bed and a safe space for them to retreat, such as a crate. A crate provides a den-like atmosphere for dogs, giving them a sense of security and familiarity, similar to their ancestral homes. To set the mood, play some soothing music or white noise. Before you leave, ensure your pet has access to fresh water and plenty of distractions, such as toys, chews, and puzzle toys. Establishing a routine with regular meals, potty breaks, and training sessions can also help reduce anxiety. Adding enrichment activities throughout the day will boost their mental and physical health. While a relaxed and inviting home environment is an important factor, there are other elements to consider for easing separation anxiety in pets. Remember to always consult with a professional for the best guidance and support in helping your pet overcome their anxiety.”
How to pick the safest types of toys for your pet?
“To pick the safest type of toys for your pup, you first have to know how your dog interacts with a toy. You would not want to pick a soft toy for a super chewer and expect the toy to last a long time. Some interactive toys are not designed for chewers. When unsure, supervision is highly recommended, and make sure you pick a toy that is made out of nontoxic materials. Absolutely no toy is indestructible. Always monitor and supervise your dog during playtime. Finally, cherish every moment and pick a toy that you will also enjoy playing with the dog.”
How to protect your pet from poisonous substances in your home?
“Your home is your haven and that of your precious pet. Still, it can also be a dangerous place filled with poisonous substances that can be dangerous, even deadly, to our pets. How do we protect our pets so they don’t accidentally ingest something they should not?
Knowing what can harm pets is the first step towards protecting them; some might surprise you. From toxic houseplants to some food and human medicines, poisons can lurk in every room of your home. Think about all the chemicals you use daily and how you can store them away from your pet.
Once you know what can be a pet poison, the next step is to create a plan for locking up these toxins in each room of your home. Poisons can also lurk outdoors, such as fertilizers and insecticides and deicers. Create a list of poisonous substances you have to hand. Next, ensure that all household chemicals and human medicines are locked up. Learn what foods are toxic and resist the temptation to offer them to your pet. Place all poisonous houseplants in locations inaccessible to pets.
An excellent resource for creating such a poison list can be found on the ASPCA Website. This site is also your go-to resource if you suspect your pet has eaten something it should not have.”
What are the dangers of not picking up pet waste?
“What I’ve learned about dog poop and the dangers it presents to people, dogs, and the environment since inventing the dooloop. It’s literally become my ‘business’ to know.
Most people intrinsically recognize the ‘ick’ factor of stepping into a pile-o-poo. A shoe tread full of sh*t is universally dreaded; double that if it’s between the toes. From there, things don’t improve….Dog poop isn’t a natural part of nature. Like human feces, dog poo is toxic. If dogs ate like wild animals, it would be fine, but even an organic, raw food diet does not equal acceptable poop. All dog poop is loaded with bacteria needed for digestion and often parasites. These two things make it toxic to people and animals, both wild and domestic. “But I live out in the country’; there is still impactful downstream harm; when it rains, it flows! Poop piles degrade, but just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean the bacteria and parasites are gone. Dog poop has become a real problem for many water districts, contaminating aquifers and waterways. The sheer amount of waste means at the dooloop we’ve heard from water districts desperate to try and mitigate the issue near popular dog walking areas. Dog doo also changes soil chemistry, and native plants get replaced by invasive ones. In honesty, my old thought upon seeing an abandoned bag of poop was, ‘why didn’t they just leave it if they weren’t going to deal with it?’ Turns out, both are just different bad options. Finally, omgness, people are getting hurt over dog poop. Do a Google search and read about people losing their sh*t over someone else’s dog’s sh*t. Having a dog is an awesome gift and responsibility. Taking care of your dog’s ‘business’ is the neighborly thing to do. Pick up after your dog and dispose of it properly; it’s a win/win/win. “
What are the most common mistakes when you buy pet insurance?
“One of the most common mistakes I made when I started buying pet insurance is that I didn’t do proper research to know what my pet insurance policy covers. This not only made me pay higher but also made me get an extra layer of coverage so as to fully care for my pet. My advice is that you should ask for recommendations from friends and families on the best pet insurance company before purchasing a policy. You need to know how the provider handles pre-existing conditions in pet insurance.”
Emenike Emmanuel, Top Insurance Blogs
How to pet-proof cables at home?
“Pet-proofing cables at home is very important, and when our Dog Dexter was a puppy, we had to make sure that our place was safe for him. We started off by covering cables with protective sleeves, which can be found at any store, and most cable sleeves are available that are designed to protect your electrical cords from being chewed on. Our next step was to hide cables behind furniture, and we rearranged our house so that cables were hidden from Dexter and less accessible! We also did a lot of training with Dexter to teach him not to chew on cords by using positive reinforcement and redirecting him to chew on his toys or bones. It’s super important to supervise your pets and keep a close eye on them to prevent accidents.”
Tips for creating a stress-free environment for your pet
“Creating a stress-free environment for your pet can greatly improve their overall wellbeing and quality of life. Here are ten tips to help you create a stress-free environment for your furry friend:
- Provide a comfortable and secure sleeping area: make sure your pet’s sleeping area is quiet, free from any distractions, and close to you! Make sure bedding is soft and clean, and ideally against a wall or corner.
- Stick to a routine: Establishing a routine with your pet, like feeding, exercise, and playtime, can help reduce their anxiety.
- Provide lots of exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce your pet’s anxiety, stress and help them burn off some energy! Give them lots of opportunities to play, run and explore.
- Provide mental stimulation: Boredom can be a major source of stress for pets. Providing things like toys and treat puzzles are a great way to keep them engaged and entertained while you’re away.
- A healthy diet: A healthy diet can help keep your pet’s body and mind in top condition.
- Minimize loud noises: Fireworks or thunder can be extremely stressful to pets. Minimize noise by closing windows, turning on fans, or playing soothing music.
- Use natural remedies: Natural remedies like aromatherapy can help reduce stress in pets and you too! Lavender, chamomile, and valerian root are all known for their calming effects.
- Provide a safe and comfortable environment: Avoid sudden changes or disruptions that can cause anxiety.
- Stay calm: Pets are sensitive to your emotions – if you’re stressed, your pet is likely to feel stressed too.
- Seek professional help: if your pet is experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, consider seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.”