How to pet-proof your home
From non-toxic household cleaners to an escape proof backyard – here’s our guide to pet-proofing your home and garden.
Getting a new pet is exciting for the whole family but it comes with a lot of responsibility, one aspect of which includes making sure your home and garden are ready for your new furry friend. We spoke to pet parents to get their advice on pet-proofing essentials.
Use pet-friendly products
Pets will get into anything – from that apple pie cooling on the counter to pot plants and cleaning supplies. Before your new pet comes home, Inez Zimakowski, who has a boxer called Belle, recommends auditing your cupboards and outdoor areas for their protection. “Check that your pesticides are all pet-friendly and thoroughly wipe down or wash any surfaces that have had non-pet-friendly pesticides applied,” she says. “Keep any other toxic items high up and out of reach.” That goes for supplies in the outdoor shed, under the kitchen sink and in the laundry.
Supply sufficient entertainment
Boredom is a huge factor when it comes to why cats and dogs destroy objects and property, so ensure you’re giving your pet enough stimulation when you’re not home. “Don’t leave your pet with pent up energy,” advises Caroline Taylor, whose ragdoll cat has a plethora of playthings. “If you’ve got a cat, you can never have too many scratching posts. We have all different kinds of scratching paraphernalia in every room – different fabrics and toys – and we rotate them regularly so Finchy doesn’t get bored.”
Protect your valuables
Regardless of the amount of toys you have for your new pet, they will manage to chew through just about any household item they can find. Be mindful of this by ensuring you don’t leave valuables lying around. “Don't underestimate your pet’s capacity to chew! I left my passport on the couch for five minutes and my dog completely destroyed it. Let’s not even mention the many shoes, hats, and cords that have also been destroyed. For cables and cords, where possible, I covered them with plastic covers,” explains Matilda Duffecy, owner of two dogs named Quince and Toast. “Stash all your remote controls out of reach, too.”
Go through your garden
If your pet will have free reign in the garden when you’re not home do a thorough check to ensure they will be safe and unable to escape. “Check your yard and boundaries for gaps, holes, sharp objects and obstacles before you bring your dog home,” says Chris Waite, whose new cocker spaniel pup arrives imminently. “We have paving around the perimeter of the house, but there’s a small gap between the pavers and the fence that Alfie will be able to fall down when he goes all adventure on us, so we've used garden mesh to build a barrier roughly twice the height of a full grown dog so our new pet can roam about safely and happily.”
Before you bring your pet home, have a look at your home and decide which area of your house and garden they’ll have access to – then pet-proof these pet-friendly zones. “After my first dog chewed through my couch – think of a gym’s foam pit and you'll get an idea of the level of destruction – I've used timber panels to make the couch a complete no-go zone for the two dogs who have since become part of my family,” says Matilda. “The current couch has weathered the teething stage of two puppies without a scratch!”
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