Keeping your home clean and orderly with kids around is a tough job. Throw in a few four-legged family members, and everything becomes even more complicated. But there are advantages to keeping a clean house other than aesthetics. Keeping your home tidy and clutter-free actually reduces your pet’s risk of injury or illness.
Dogs are creatures of sense, and their greatest asset is their curiously strong sense of smell. Keeping toys and clothes picked up and sanitized or laundered makes them less desirable to dogs and lessens the likelihood that a dirty sock or a pizza grease-covered puzzle piece will end up in Fido’s tummy. So if you’re thinking of getting a family dog or just trying to keep your home safe for your existing pup, start with a clean sweep.
How you pet-proof will also depend on what type of pet you have. Cats are generally independent and tend to not be too destructive. But if you have a particularly spirited feline friend, give her plenty of stimulation with a cat tower or two and some easily accessible window sills. Cat toys can be hit or miss, but a tower with plenty of tunnels and platforms will help your kitty feel safe and important, regardless of the size of your home.
You pet-proofing efforts should also take your pet’s size into account. Keeping a 120-pound Great Dane safe is a whole different task than doing so for a 10-pound Dachshund. Keep cords and power strips stored safely away from smaller, curious breeds who operate low to the ground. For larger breeds with lots of energy, make sure heavy furniture pieces like dressers and entertainment centers are fastened to a stud in the wall. Just like with curious kids, curious dogs can be injured by toppling furniture.
No matter what size dog you have, walk your fence line regularly and patch any loose boards and repair untrustworthy gates. If your dog spends time outside alone, make sure he’s got a safe place to hide like a dog house or covered crate in case bad weather pops up out of nowhere. This is Texas, after all. This will reduce the chance of your dog escaping and getting injured or causing damage to your home out of fear.
In the kitchen, store non-food items like paper plates and paper towels on lower shelves of the pantry to prevent your dog from reaching the good stuff. Food items like butter, garlic, onions and bread can all be harmful to your dog and should be stored on top of the fridge or on a tall shelf. Secure cabinets with baby-proof locks during puppyhood to teach your furry family member the rules early.
Pet-proofing your home is an important task that can take some time, money and effort. But the peace of mind of knowing that your best friend is safe at home is worth every penny. And you never know what kind of vet bills you’ll avoid by taking just a few precautionary steps.