When you’re bringing your new dog or cat home for the first time, it’s important to thoroughly pet-proof your home first, to make sure there are no hazards for the newest member of your family. Since any curious cat or dog will naturally explore their surroundings, which also includes licking, sniffing, digging and chewing at new things, you must ensure that there are no dangers that could harm them.
Keeping your pet safe and healthy at all times is the most important responsibility of a pet owner. From proper nutrition to regular visits to the vet, there are many things that you must now make a part of your regular routine. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Pet barrier gates should be used to prevent your dog or cat from entering rooms that may pose a danger to them. These gates are similar to child gates used for toddlers. Depending on the size and age of your pet, you can find various sizes of gates to suit your needs. Pet gates are a good idea if you want to keep naturally nosy pets out of the kitchen while you’re cooking, cleaning or doing laundry, or if you have children or teens who are prone to leaving the front door open and possibly letting your new pet escape.
Another thing you’ll need to do is remove any detergents and cleaners that are accessible to the pet. Cleaning products can harm and even kill your new pet, so it’s important to store them out of their reach. Childproof latches can be helpful tools in pet proofing your home. Latches should be placed on any cabinets that contain items which could harm your pet. Medications, hobby supplies and dangerous foods need to be locked away so your pet can’t access them.
In addition to the kitchen cupboards, make sure to put all soaps, cosmetics and shampoos etc in the bathroom out of reach. This includes any non-toxic substances that may make your animal sick or contain small parts they could swallow or choke on. That innocent bar of soap left in your bath or a tube of toothpaste on the counter may be used as a chew toy by an inquisitive new puppy or dog, and if the dog swallows a lot of soap or inhales the toothpaste cap, you may find yourself with a veterinary emergency on your hands.
Here’s probably the best tip we can give you for your new pet: until you have learned what your dog can and can’t do, and how far he can jump or reach, it is a great idea to keep the phone number of your local vet in a highly-visible place, such as on the fridge.
If you love gardening or have a lot of houseplants, you should know that certain plants can be poisonous to pets. Find a list of dangerous plants, and make sure you either don’t have them in your home or keep them out of reach from your pet.
Most people are surprised to find out that certain human foods and drinks can be highly toxic to your pet – sometimes even just a small amount can cause seizures, organ failure or death. The reason for this is that carnivore pets such as cats and dogs can’t process certain vegetable or grain-based foods the way we do. Humans are omnivores, meaning our bodies have had millions of years to adapt to the various natural chemicals found in high doses in ‘pod’-based foods such as grapes, legumes, mushrooms, coffee beans and nuts. Carnivores can’t process these foods.
Carnivore’s systems also over-react to most grain-based products such as alcohol and caffeine, causing coma, heart-attack and death at very low doses. Canines never eat or drink processed grain-based foods naturally, so their systems react to them as if they are pure poison – which to a cat or dog, they are.
Sadly, most food-related canine and feline deaths are caused by children or adults feeding the animal a small ‘treat’ or ‘seeing if they will eat’ a certain food. Your pet, of course, has no instincts to protect it against eating these foods, and most deaths by human food poisoning are due to liver failure, as the animal’s body tries in vain to process the problem food.
Here is a partial list of food and drink you should never feed your new pet – consult your vet or Google for a full list:
Human Foods Highly Toxic to Both Cats and Dogs:
Rhubarb (leaves are most toxic)
Yeast dough (will ferment in the stomach and rupture it)
Coffee beans and grounds
All alcohol and beer (alcohol is made of fermented grains)
Avocado (all parts of the avocado plant – including the fruit – are poisonous to dogs and cats)
All sugar-free foods (includes chewing gum containing Xylatol)