Pet’s are more than just cuddly creatures that make our hearts melt. Pets are full-fledged members of our family, our accomplices, even our friends. For some first-time pet owners, the first thing that comes to mind when adopting a pet might be making sure they have room to play, grow, and sufficient food. Next might come how to find the best pet care supplies, the best grooming centers, and so on, it can get pretty busy the first couple of days as a pet owner! However, out of all things to provide your pets, the number one thing you can provide is safety.
How to keep your pet safe should be the biggest priority if you’re one of the 68 percent of US households that has a pet. The American Pet Products Association, or APPA, says that these pets include 90 million dogs and 94 million cats! That’s a lot of safety issues that can come up. But, not to worry. If you do your research and are committed to changing a few things around, have common sense, and follow these simple 10 tips, you’ll be able to know how to keep your pet safe in no time.
1. Know Your Pet’s Food Allergies
As mentioned earlier, a key part of pet ownership is providing the best food and pet nutrition for your dog or cat. When it comes to nutrition, you want to have food that has the highest amount of protein and doesn’t have any fillers, highly processed meats and carbs, or a high-grain content. Cats and dogs need to have a high amount of nutrition and a well-balanced diet. Some people even go so far as to put their pets on a raw food diet. Whatever diet you choose to put your pooch or kitty on, it’s important to know how to keep your pet safe when it comes to food allergies.
Yes, you read that correct, dogs and cats are still susceptible, like humans, to develop food allergies. These can occur at any age, so it’s important to look out for symptoms and make changes to your pet’s diet in order to prevent them from getting sick. At adoption agencies, specific food allergies and food sensitivity triggers will be given to you for your pet. Make sure to follow the adoption agency’s guidelines rigorously, and read all ingredients on your pet food labels to keep your pet safe. In addition, look out for symptoms such as itchy skin, ears, hives, and facial swelling, and contact an animal clinic right away.
2. Give Your Pet Time to Adjust to Other Housemates
Before adopting and bringing in a new member to the family, it’s essential to first see how your other pets will react to a new addition to the family. Cats, for instance, can be incredibly territorial and need time to take well to new additions. Female cats, in particular, have a hard time adjusting to new female counterparts. Dogs need time to adjust as well, so it’s important to check in with your local adoption agency to make time for your pets to sniff and know each other better.
In addition, take into account small children you might have, including neighbors around your area. The last thing you want on your hands is to have to hire an animal bite lawyer after an incident with a child. It’s important to take into account these little details in order to know how to keep your pet safe. In fact, most adoption agencies will specifically mention if your future pet has a problem with smaller children or needs to avoid other pets. Don’t try to sneak by and believe your pooch or cat will somehow change their ways once inside your home. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and prevent a call to the dog bite attorneys (ouch).
3. Know Your Pet’s Triggers
On top of needing to avoid certain other pets and small children, some pets might need more attention than others when they arrive home. Many pets in shelters have been rescued, abandoned, neglected, and even abused, and thus need extra care when they arrive at their new home. In knowing how to keep your pet safe, you must also know what triggers and behavioral issues a pet might have before committing to their care.
Pets, like humans, can develop anxiety, including separation anxiety, and develop symptoms that can be bothersome.
If you know your pet has issues with anxiety, or notice new symptoms such as incontinence, extra chewing, or trying to escape, it’s important to seek professional medical help. It doesn’t have to be a big hassle to give your pet the care they need. Medication, behavioral techniques, and other treatment options are available to keep your pet from being too stressed and keeping them safe. Be the love and support for your new family member, and do your best to help them heal.
4. Make Sure You Have Enough Time for Them
Knowing how to make time to care and interact with your pet and knowing how to keep your pet safe go hand in hand. If you’re a busy-bee, and find yourself always putting your four-legged friend in pet boarding, it might be time to analyze how you can spend more time with your pets. Though cats are more independent creatures, and can often stay outdoors for extended periods of time, certain predators such as mountain lions and coyotes can still pose a threat to them.
Dogs also have some degree of independence but need far more attention and time to dedicate to them as well. If left alone, dogs can experience separation anxiety, hold in their urine and poop, and this can lead to negative health consequences. Also, dogs who stay home are subject to boredom, and will rifle through trash, cushions, and cabinets in order to find something to do! This is no good, and so it’s up to you, the pet owner, to find ways to spend more time with your pets and keep them safe.
5. Keep Possible Poisons Away
We’ve all heard that foods such as chocolate and grapes are dangerous for dogs. But knowing how to keep your pet safe requires more knowledge than that, and it takes a keen eye to keep on the lookout for potential hazards other than food that can cause mayhem on your dog. Everyday items such as batteries, small toys and choking-hazards, and cleaning supplies are all dangerous culprits. These items, among many others, should be put away and locked up in order to keep your pets safe. Now that you put these items away, you can go about your day, right?
Wrong. Some houseplants, in addition to the above-mentioned items, can prove to be deadly and poisonous to your dogs. Not many people think about this beforehand, but it’s important to keep this in mind when bringing home a new four-legged friend. Certain plants, such as lilies, chrysanthemums, and tulips can be toxic to cats as well. Keep this in mind if you have a backyard and take your pets out for walks as well. It’s best to avoid these plants at all costs and steer clear of them. Educate yourself beforehand in order to keep your cuddly friends safe.
6. Maintain Your Home in Good Order
In addition to locking up and getting rid of all potential hazards and poisons, it’s important to do proper maintenance on your home in order to keep your pet, and yourself, safe. For example, inspecting your hardwood floor to make sure no splinters or nails are out can not only keep you but also your pets safe. Dogs and cats walk around on all fours on soft pads, so making sure your carpet, tile, and flooring are in the best shape possible and prevent tears and cuts.
In addition, make sure cabinets are nailed into the walls to prevent them from falling over, keep vases and other fragile items in the center of tables, and overall “pet-proof” your home. This, on top of ensuring all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order, can keep not only yourself safe in an emergency, but also keep your pets from having an accident.
7. Ensure All Miscellaneous Maintenance Is Pet-Friendly
The above-mentioned maintenance is fairly easy-to-do, and should not pose a problem to any pet or human if done right. However, some common maintenance jobs can be dangerous for your pet, and you must be aware of these beforehand.
For instance, if pest control is called in, many times you can enter the home before your pet can due to harsh chemicals being used. It’s always best to call in advance to maintenance companies and ask if they have any “pet-safe” chemicals and options. In addition, getting the run-down of what to do if you do have a pet before a maintenance procedure is done is also highly important. Remember, just because a certain chemical does not affect you, your pet is much smaller than you, and they might be affected differently.
8. Don’t Forget the Weather
Dogs and cats can be found all over the world, and all over the United States. Regions vary drastically, but rest assured that every part of the world has a dog or cat acclimated and living there. It’s important to do as much research as possible on the breed you intend to buy beforehand. Dogs such as huskies love the cold, and though they can remain in an apartment in Florida, research how much air conditioning would be needed to keep them comfortable? For hairless dogs and cats, what is the temperature they must be kept in order to prevent them from shivering endlessly?
Though it sounds funny, it’s important to know how to keep your pet safe by ensuring they aren’t at risk for dehydration, or worse hypothermia if left outside. In addition, if your pet is an outside pet, make sure they are not at risk of burning their paws in hot weather, and have adequate shade and water during those summer months.
9. Maintain All Vet Appointments
This tip is fairly common sense, and it should be strictly followed if you want to know how to keep your pet safe. Unfortunately, sometimes we avoid going to the vet because our pets find it uncomfortable or make the trip a nightmare. Talk to your vet about methods in which to transport your pets safely. Animal carriers, anxiety vests, treats, there are a myriad of options available to ensure your pooch or cat makes it on time for their appointment.
In addition to keeping up with dog vaccinations and cat appointments, other appointments such as play dates, grooming, and even regular walks all need to be maintained as well. Don’t get lazy, and ensure your pet is able to maintain their health outside of the home.
10. Microchip and Put a Collar on Your Pet
Pet’s aren’t perfect, and sometimes run off and run away unbeknownst to us. Running away puts them in danger of being stolen, hurt, or worse. In addition to putting a collar on them with appropriate contact details, microchipping your pet in order to ensure your details are with them is highly advised. A microchip can be scanned by any vet or adoption shelter that might find your pet, and you can then be contacted that they are found.
It’s All Love
Following these simple tips can help you learn how to keep your pet safe, and also help you realize that owning a pet is much more than owning a doll or toy. Pets all have their own personalities, background stories, needs, and it’s important for you to follow them. Giving them a safety net, pet-proofing your house, and even putting a fuzzy collar on them is all about one thing: love.