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9 hazard zones for pets around the home

By Bella Foster

When a new baby comes home from the hospital, we quarantine the home within an inch of its life.

Gaps in stair rails, marble bench tops with square edges and that industrial dining table with the nails poking out – they’re all declared danger zones in need of buffering or replacing.

But what happens when you bring home a brand new puppy or kitten?

As most pet owners will testify, an equal amount of vigilance is required when caring for furry members of the family – and that includes the way you keep your home.

Like babies – once they’ve worked out how to crawl – puppies and kittens can get stuck in the weirdest places.

Here are nine hazard zones your pet might come across in the home – and some ways to make them safe.

1. Kitchens

Leave food lying around and your pet will find it. A tidier kitchen means a healthier pet. Toxic foods for animals include: Chocolate, avocados, grapes, raisins, garlic and coffee. If you can’t trust yourself to leave a tidy kitchen, you can always install a baby gate.

2. House plants

Indoor plants can be a great way to insert life into an otherwise stale indoor environment. But did you know houseplants – especially those in the lily family – can be extremely poisonous to cats? Keep dangerous plants out of reach to avoid a trip to the vet.

3. Bathrooms

Most bathrooms are storage vessels for cleaning products, medications and sanitary products – all of which can be fatal if swallowed by your pet. According to the Lost Dogs Home Victoria, a single paracetamlol tablet can kill an adult cat. If your dog finds a stash of those beef-flavoured doggie pain killers – they could be left with potential stomach ulcers, bleeding or kidney damage. Always store these products in out-of-reach, closed cupboards.

4. Bedrooms

If you use mothballs to keep your clothes intact make sure you always close the doors of your wardrobe. If a curious cat (or dog) comes in contact with one, they are toxic and could result in a trip to the vet. It could be a good idea to keep your shoes behind closed doors as well – more for the sake of the shoes than your pet.

5. Lounge room

Nothing paints a cosier picture than a golden lab in front of an open fire, but naked flames and flying ashes can hurt animals just as easily as humans. Your pet will learn soon enough that fire is not as friendly as it looks. If you’d rather them not have to find out the hard way, invest in a simple screen.

6. E-bar

Study nook, e-bar, whatever you want to call it. This is the place where electricity travels back and forth via cords – cords that can be tempting for an unassuming pup to chew on.

Needless to say, this can give them a nasty electric shock. Tidy up your cords – it will look better too!

7. The garden

As with indoor lily plants, there are a number of plants that are toxic for pets. According to the RSPCA, the following plants are poisonous for pets:

  • Varieties of the Castor Bean or Castor oil plant
  • Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow Brunfelsia bonodora

If you’re the proud tender of a veggie patch, you’ll probably want to keep that area in lockdown for selfish reasons. But certain fruits and vegetables are also not very good for your pet. Luckily, lots of dogs will turn their nose up at veggies once they’ve sampled the taste of meat!

If you keep a compost bin, good on you! Compost is nature’s way of restoring organic waste back into the earth, but keep it lidded and out of reach if possible. Some dogs will stop at nothing to get a taste of this wormy mulch – and funnily enough, it’s not very good for them.

8. Trees, balcony & deck

We all know cats are very good climbers – dogs less so. But there are some places the little critters can’t climb their way out of. If a domestic cat climbs up a tree with overhanging branches, they can end up in the public out of your protection – exposed to roads, cars and if you’re in a rural area, animal predators like foxes.

Try putting chicken wire around the trunks of the trees your frisky feline has taken a shine to.

Have you ever had the misfortune of trying to pry a stubborn cat out from under the house?  If you live in a raised property, like the ones in North Queensland, then make sure any latticework is in good repair so animals can’t sneak in where they’re not meant to be.

9. Pools

Keep your pets away from the water. Even if they can swim, they will likely not be able to get out unless you help them. If you’re not around, they could drown. Gated fencing for your pool area is your best option.

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