According to a poll by the American Pet Products Association in 2016, an estimated 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are beloved members of families in America. Many of these four-legged family members live in homes, therefore are vulnerable, like children, to knocking things down, ingesting toxic substances, getting injured by objects lying around or generally getting into places they shouldn’t. To avoid any potential harm to your best friend and lap/couch companion, take care to pet proof your home. Here’s how to do that.

Here are some of the things you should consider:

  • Hide Your Hazards – they’ll put anything in their mouths, so keep cords and wires, mouth-sized decorative items, or potentially toxic supplies stowed out-of-reach of nosy pets. And don’t forget to account for springy felines that can leap onto countertops and scale bookcases.
  • Avoid Slippery Situations – hardwood or polished slate floors are beautiful, but can create a slippery situation for paws. Dogs may slide into a sharp corner or hard wall because they race to the door to greet you or lose footing while chasing a toy, so make sure you have slip-proof rugs over flooring.
  • Install A Security System – make sure your pets are also safe from intruders or don’t fall victim to carbon monoxide. Remember, pets weigh less therefore will react more quickly to a dangerous gas.
  • Purchase A Pet Emergency Kit – in the event of an emergency, you should have a pet first aid kit handy. Check with your vet for recommended items to keep on hand, such as hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, pet vaccine records and even your vet’s contact number.
  • Provide Proper Fencing – have your fence secured deep in the ground and make sure there are no gaps in the perimeter so curious pups can’t dig underneath or escape. Also, keep an eye out for jagged edges, lose splinters or rusty nails that can also cause injury to patrolling pets.
  • Secure Your Cabinets – because pets love to snoop (hence a beagle named Snoopy), you need to keep chemicals, cleansers, and other supplies locked away behind secured doors. Even products that may be relatively safe for an adult could be lethal for your pet.

And before you give any animal the run of your home, take a few minutes to run through these checklists organized by room:

Kitchens/Bathrooms/Laundry Room

  • Cabinet doors that shut and lock – add childproof latches as needed
  • Medication, cleaners, chemicals and laundry supplies on higher shelves (for dogs) or behind secured doors (dogs and cats)
  • Trash cans with secure lids or stored inside a closed cabinet
  • Plugged or blocked access to small spaces or holes inside cabinets or behind washer and dryers
  • Food, even pet food, is out of reach of animals
  • Toilet lids are closed to prevent animals drinking any harmful chemicals or falling in

Living/Family Room

  • Cords and wires from lamps, electronics or telephones secured with hooks, clips or ties
  • Children’s toys and games boxed up and out of the way
  • Lightweight or breakable knick-knacks are safely in cabinets so your cat won’t knock them over
  • Potentially harmful house plants, including hanging plants, are out of reach
  • Craft supplies, such as sewing notions or yarn and thread, are locked away

Garage

  • All chemicals are closed tightly and secured behind locked doors or on high shelves
  • Floors and driveway is clean of antifreeze – one taste can be lethal
  • All sharp objects and tools are locked away safely

Bedrooms

  • Laundry and shoes are in hampers or behind closed doors (buttons can be swallowed)
  • Medications, lotions and cosmetics are kept off accessible surfaces like your night tables
  • Electrical and phone wires are out of the way

Your pets are an integral part of your family. You want to keep your family safe so remember that the smallest members of your household need protecting too.

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