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8 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe at Home

Pet owners love their animals and want them to be happy. But are there things you might not have thought about that could go a long way toward making your home a safe and pet-friendly haven? The following tips can help both you and your fur family find home life more enjoyable.

1. Put the seat down.
As any pet owner knows, it's tempting for both cats and dogs to take a sip out of the toilet. But, it isn't a healthy water source and it's an especially bad idea if you put sanitizer in your commode. Get in the habit of keeping the seats down on your toilets. Not only will it protect your furry family members from drinking unsanitary water, flushing the toilet with the lid down prevents literally millions of undesirable microscopic particles from flying up and landing on tooth brushes and other toiletry items.

2. Avoid drapes and blinds with long cords and tassels.
They have the potential to become wrapped around the neck of a playful puppy or kitten, creating a choking danger. You also want to be sure that all wires and electrical cords are firmly attached to the wall and not dangling free, inviting a potentially dangerous game.

3. Check your household plants.
Do you know which ones can be poisonous to cats and dogs? Many plants, including aloe, ivies and amaryllis can be toxic to your pet. To be sure, get a complete list of household plants to avoid from the ASPCA. And to avoid accidents, make sure your pet-friendly plants are placed on secure bases so a happy tail or frantic chase through the house won't knock them over.

4. Pick satin paint.
Drooling or a shake after the rain can stain walls painted with flat paint, but satin finish paint will wipe up much more easily. This reduces the chances that your walls will begin to have a "distressed" look that you weren't going for!

5. Where you can, consider skipping carpets in your home.
Even if your dog has a truly astounding bladder and your cat never seems to get fur balls, rugs collect hair, critters and bacteria. Easy-to-clean tile, vinyl, stone or hardwoods tend to look less pet-worn, especially if you keep nails on both your cat and dog trimmed down to minimize floor scratches.

6. Put away the chew toys. (Even the ones you might not consider toys!)
A lot of our favorite fur people have the fatal flaw of chewing on anything left lying around, especially when they are young. For your own piece of mind and the survival of your favorite shoes or cashmere throw, if you don't want it chewed on, don't leave it out. But do keep your pet's own chewy toys easily accessible, especially when you are not around. One fun and attractive way to keep pet toys tidy and handy is to keep them in a decorative basket but even a practical laundry basket will do the trick.

7. Think about crating your pet.
Dogs do very well in closed-in spaces and often feel most secure in their crates when owners are off at work. If crates don't really match your décor, create your own happy pet hideaway by placing the crate inside a cabinet or underneath a tall side table. Look for a piece of furniture that can be adapted to cover your pet's crate at garage and yard sales and then refinish or repaint it to match your décor.

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