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Style Magazine

Pet Proof

Mar 01, 2011 10:58AM ● By Style

New pets can be a particularly curious bunch.

Just ask my mom about her new Cavalier King Charles, Finley. So excited at the prospect of seeing another puppy in the house, he charged right into his reflection on the stainless steel dishwasher. No 911 visit needed, just a couple minutes to shake it off. The fact is pets like to explore. And with exploring comes sniffing, chewing, eating, scratching and potentially harmful accidents. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent such disasters with some simple steps. Keep your puppy or kitty safe with these smart tips for pet proofing your home and garden:


Use childproof latches to secure cabinets that are close to the floor. This works for pets as well as kids. When little paws try to pry open places where they aren’t supposed to tread, these great little plastic guards will make all the difference.

Make sure all chemical bottle lids are screwed on good and tight. From the Drano to the Windex, don’t let a thirsty puppy send you both to the ER. Better yet, keep all poisons safely behind one of those secured cabinets or completely out of harms reach. The same goes for poisonous plants.

Hide the trash. Where there is garbage, there is a hungry pet looking for leftovers. Keep discarded food and trash items out of reach or expect to find it scattered all over your kitchen floor.

Put harmful wires or cords out of reach. To prevent damaged electrical cords and the risk of electrocution – all lamp, computer, stereo, appliance, etc. wirings and cords should be tied back and inaccessible.

Cover all air and heating vents. We don’t want any great escapes.

Keep shoes and valuables in a secure place. Unless you want your favorite heels to be her new favorite chew toy, you’ll heed this advice. Plus shoelaces and buttons can cause choking, so avoid leaving those lying around.

Close the toilet lid. There’s nothing more disturbing than watching a pet drink out of the toilet. Keep that water feature off limits.
Check the washer and dryer for a stray kitten before loading up. No joke, this was a recommendation of the American Humane Association. But, I guess anything is possible, right?


Block off any open holes or pathways out of the property. No one wants to see a “missing” pet poster, so make sure yours doesn’t have cause to be one.

Make sure your backyard is free of unwanted guests. Occasionally snakes, skunks, spiders and all sorts of interesting critters decide your property is just right for moving in. Make sure they are evicted before Rover is welcomed to roam.

Remove poisonous plants. Animals will eat ANYTHING. So if something in your garden poses a danger, take it out. The same goes for molding fruit that’s fallen off a tree. Also, read all instructions on fertilizers and pest controls to guard against any pet threatening toxins. When it comes to both indoor and outdoor plants, there are some common varieties that are toxic to both cats and dogs; they include aloe vera, amaryllis, baby’s breath, oleander, milkweed  and poinsettia.

Protect your flower or vegetable beds. A little chicken wire for puppies and a layer of coffee grounds for kittens will help keep them at arms length from your tomatoes.

Cover your pool and spas. Until they are the next Michael Phelps of the animal kingdom, prevent drowning with protective covering.

Top 24 Most Common Plants Poisonous to Pets

  1. Aloe Vera
  2. Amaryllis
  3. Azalea/rhodedendron
  4. Baby’s Breath
  5. Begonia
  6. Carnation
  7. Castor Bean
  8. Chrysanthemum
  9. Cyclamen
  10. Daffodil
  11. Gladiola
  12. Hosta
  13. Ivy
  14. Lilies
  15. Milkweed
  16. Morning Glory
  17. Oleander
  18. Poinsettia
  19. Pothos
  20. Sago Palm
  21. Tomato Plant
  22. Tulip/Narcissus
  23. Yew
  24. Kalanchoe