No matter where a PCS takes you, your entire family is along for the ride — including your furry friends. And while every home may not come with an expansive backyard, doggy door, or sunny windowsill for your pets to enjoy, it’s important to make your new space as comfortable and as safe for them as possible. We’ve put together a simple room-by-room guide for pet-proofing any home to help ensure man’s best friends stay happy and healthy.
1. Living Room
This is probably where the main activity happens in your house. It’s where your Military Family watches TV together, where your kids play, and where you host company. Make sure all the bustling doesn’t compromise your pets’ safety.
- Keep a screen over your fireplace to prevent your pets from getting into the flames or ashes. Also, cover up logs and fire starters so they don’t get eaten.
- Make sure there aren’t any dangling or loose cords for your pets to chew on. Tuck everything away and cover up outlets that are in use.
- Double-check the species of any houseplants you bring into the room to ensure they’re not poisonous to pets. You can find a list of safe plants here.
- Keep any items that your pets may be tempted to eat, such as puzzle pieces and small toys or figures, on high surfaces your pets can’t reach.
- Any entryways or unscreened windows should be kept shut so pets don’t have an easy escape.
Bedrooms are usually pretty benign when it comes to hazards, but your pets can usually find something to chew on. Your safest bet is keeping the door closed to bedrooms, but, if you let to snuggle up with your furry friends in bed, be sure to watch out for a few things.
- Make sure low windows are securely closed for pets looking for a nice view.
- Keep laundry hampers tightly closed or behind a closed door, and the same goes for your shoe collection. Drawstrings, buttons, and shoelaces are dangerous if swallowed.
- Move any electrical wires, such as those from your alarm clock or phone chargers, out of reach from chewing.
- Keep jewelry in a box or on high surfaces your pets can’t reach.
- Curious cats may like to curl up in closets are drawers, so always double-check before closing them.
3. Bathroom and Laundry Room
Much like bedrooms, it’s probably safest to leave the doors closed to bathrooms and laundry rooms if possible. But, if you have to give your dog a path or kitty likes to hang out in your fresh laundry, take a few safety precautions.
- Use childproof latches on easy-to-open cabinets so pets don’t get into any cleaning or medical supplies.
- Keep all other medications, cleansers, detergents, and vitamins in high up cabinets.
- Be wary of leaving any towels or laundry where pets can snag them.
- Keep the lids to toilets closed, especially if you use chemical cleaners in them. Also, cover up any sinks or buckets that come into contact with chemicals.
- Close washer and dryer doors so cats can’t crawl in for a nap.
Pets will quickly learn that all the best food comes out of the kitchen. Prepare for your hungry, furry guests by scanning the room for hazards.
- Seal containers with hazardous foods, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocados, nuts, and coffee, and keep them far out of the reach of pets.
- The same goes for dish detergent and other cleaners.
- Don’t allow your cat to crawl on the counters or near the stove while you are cooking.
- Always keep the oven closed except when moving food in or out of it.
- Remain mindful of knives, twist-ties, and small pieces of food that can be easily snagged from the counter or dropped on the floor.
5. Garage and Basement
These are common storage areas for many things, particularly items that could prove hazardous to pets. Same safety precautions are necessary to keep them out of trouble.
- Swap cardboard storage boxes for plastic ones that can snap shut.
- Keep pesticides, gasoline, solvents, and antifreeze, and other dangerous items such as hammers, saws, and shovels in locked cabinets or out of reach from pets.
- Keep small items like nuts, bolts, and nails organized and in a secure location.
- Always check for your pets before closing the door to basements and garages. If you have smaller pets, check under your car and under the hood of the car before turning it on.
6. Front and Backyard
Pets love to play outside to spend time in the fresh air, but there are a few things you should check on before letting them roam free.
- Keep tight covers on pools and hot tubs so your pets can’t get in or drink the chlorinated water. Alternatively, you could keep the area fenced in.
- Scan your yard for any harmful plants you may want to remove or keep your dog away from.
- Always keep an eye on your pets when they’re outside if your yards are not fenced in.
- If you do have a fence, check for any weak spots, gaps, or places where your pet could burrow under.