If you just moved to a new home with your pet, then one post-move task that brooks no delay is to pet-proof the new house or apartment. One thing you should realize as a caring pet owner is that pet-proofing your home after the move is crucial for having a happy and healthy pet.
The bad news is that an unfamiliar home, both for you and your pet, can hide a number of potential dangers for your animal friend – some of them are expected hazards while others can be totally unanticipated… until an accident occurs out of the blue.
The good news is that you can eliminate the majority of those potential dangers for your dog or cat – all you need to do is take a few precautionary measures and follow some simple common-sense rules.
How to pet-proof your new home after a move? Consult this room-by-room pet-proofing guide to keep things as safe as possible for your animal companion.
Your first stop in pet-proofing the new home should be the kitchen, of course. All in all, the kitchen is a dangerous place for a pet to be.
Your dog or cat may jump onto the kitchen table and countertop and make a huge mess, while certain food items can be toxic for pet animals.
- Food. Your pet must not have any access to food items that are potentially toxic for them. Such dangerous foods include chocolate (yes, even small doses of chocolate can be harmful), raisins, grapes, avocados, onions, garlic, and coffee. Keep such food safely out of reach. Also, place all food that’s not in the fridge in covered containers instead of just leaving it on the table or counter.
- Alcoholic drinks. Pets must never have access to any type of alcohol because it is toxic for them. Keep alcoholic drinks safely inside the fridge.
- Chemicals. The space under the sink is the usual place where various poisonous chemicals such as cleaning products are kept. Keep the cabinets locked at all times.
- Utensils. Keep all kitchen utensils in a closed drawer. Position breakable china plates as far back on counters as possible to eliminate the risk of being knocked over.
- Garbage cans. Use only garbage cans that have secure pet-proof lids.
- Small spaces. Cats and small dogs can sometimes squeeze into tight places and get stuck there. Block the access to any paths leading to the back of the fridge and other large kitchen appliances.
- Safety gate. You may want to install a safety gate to keep your pet out of the kitchen while you’re cooking.
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Bathroom and laundry room
The bathroom can be extremely dangerous for pets so you must do your best to pet-proof it.
Medications are usually stored in the medicine cabinet and can be lethal for animals if swallowed.
Chemicals such as bathroom cleaners and drain openers are also sometimes stored in the bathroom.
The toilet bowl is the last thing you’d want your pet to play around or drink water from.
The laundry room can be equally hazardous too with the presence of various chemical products such as detergent, bleach, fabric softeners, and so on.
- Medications. Keep all medications in the medicine cabinet and keep it safely closed. Keep sharp objects such as razors safely away too.
- Chemicals. Keep all bathroom and laundry room chemicals in a cabinet that can’t be open by a pet – child locks usually work fine.
- Washing machine and dryer. Keep their doors closed when you’re not using them. ALWAYS check inside the washer and dryer before using them, particularly when their doors have been accidentally left open.
- Toilet bowl. Keep the lid of the toilet bowl closed when not in use.
Good tips: How to move with dogs
Our pet-proofing checklist moves on to the living room where numerous dangers lurk for your pet as well.
Some furniture pieces may be unstable (top-heavy or poorly leveled) and may hurt a pet if your playful friend jumps on them or bumps into them.
The cords of electronic equipment present can shock or electrocute your pet if chewed on.
Also, the living room usually contains a number of potted plants, and some plants happen to be toxic for pets when chewed or swallowed.
- Electrical cords. Cover or move electrical cords and wires so that they cannot be reached and chewed on by your pet.
- Cords to window blinds and drapery. The long cords to drapery and window blinds present a choking hazard for pets if accidentally looped around their necks. Keep those cords tied up high and well secured.
- Plants. Inventory all your plants to make sure they are not harmful to your pet. Always check how pet-friendly a plant is before you buy it or bring it into your home. Find here the top 10 plants poisonous to pets.
- Fireplace. If there’s a fireplace in your home, make sure you always place a fire screen in front of it to limit the access.
- If accidentally swallowed, batteries can poison a pet or cause internal burns. Always dispose of old batteries and keep new ones in closed drawers, out of reach of pets.
Useful info: How to move with cats
How to pet-proof your new home after moving? It’s time to turn your attention to the bedroom.
At first glance, the bedroom does look like the safest room for a pet to be. And yet, it’s usually the unexpected dangers that turn out to cause the biggest problems.
Small items such as jewelry pieces (especially stud earrings) may get chewed on or swallowed.
Mothballs in closets, wardrobes, and drawers are toxic for pets, and so are some houseplants as already mentioned above.
- Windows. As with the rest of your home, keep your windows closed or have window screens to prevent pets from falling through them. This is especially important if you live on the upper floors of a high-rise building.
- Mothballs. Keep mothballs in places that are not accessible by pets.
- Jewelry. Keep all of your jewelry pieces in a secure jewelry box.
- Electric cords. Keep electric cords well organized and cover them, if possible, to prevent possible electric shock or electrocution.
- Plastic bags. Random plastic bags can present a serious suffocating hazard for pets if they place their heads inside and are not able to shake off the bag on time.
Good advice: How to move with pet birds
Garage and basement
Because your garage and basement fall outside the main house, both areas are usually used for storing highly hazardous items.
The dangers for a pet inside a garage or a basement lurk from everywhere – from car-related things such as antifreeze, motor oil, gas and battery acid to other toxic items such as rat poison, paint, pesticides and so on.
Additionally, small metal items such as screws and bolts can be accidentally swallowed by a pet animal.
- Small metal items. Keep screws, nuts, and bolts in containers that have safety lids.
- Chemical products. Store chemicals, including car-related fluids, in secure cabinets that cannot possibly be opened by an animal.
- Antifreeze. Antifreeze is especially dangerous for pets because it smells and tastes sweet and they tend to get drawn to it. Make no mistake – antifreeze is highly lethal for consumption, even in small doses. Store the antifreeze in a closed cupboard where your pet can’t reach it. Also, check the ground regularly for possible antifreeze spills and clean them thoroughly if you do notice any.
- Electrical tools. Unplug any electric tool after use and store it in a place inaccessible by pets.
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If you’ve just moved to a house, then it’s only natural that your pet, whether a dog or a cat, will enjoy playing in its yard.
Again, you must make sure that your pet’s outdoor playground is as safe as possible.
- Poisonous plants. Check all the flowers and plants in your garden and ensure that none of them can be toxic to animals.
- Pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides and herbicides are full toxic chemicals so stop using them altogether for your yard.
- Fence. Check carefully the existing fence or install a new one to keep your pet in and stray animals out of your garden space.
- Fire pit. If there’s a fire pit in the yard, never leave your pet alone when that put is in use.