This article is part of the Pet "Net Safety Event, a day when pet-centric bloggers and site editors publish articles in an effort to heighten awareness about critical issues related to pet safety. After you read this article visit the event's organizer, Petside.com to see topics and links to all the participating sites.
You don't have to spend money to increase your pet's safety. Here's some quick, easy -- and free! -- steps you can take now.
1. Order the Free Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA
This kit includes a pet rescue window decal that, in the event of an emergency, alerts rescue personnel that pets are inside your home. The safety pack also includes an ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center magnet—a great way to keep the APCC's toll-free emergency number and website address handy in case your pets get into something they shouldn’t! Request the free kit here.
2. Learn about Pet Poisoning Hazards
Most households have a number of items that can poison your pet. Some of the common hazards are human medications (these can be stolen from your nightstand, or could be a dropped pill licked up off the floor), certain people food (chocolate or grapes, for example), some household cleaners (like disinfectants) and some common household plants (lillies, etc.). Learn more about poisoning hazards by visiting the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and take steps to safeguard your pet's safety.
3. Put Together a Pet Emergency Information Kit
Create a file that has your pet's photo (for id purposes), medical records, list of medications, your veterinarian's name and telephone, and telephone and address of nearest animal emergency care facility. Keep the file handy and easily accessible. If your pet is lost or experiences a medical emergency, this information will be invaluable.
4. Pet Proof Your Home
The American Humane Society offers this great checklist for pet-proofing your home. Most of these steps are free. For example, keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals (besides that water is just not sanitary). Reading through this comprehensive checklist only takes a few minutes and is likely to reveal at least one potential hazard that you need to correct.
5. Don't Let Your Pet Get Underfoot
Have you ever heard a pet described as a four-legged tripwire? You are probably aware that many (most?) accidents happen in the home and this goes for humans as well as for pets. And when you mix the two together it can be hazardous for both. This issue was addressed in a New York Times article, In the Home, a Four-Legged Tripwire. This article looked at the human side of the story: dogs and cats (and their toys and leashes) cause people to trip and fall resulting in about 240 people each day seeking treatment at an emergency room.
But there is another victim of these encounters -- the pet. I haven't seen the statistics, but imagine that the pet injuries range from the temporary pain of a stepped-on tail to a tragic death. Pets tend to be underfoot most often when they are excited, like when they're in the kitchen and see and smell all the cooking food. As they sit at your feet watching your every move they are vulnerable to getting hit by something falling off the counter, could have hot liquids spilled on them, etc. Keep you and your pet safe by exercising caution and keep them out of the kitchen when you are cooking.
6. Don't Feed Your Pet at the Table
Some foods are poisonous to your pet so obviously you want to control what you (and others at the dining table) might hand down to a begging dog. Of course the other hazard presented by table feeding is obesity. The following cute and funny dog video by Simon Tofield shows what happens when you give in to your dog's pleading and begging and you think "what harm could it do if I toss him a bit of food?"
Enjoy the video, then visit Petside.com to read more about pet safety.