How To Pet-Proof Your Home
Pets may not stay puppies and kittens for long, but pet-proofing the areas we share with them never ends. Making adjustments around the home for pet safety is an ongoing process of tweaks and learning curves. After moving to a new house or making other changes in the home, some steps need to be started over from scratch.
Age Is Not a Factor in Pet-Proofing
It’s nice to sigh in relief after successfully making it through the puppy or kitten stage. True, it does get easier with age. However, any kind of change can bring about pet stress and behavior changes, and moving means re-training pets in the new home. A basic pet-proofing tool chest for any home might consist of the following:
Not only are they great for puppies, introducing new pets and keeping children safe, but gates are also a priceless tool when moving. Use gates to:
- Keep pets confined to a safe area while moving boxes are packed and unpacked.
- Gate off unfamiliar new stairways to keep pets safe in their new home.
- Keep pets out of the way upstairs while boxes and furniture are carried through open doors downstairs.
- Aid senior pets from falling down or climbing stairs they can’t easily navigate due to weaker muscles, arthritis or loss of sight.
Repellant and Bitter Sprays
These sprays only stay on surfaces short-term, so they can help with the temporary chaos that moving presents.
- Spray boundaries within the new home while re-training pets on where they should and should not go.
- Use repellant spray around the perimeter of a new yard to re-train your pets of where “their” yard is. This will also help keep out potentially unfriendly or unvaccinated strays.
- Line the perimeter of plant and flowerbeds in the new yard with repellant spray until they are identified as non-poisonous to pets.
- Spritz bitter tasting spray, made especially for pets, on potentially dangerous but hard-to-resist items like packing peanuts, tape, string and cords. Their favorite toys may be packed away, so they might be looking for new ones!
Every pet owner should have one plastic crate for each pet. Not only are they often required for trips to the vet, they also come in handy on moving day, for both transportation and safety.
When a pet is properly crate-trained—by learning that entering the crate always means good things like praise, treats, meals and sleep—the crate becomes one of their favorite relaxation retreats. As long as they are never used as a punishment, pets will happily enter and stay in the crate on their own.
- Put pets in their crate while moving and rearranging furniture to keep them safe and out from underfoot.
- After moving, pets in crates will watch contently as boxes are unpacked rather than diving into a pile of packing peanuts.
- When painting a room, crates keep paws out of paint and pet hair away from freshly painted walls.
Other useful products for pet-proofing and keeping pets safe in the home include:
- Double-Sided Tape: Extra-thick strips are available especially for cats. Place a few strips on countertops to re-train cats to stay down in the new home, or on the walls and furniture to keep them from scratching with their claws. Scratching is a normal and healthy behavior, however. Offer them posts and other appropriate places to scratch and redirect them to those objects when they feel the urge to scratch.
- Bottled Pheromones: Pets thrive on routine. The stress of a move on a pet can cause stomach and immune system issues, behavior changes, hiding or even running away. The older the pet, the more stressful a move becomes. Natural pheromone remedies are available as sprays, plug-in diffusers and oils. The scent is said to calm dogs and cats and can be used both preventatively before stressful situations and as a remedy for stressed pets.
- Lidded Trash Cans: Many pets don’t start sniffing around until they know their owners are gone, but even pets that have been successfully trained to stay out of the trash can suddenly go on a rummage rampage. This could happen without warning when tempted by a new smell or due to stress or boredom. Sudden “naughty” behaviors in an otherwise well-behaved dog or cat are sometimes brought on simply due to aging.
- Cord Protectors: Electrical cords should be bundled and protected from chewing. Available at home improvement stores, cord protectors can be used in conjunction with bitter tasting sprays.
- Beware of Chemicals: Commercial lawn fertilizer that is not labeled as organic contains chemicals at pets’ level. Inhaling and ingesting these chemicals every year can cause cancer and allergies while harming the skin and damaging internal organs. For indoor pests, think twice before dousing the home with chemically-laden pest sprays and poison-filled trays that pets could chew on. Instead, seal the home with caulk, keep counters and floors clean, and look into natural pest repellants like cinnamon, citrus oil and cedar.
Moving is a time of change for all involved, and any kind of stress or change can throw off past pet training. Set pets up to live safely and harmoniously in their current home and the next.
This article was written by Leigh Peterson for MyMove.com, an online resource for moving information, products and coupons.