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December 9, 2020

Pet-Proof Your Home in Seven Easy Steps

As the colder months approach, many people are looking for a furry companion to brighten up the dark winter days. Before you bring home a new dog or cat, do a thorough inspection of your home and ensure all harmful objects and chemicals are out of reach for a curious pet. Follow these seven steps to create a safe environment for your new family member.

  1. Safely stow all chemicals and foods that could harm your pet
    Many common household goods can be harmful to pets, such as cleaners, detergents, mothballs, pesticides, antifreeze, pest poisons, medications, cosmetics, and more. Make sure these chemicals are stored out of reach or behind child-proof latches.There are also several common human foods that can be poisonous to pets, such as chocolate, avocados, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, coffee, and alcohol — make sure these are also securely stored. Look up a full list of human foods and products that could harm your pet or make them sick prior to bringing your pet home.
  2. Keep electrical cords out of sight
    When chewed on, electrical cords can give a pet a nasty shock. Cover your electrical cords, chargers, and power cables or tuck them away so they’re not tempting to your pet. You can also consider using deterrent sprays to prevent your pet from chewing on cords.
  3. Stash your trash
    Lots of harmful things can end up in a trash can, so get garbage cans that lock or store them behind cupboard doors with child-proof locks.
  4. Check your houseplants
    Many common houseplants can be dangerous to cats and dogs when ingested. Examples include lilies, aloe vera, jade, dumb cane, elephant ear, devil’s ivy, ZZ plant, asparagus fern, and cyclamen. If you’re not sure what kind of plants you have, try searching the database on to identify them.
  5. Remove choking hazards
    Curious pets can sometimes choke on small objects such as twist ties, hair elastics, rubber bands, small toys, or puzzle pieces. Ingesting foreign objects can also cause bowel obstructions and result in a pricey veterinary bill, or possibly worse. When you’re not around to monitor your pet, make sure these objects remain tidied up and out of reach.
  6. Give them their own space
    Whether it’s a crate, a pen, or a room, prepare a space to contain your pet when you’re not at home. That way you can rest at ease, knowing they’re safe and not getting into any trouble! If your pet knows a space is theirs, they’ll also appreciate having a quiet spot to retreat to where they feel safe.
  7. Set some boundaries
    There may still be places in your home where you don’t want your pet to explore, such as your garage or your kitchen when you’re cooking over a hot stove. If so, install a self-closing mechanism on the appropriate doors to ensure you won’t forget to close them, or use pet gates to keep them out.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, pets can still get into trouble. Although home insurance doesn’t cover damage to your home caused by a pet, it does cover damage your pet may cause to a neighbour’s property through your liability coverage. Alberta’s Dangerous Dogs Act mandates that a justice can take complaints about dogs that bite or are dangerous. If an incident happens, the courts will hear if the attack was provoked, or if owners did all they could to prevent an attack. If the owner is held liable, liability coverage will kick in to help pay for expenses related to injuries. It’s worth reviewing your home insurance policy’s liability coverage prior to adopting a pet to make sure you’re covered.

This article took information from several reliable websites including,, Weddington Animal Hospital, Rate Supermarket, and the Alberta Government.