Pet safety is one of the most important aspects of being a pet owner. It is an integral part of keeping you and your pet happy and healthy. When first adopting a new pet, it is critical to research the best pet safety practices. Doing this before your adoption period is an even better way to prepare yourself for your new family member. A great tip is to talk to the shelter’s staff about things you might need to watch for. Of course, if you still have questions or concerns you can always schedule an appointment at Columbia Veterinary Clinic in Saint Helens, OR. Our veterinarians are always happy to help!
Below are some best practices to keep your pet safe, whether they are at home or out and about. Knowing your pet is the first step in implementing these general safety tips. Keep in mind that traveling may take some extra steps, even if your pet is used to the outdoors. New events can give pets anxiety, and there are other important factors to consider. Feel free to contact us anytime about how to be better prepared for traveling with your furry friend!
Indoor Safety Proofing
- Childproof latches are great for securing belongings you don’t want your pets potentially destroying. This will also help protect them against chemicals and other hazardous materials that can be dangerous for your pet to ingest or be exposed to.
- Check to see that trash cans and toilets are tightly closed.
- Electrical cords should be tucked away or otherwise secured to prevent your pet from chewing on them.
- Check places that aren’t normally observed for items your pet may interpret as toys, but present choking or ingestion hazards.
- Drawers should be closed. Particularly, large drawers in dressers that your pet may try to hide inside of. Always check the drawer before closing it to make sure you don’t lock your pet inside.
- Always check washer/dryer doors before using to ensure no small pets have crawled inside. Also, close washer/dryer doors after use to prevent your pet from sneaking in.
- If your pets have access to the garage, make sure they aren’t hiding in the engine of your vehicle or on top of a tire as this can be deadly.
- Ensure ventilation openings are covered as small pets could work their way into the ventilation system, and large pets could get stuck trying.
- Check to see that there are no openings or spaces behind various appliances.
- Always research your houseplants and see if they are poisonous to your pet.
- Items that include buttons or drawstrings, cosmetics, and medications can be hazardous if in reach. Make sure these items are inside a secure cabinet.
- Similarly, tools (e.g., hammers, screws), craft items (e.g., sewing thread or needle), and cooking utensils (e.g., knives) can be dangerous and should be put away.
- Clean your pet’s food and water dishes regularly to prevent illness from mold and scum.
- Similarly, your pet’s “bathroom” should be cleaned frequently and materials (e.g., litter) should be restocked. This will help minimize accidents around the house.
- Create a “safe space” in your home where your pet can retreat if they are feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable.
- Pet-proofing your furniture is an easy way to ensure that your pet is safe indoors. Check to see if your furniture is pet-appropriate.
Outdoor Safety Proofing
- Check your yard’s fence, whether physical or electrical and see that it is in good shape.
- Yards should be enclosed completely to prevent dogs or other burrowers from digging out or under the fence!
- It is a best practice to keep your pet in a collar or body harness and on a leash when walking with them. The only safe place to let your dog off its leash is in an enclosed park. You should only take your pet to an enclosed park if they are well trained and well behaved around strangers and other pets.
- If you are traveling in a vehicle, make sure your pet can’t escape out of the window. Windows should only be open if they are properly restrained. A best practice is to not let your pet put their paws on the windowsill to prevent possible falling. On long drives, be sure to have an appropriate number of stops to allow your pet to use the bathroom.
- You should NEVER let your pet ride in the driver’s seat while driving.
- NEVER allow your pet to be loose or merely leashed in the bed of a truck while driving. This will prevent your pet from being thrown out of the truck into traffic and seriously injured.
- Before traveling, make sure your species of pet is allowed at a location. If they are not allowed, it is important to secure a place to safely leave them outside.
- Be responsible and follow standard ordinances regarding your pet, such as disposing of their feces and other bodily fluids appropriately.
- When enjoying non-residential places, like camping outdoors, keep your pet from interacting too closely with unfamiliar wildlife. Always contact your veterinarian for advice before taking them outdoors, especially if you want to bring your pet into the wild often.
- If you are a frequent boater, be sure to research the best safety precautions before taking your pet out on the water. For instance, make sure there’s a ramp for your animal to easily board and get off, a special pet life vest, pet-safe sunscreen, a crate for your pet to feel safe in, means to prevent them from going overboard, and a dog-pad or litter box so they can relieve themselves.
- Pet first aid is not often thought about, but it is extremely important to be prepared in this department. Becoming familiar with emergency pet procedures and medications will help you and your pet until you can safely get them to an emergency vet.
- NEVER abandon your pet! Pets should always be supervised or checked in on, indoors or out.
- Be aware of your pet’s needs in various weather conditions. Summer heat may result in heatstroke, winter cold can cause hypothermia and thunderstorms can cause potential anxiety or other unfavorable symptoms.
Microchipping Your Pets
Microchipped pets are typically considered the most adaptable. Often, this is standard practice for rescues and shelters. However, if your pet doesn’t have one, you should take this extra step. Whether your pet lives exclusively indoors or spends most of its time outdoors, microchipping is essential for the safety of your pet.
Why? Because microchipping your pet will always allow them to find their way home to you. If your pet slips past you out the door and is picked up by animal control, they are returned to you and not sent to the municipal (not no-kill) shelter. Or, if they are stuck outside when there’s a weather disaster and gets lost, rescue personnel can reunite you with them. Regardless of the collar! No matter where or when you lose your pet, they can still be identified and returned to you. If somehow, they have stolen the information on your pet’s microchip will help prove the pet is yours!
Anytime you move or relocate, we recommend confirming that the microchip registration always has your current contact information. Having a microchip can guarantee you’re contacted in the event of an accident involving your pet.
That kind of peace of mind is priceless!
If you need a pet microchipped, make an appointment with us at Columbia Veterinary Clinic in Saint Helens, OR. You can call us at (503) 397-1928.