Pet-Proof Your Home

  1. Register your pet. Many cities require licenses for certain animals. Visit your local city hall and fill out the necessary forms. You may also have to pay a registration fee.
  2. Be sure to put a tag on your pet’s collar. Make sure the tag has your name and address as well as your home and office numbers. You may get this tag when you register your pet with the city.

    WHN TIP: Microchips

    Consider getting your pet micro-chipped. A microchip is placed under the pet’s skin and the chip can be scanned to find its owner’s contact information in a national database.

  3. Make a pet emergency and first aid kit.

    WHN TIP: Tag Update

    Remember to update your pet’s tag if you have moved! Vets also provide rabies vaccination tags in order to prove that your pet has been vaccinated.

  4. Put away chemicals and food that may be poisonous to your pet. Think of your pet as you would a small child – use childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets and certain items must be kept out of reach:

    Chemicals and Household Items

    • Antifreeze (very dangerous!)
    • Batteries
    • Cleaning supplies
    • De-icing salts and products
    • Fabric softener sheets
    • Fumes from nonstick cooking pans and self-cleaning ovens (harmful to birds)
    • Certain household plants
    • Lawn chemicals
    • Mothballs
    • Painting supplies
    • Pest and rodent traps
    • Pine needles and Christmas tree water (contains bacteria and fertilizers)
    • Plastic wrappers and bags
    • Read product labels carefully before using them on your pet. Certain products may be designed for a certain animal.
    • Small toys
    • String, yarn, rubber bands

    Health and Food Items

    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits)
    • Caffeine (tea, soda, etc.)
    • Chicken bones (cause choking)
    • Chocolate (poisonous to cats, dogs and ferrets)
    • Coffee
    • Fruit pits and seeds
    • Garlic
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Medications
    • Moldy foods
    • Onions
    • Salt
    • Vitamins
    • Yeast
  5. WHN TIP: Warning Signs

    Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination, and fever. If you suspect your pet has ingested a poison, call your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.


    The Animal Poison Control Center operates a hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • Be prepared to provide: the name of the poison your animal was exposed to, the amount and how long ago, the species, breed, age, sex, and weight of your pet, and the symptoms the animal is displaying.
    • Be prepared to also provide: your name, address, phone number, and credit card information (there is a $55 charge for this service)

    WHN TIP: Just In Case

    You should not induce vomiting unless told to do so. However, it’s helpful to have a bottle of ipecac or hydrogen peroxide on hand, just in case. Remember to keep it locked away!

  6. Put away dangerous items and check for general safety.
    • Keep all sharp objects and tools out of reach
    • Keep lit candles out of reach
    • Keep all electric cords out of reach or covered by a chew-proof guard.
    • Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet
    • Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn't harmful, the wrapper could be)
    • Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals
    • Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and buttons can cause major problems if swallowed)
    • Learn where are all the small spaces are in case your pet decides to hide or gets trapped.
    • Baby gates are very useful to keep pets in or out of certain areas in your home.
    • Make sure all fences, gates and pet doors are sturdy and can be locked. Fix any holes or wires that might be poking out.
    • Cover your outside pool or pond. Many heavily-coated dogs and cats may be unable to swim to safety when their coats are soaking wet.
    • Keep pets away from ice-covered ponds and lakes. Cats and dogs may wander onto ice too thin to support their weight.
    • Always check to see where your pet is before you move your car.

    WHN TIP: Chew On this

    Make sure your animals have plenty of chew toys or scratching posts so they don’t start to chew or scratch your possessions!

    Last updated: 5/2009