Maximillian, guest blogger
Note: Since my Mom, THDiva!, is busy preparing my surprise 19th birthday party, I have come to her assistance. I thought you would like to know about safety for your pets – from our perspective.
THDiva! has written several articles about being safe in your home. But one area of safety that needs special love and attention is in keeping your pets safe. We want to share best practices that we use in our home and mention some special considerations to keep your feathered, furry, finned, and scaly family members safe too.
The first and most important rule is to consider your pet’s age, size, weight, and temperament. You will also need to take into consideration the members of your family – human and pets. Strive to achieve a balance between everyone.
My cage is my domain. When Mom is away, this is where I stay. My cage is approved for my size and species. The spacing between the bars is half the size of my head so I cannot accidentally get my head caught. My perches are comfortable for me. I have food and water at my disposal (and several treats) to keep me going until Mom comes home and sets me free.
My cage is kept in a warm, dry location away from windows, vents, and drafts. I like to be partially covered (this is my personal preference). The home is quiet during the day so I do not get startled by loud noises.
Pets that have a day crate for stay or travel need to the have the proper size and appropriate ventilation for their species.
Safety inside the home
Things get going when Mom comes home and sets me free! She lets me loose and has the house bird-proofed for my safety. We have battery-operated candles since I do not play with matches. I am allowed to play in rooms that do not have ceiling fans since they might impede my natural aviator abilities.
Since I previously demolished her silk plants, Mom has several living non-poisonous plants that are kept away from me. I once had a wooden day cage but I ripped out the screens and that was the end of the day cage. Pots and pans with a non-stick coating can create a problem for birds, so Mom does not cook. (There are other reasons why she does not cook but I am not at liberty to discuss her cooking malfunctions.)
Electrical wires and cables once had a special appeal to me. Mom promptly used a cable management system to deter me. Once they were out of my sight - they were out of my mind. I sometimes look at Christmas tree lights but I know that Santa is watching so I just let them alone.
Some families have a dispute about whether or not to leave the toilet seat up or down. Our policy is to leave the toilet lid DOWN since nobody in our home can swim.
Some of my pet friends have gates to keep them in certain parts of their home. Be sure to choose a pet gate that fits your pet’s size and strength. It should also suit the area where it will be used.
I have a cat friend (this is a long distance relationship) who has a carpet-lined kitty post. Her parents had to shorten the height between the levels because she is older now and not as agile as she was when she was younger.
Some of my dog friends use doggie doors for outdoor entertainment. There are many styles of pet doors – including some that are small enough for cats. Some styles include an automatic electronic door activated by signal from the pet collar. Others can be used with patio doors. Select a door that has energy efficient seals and lockout slides when not in use.
We use a portable humidifier and dehumidifier to help keep the air humidity at an even keel in our home. Air purifiers can help with pet dander. We like the plug-in and HVAC air fresheners. Some air filters are designed with pets in mind.
Owners of pets that shed or molt can benefit from specially-designed brushes and vacuum cleaners. There are absorbent mats and special cleaners that can help remove “accidents.”
Safety outside the home
I leave home in my travel cage. My Mom uses a seat belt around my cage for my safety. We both buckle up!
A kennel can be a great solution to keep your pet happy and your landscaping intact. Find a kennel that is large enough for your pet and be sure that it is on level, dry ground. Properly anchor the kit so the wind (or an active pet) cannot move the kennel when you are not looking. Add a topper to keep out the sun and be sure to monitor conditions such as wind and rain so your pet stays happy.
Pet containment and control systems include fences, leashes and trolleys, training collars, and electronic pet barriers. Do your research first. Some pet containment products are not recommended for cats and tethering is against the law in our area. Fences and gates should have spacing between the bars so your pet’s head cannot accidentally get caught. Be sure that your pet cannot tunnel under the fence or jump over it! Check out our Materials for Building Fences and Gates Project Guide for more information about styles and types of fences. The Installing an Underground Pet Fence Project Guide will get you started on pet barriers.
Special note: if your pet is an outdoor animal, take extra precautions to ensure their safety and well-being in cold winter climates or make provisions to bring them inside during inclement weather.
Safety from others
There are 4-legged non-pets that go bump in the night and day. No matter which part of the food chain your pet resides, you may need to protect your loved ones from squirrels, deer, snakes, and other unwelcome guests. To deter unwanted attention, use electronic, chemical, or mechanical pest repellents.
Safety for others
Mom and I enjoy many happy hours feeding the outside birds. We enjoy watching the squirrels try to get past the squirrel-proofing devices. In the warmer months we watch the birds play in the bird bath and especially wait for the return of the hummingbirds. I recommend feeding outdoor birds – especially in the cold winter months – and thank you in advance for supporting my feathered brethren.
Get started with the Bird Feeders Buying Guide and Birdseed Buying Guide. Look for seed mixtures designed to attract specific species of birds such as cardinals and finches. Suet is especially welcome in the middle of winter and my cardinal friends highly recommend the black-oil sunflower seeds.
When spring returns, be sure to increase your outdoor pet family by selecting appropriate housing with our Bird Houses Buying Guide
Have a great weekend and stay safe!
(on behalf of THDiva!)