Real Estate Tips |9 min read

Home Pet Safety Tips: 16 Pet-Proofing Issues You Shouldn’t Ignore

When it comes to pet safety tips, you can’t play around. They’re members of your family, vulnerable ones who don’t have the knowledge or ability to protect themselves. So, it’s up to you to pet-proof your home for them. Learn below which features you must address to make your rental home safe for pets.

Main Takeaways

  • Pet owners need to prevent pets from accessing common substances and foods like avocadoes, electrical outlets and cords, curtains, and other crucial household items.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Substances that Are and Aren’t Safe for Pets

As a property management company in North Virginia, we often caution tenants with pets about harmful household substances. Be very cautious about the following items when you pet-proof your home.

Harmful Chemicals

If you store household chemicals, cleaning agents, or air fresheners within pets’ reach, accidents can happen. Out of caution, place all your chemical products in secure cabinets or elevated-level shelves. Even better, use cleaning products known to be pet-safe to minimize the risk of harm.

Toxic Plants 

It’s crucial to protect pets from toxic plants. For instance, lilies, azaleas, and poinsettias are extremely toxic for pet consumption or inhalation. So, to make your home safe for pets, you should stick to non-toxic options like spider plants, Boston ferns, and Areca palms.

Air Fresheners

In terms of air fresheners, specifically, ones with formaldehyde, phthalates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are toxic to pets. Use natural, pet-friendly ones instead. However, this comes with a caveat: some essential oils are deadly to pets. Using them would be a grave mistake.

Essential Oils

Essential oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, and pennyroyal are deadly to pets. Commonly, these are used in tick and flea solutions. Don’t — using these oils would be a grave mistake. Instead, ask your vet which ones they recommend. Furthermore, remember that individual pets could always be allergic to otherwise-safe oils.

Unfortunately, if you use highly concentrated essential oils on pets, it could harm them. So, always dilute the oils beforehand. As a rule of thumb, use 1 drop of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil for topical application.

If you’re using essential oil diffusers, make sure your room is well-ventilated to prevent oil over-concentration. Also, keep the diffuser away from your pet. Should you find the oils cause discomfort in your pet, stop using them immediately.


Pets can be poisoned if they accidentally ingest your medications. That’s why it’s critical to pet-proof these, too. Put all prescription and over-the-counter meds in tightly closed containers where pets can’t reach them. Preferably, you should buy pill organizers with secure lids.

When it comes to pet medications specifically, you can also write each pet’s name on their respective medication containers to prevent mix-ups.

Dangerous Foods

Food is another thing to seal away from pets. There are certain foods that aren’t safe for pets, specifically:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Xylitol-containing products
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocados

Keep note of this and pet-proof these foods away from animals at all costs. You can accomplish this by, again, hiding away all problematic foods in cabinets or sealed containers. Furthermore, when you cook or eat, ensure pets can’t grab your food from the countertops or tables. It may be a good idea to install a pet gate or designated feeding area to stop them from eating your scraps.

Part 2: Electrical Items

Your work doesn’t stop at the simple, static substances. Unfortunately, appliances around your home also have the potential to harm your pet.

Electrical Cords

While your pets may see electrical cords as new toys, they could face electrical shock or electrocution if they chew on them. To pet-proof this, buy cord protectors or cord concealers. Or, if you want to go the natural route, you can rub bitter apple spray or other pet-safe repellants on cords to deter any nibbling. Also, the old-fashioned due diligence of tucking away cords goes a long way.

Outlets and Appliances

While it’s painful to imagine, your pet could try to play with your electrical outlets or appliances with their paws. As a result, you should utilize outlet covers or protectors to prevent access.

When using appliances, keep your pets away. Unplug them when out of use to make them as harmless as possible. Most importantly, never leave them unattended when you’re using them, because pets may knock them over or touch their hot surfaces.

Also, always check appliances, like washers, to make sure your pets aren’t in them before you use them. Even better, put childproof locks on these appliances so they’re inaccessible and safe for pets.

Part 3: Other Everyday Essentials to Pet-Proof

We’d be amiss if we forgot the daily items you use all the time, like trash cans and windows. Yes, even these seemingly harmless things can be dangerous if your pet misuses them.

Trash Cans and Hazardous Waste

Buy pet-proof trash cans with secure lids to stop your pets from rummaging through the trash. As a tip, some cans have motion sensor lids.

In addition, you should put dangerous items, like used batteries, cleaning products, and sharp objects away in a separate container. This should preferably be a whole, separate trash bin with a tight-fitting lid. For good measure, empty it frequently to prevent pet-attracting odors from developing.

Also, you should know that plastic bags or other packaging materials aren’t safe for pets. These items could suffocate or strangle your fur baby. Be sure to take these away, too.

Small Objects and Toys

The small objects and toys you have strewn across your apartment could pose a choking hazard to your pets. Always pick up and put away those little items, like toys, rubber bands, strings, buttons, and coins where pets can’t get to them. For instance, store them away in a high-up drawer for safekeeping.

Doors and Windows

To prevent your pets from escaping through the doors or windows, you have a few options. You can place your pets in safeguarded rooms or install pet-proof screens and baby gates to prevent this from being an issue. Just in case, put a nametag on your dog with your contact info if they do get lost.

As a side note, you should also cover nearby heating and air vents, toilet lids, holes, and other small spaces. Basically, you should pet-proof anything that they could nosh on or fall into.

Open Flames and Lit Candles

As we’ve established, pets just love to knock things over. This could be a cause for disaster when it comes to open flames. Never, ever leave candles unattended. As an alternative, use LED candles, which will give you the intended aesthetic of candles without the risk. It’s a win-win. If you simply must use real candles, keep an eagle eye on them, place them high up, and make sure you use scents safe for pets.

Window Coverings

Secure window cords and tassels with cord cleats or wind-ups to stop pets from becoming entangled in your curtains. After all, you don’t want to find your dog caught up in your window coverings.

Open Swimming Pools or Ponds

If your property is near a big source of water, always be vigilant when you’re outside. This is especially critical in the summer, when you may spend more time outside sunbathing or holding summer parties. For instance, keep your pet on a leash to stop them from drowning. Even if you think they’re good swimmers, it’s not worth the risk. After all, the currents and water depth can always change suddenly.

As scary as it sounds, there’s a risk your pet could find themselves lost near the water. It’s a good move to teach your pets where the steps or exit points are in case they get lost in the area. Or, what’s more, you could get a pet life jacket. This way, they look extra adorable and safe.

Part 4: Learn Basic First Aid and Emergency Responses

You can save your pet’s life if you learn the pet Heimlich maneuver, pet CPR, and other emergency responses ahead of time. That’s right—as funny as it sounds, a little bit of mouth-to-snout can go a long way.

Part 5: Preparing for When Your Pet is Home Alone

You also need pet safety tips for when you’ll inevitably leave your dog at home. If you aren’t home, you can use technology to make the space pet-proof. There are a few ways you can accomplish this.

First off, you can use “smart” devices, like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Some systems will let you open windows and doors with your smartphone if your pets must escape from an emergency.

Security systems, including cameras, can let you check on your pet and your home throughout the day. As a game-changer, some systems even allow you to video chat with your pet virtually.

Get More Pet Safety Tips and Support From BMG

If you use these pet safety tips, you can better pet-proof your home for any shenanigans that might ensue. You can make your home safe for pets.

When you rent a home, your landlord can make or break your pet ownership experience. Most pet parents can relate to landlords who don’t understand just how important your furry family member is. The one who’s too stubborn to work with you to make your fur baby’s presence work for everyone. This can put you on constant edge, on uncomfortably thin ice.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are landlords and property managers who will cooperate with you to find solutions. It sounds impossible, but there are ones who truly care and want you to be satisfied as a tenant.

We understand how delicate and precarious it can feel to be at the mercy of whoever is in charge. That’s why we train our property managers to meet you halfway, to treat you with respect and empathy. Contact us today to be connected to our available rentals.


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