Pet proofing your home, fleas, cat urine, hazardous plants for pets | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Pet Proofing Your Home

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We just wanted to honor our favorite pal who passed away this summer.
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Jason K. Ervin
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You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but he can certainly teach you some. You have to pet-proof your home, like you have to kid-proof your home.

The Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas

You know you are in trouble when certain areas of your carpet seem to jump.

  • Vacuum rugs and upholstered furniture daily to remove fleas, eggs, and larvae. Keep up the vacuuming every day for at least a month. Even try vacuuming your pet, if it allows you to.
  • Fill a shallow bowl with water and add a squirt of dish-washing liquid. Place the bowl on the floor in an area your pet visits frequently. Put a lamp over the bowl so that the bulb is about six inches over the surface of the water. At night, leave the light on and the fleas will leap toward it and fall into the water.
  • To keep fleas out of your pets’ food, sprinkle brewer’s yeast directly on the food.
  • Put tansy leaves in your pet’s bedding to deter fleas.

Getting the Cat Urine Smell Out

  • Cats, like many animals, sometimes urinate repeatedly in the same places. When cleaning or removing urine stains, neutralize the odor – do not just mask it – or the cat will return to the spot and urinate again.
  • First, absorb as much urine as possible by padding down the area with paper towels.
  • Apply 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water to the spot (do not rub) and let dry. Rinse the area with water.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the spot, let sit for several hours, and then vacuum. Repeat as necessary.

Preventing Your Pet from Chewing

Dogs and sometimes cats chew on couches, the legs of the kitchen table, rugs, and well, pretty much anything they can get their teeth on.

  • Try using a product called, Bitter Apple. Bitter Apple can be directly applied to the wood and it will discourage gnawing.
  • Moving all valuables out of your pets’ reach and eye sight is your best bet, but good luck, pets are smarter than you think.

Keeping Things Out of Sight

  • Some plants to be wary of are Easter tiger, Oriental, and any Japanese varieties. Household staples such as, philodendrons, varieties of ivy, daffodils, holy, mistletoe, morning glories, poinsettias, and even tomato plants can be toxic to your pet. Lilies can be dangerous to cats. Check with your local ASPCA chapter for a complete list.
  • Be aware of what you have lying around the house. Anything that is toxic to a human is also dangerous to your pet. Make sure all solvents and cleaners have secure lids and are put away when not in use.
  • Look carefully for small holes in the floors and walls and try to block them, especially if you own ferrets or lizards.

You will be amazed to see cats can climb and crawl over and under anything. Guinea pigs, gerbils, and hamsters can burrow into your furniture and disappear for months.

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The Editors

Under the guiding hand of its first editor, Robert B. Thomas, the premiere issue of The Old Farmer’s Almanac was published in 1792. Read More from The Editors

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