Pet Safety Tips: Keep Cats & Dogs Safe | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Plan for Your Pet's Safety

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As with parents who have young children in the house, pet owners must take stock of their surroundings to keep pets safe and out of danger. Here are some basic tips on keeping your pet safe.

  • Quickly clean up any spilled or dripping antifreeze from your car. Pets are attracted to its sweet taste, but it is toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Keep your pet safely restrained in the car. A cat carrier will do for felines. Your dog may need a specially designed safety harness, depending on size and breed. In California, restraining pets is now the law, with good reason!
  • Don’t ever let any pet have chocolate. It’s poisonous to dogs and cats.
  • Consider your family’s fire safety plan and how your pet fits into it. Think about where your pet might be during a fire and how you might rescue him. Most important, instruct your children NOT to worry about the pet in a fire, and assure them that an adult is in charge. Some families attach a pet alert sticker to a door or window, so that firefighters know a pet is inside. However, firefighters report problems with outdated stickers that alert them to a pet that does not exist, putting the firefighters’ lives in danger.

Protect Your Pets in Hot Weather

It’s common sense not to leave your pet in a hot, closed-up car, but did you know your pet could benefit from some sunscreen when he’s out playing? Yes, really! Follow these hot-weather precautions:

  • According to the ASPCA, Sunscreen that is specifically labeled for use on animals can be put on a pet’s nose, ears, or other pink spots (not covered with fur) to help prevent sunburns. Breeds with light-colored fur or none at all are most susceptible. Be sure to use a sunscreen that is made for pets, is SPF 15 or greater, and does NOT contain zinc or salicylates, which can be toxic. (Read more about toxicity at the ASPCA’s website.)
  • Double the usual water in your pet’s bowl. Consider adding a second dish with a few ice cubes 
  • If your pet is outdoors all day, make sure his shelter stays cool. Rule of thumb: Any place that’s too hot for you is too hot for your pet.
  • Don’t cut his hair. Hair can provide a cooling, insulating layer.
  • A pet may move less and eat less when it’s hot, so don’t worry.

Home Safety for Dogs

  • Don’t leave small things that are easily swallowed around a dog who likes to chew. Toys, underwear, string, socks, pieces of carpet, small bones, and small balls are all common culprits that can cause gastronomic distress.
  • Make sure that balls are tennis ball size and that the dog can’t chew them open.
  • Secure your trash cans to keep dogs from getting into them and finding things to chew.

Home Safety for Cats

  • The kitty in the drawer above is awfully cute, but be careful when opening and closing drawers to ensure they aren’t trapped.
  • Keep the dryer door closed at all times.
  • Watch when closing up recliners and sofa beds, or when in a rocking chair.
  • Put the iron and ironing board away.
  • Close the oven door promptly.
  • Be careful with candles—don’t leave them unattended.
  • Keep people food out of paw’s reach.
  • Check that screens are secure.
  • Keep miniblind cords and all type of strings and electrical cords out of reach.
  • Buy a breakaway collar.

Do you have any safety tips for your pets? Please share below!

About The Author

Heidi Stonehill

Heidi Stonehill is a senior editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, where she focuses much of her time on managing content development for the Almanac’s line of calendars. Read More from Heidi Stonehill

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