Fall is the perfect time to prepare your house indoor and out for winter. It’s important not to forget pet saftey as you work your way through your fall to-do list. Some fall cleaning to-dos can be dangerous for pets, and others can ensure their comfort as the weather changes and everyone hunkers down for colder months. Here are a few tips for keeping everyone safe and at ease:
- It’s tempting to throw open the windows and air out your home as the weather dips to crisp, pleasant temperatures. Be sure to put screens in your windows, however, to avoid a tragedy or a visit to the animal hospital. Cats do not always land on their feet, and can be seriously hurt they fall out of a window or off a balcony.
- If you make garages and sheds available to your outdoor cats and dogs during colder weather, be sure that there are no cleaners, automotive products, paint, or other chemicals they could get into. Antifreeze is notoriously attractive to dogs and cats, and can be fatal if swallowed. As long as you are fall cleaning, tidy up these spaces and try to sweep up any sharp objects and put any dangerous substances out of reach. You will save yourself a trip to the emergency vet clinic!
- Take the opportunity as you change out your own linens and décor with the seasons to wash and dry any cleanable pet bedding, toys, favorite blankets, collars, etc. Once you are all cooped up together during the winter you may be glad you took the opportunity to freshen up your pet’s favorite things!
- As temperatures drop and winter rain and snow move in, insects, rats and mice might decide your house, garage, and outbuildings are more comfortable than wherever they stayed for the summer. Be very careful when selecting DIY pest control methods or contracting with an exterminator, however. The EPA is currently trying to ban over 20 types of rodenticide that contain pellets that cause internal bleeding in mice and rats that aren’t sufficiently sealed to protect pets and children. Because not all manufacturers are cooperating with the new standards, many unsafe products remain on the market while the EPA works to remove them. Until the EPA has achieved compliance, avoid all types of rat poision and instead try humane traps. Even rat poisions deemed safe enough for EPA standards can sicken pets who get into the product, or who come in to contact with poisoned vermin. Insecticides, too, should only be used in places where pets will not come into contact.