Picture this all too familiar scene: You walk into the living room after a long day at work and find your dog chewing on something. You ask him what he has in his mouth. On most days, he’s chewing on your favorite pair of shoes. But this time, it is an electrical cord in his mouth. Being cute and cuddly won’t help him now. He may have put himself in danger of injury or death and created a shock or fire hazard in your home.
Spending a little time “pet-proofing” your home will help you avoid a pet-related accident. If you have a pet, check out these tips to protect your furry friend from electrical hazards:
• Small mammals and birds have a habit of gnawing on things, which might include exposed electrical cords. Try to block access to these cords by strategically placing your furniture so pets can’t reach them. Sometimes it’s hard to hide every wire, so you should consider wrapping or encasing them.
• Most hardware stores sell flexible safety cables and PVC. Aesthetically speaking, they’re not the best solution, but safety comes first. Electrical shock is not the only issue with wires. If you have multiple cables close to each other, your pet might get tangled up and injured.
• Just like kids, pets hate certain foods because of how they taste. You can purchase a pet deterrent spray from a pet shop and coat your electrical cords to discourage chewing. Another great way to deter them is to give your pet toys to play with. Some dog and cat breeds have more energy, so make sure you understand your pet’s needs.
• Invest the time in training. You can train a dog to stop chewing the couch, you can train a cat to keep off the counters, and you can train your pet to stay away from wires.
If the worst happens, visit a veterinarian immediately. Remember electrical shocks are life-threatening and should be treated as emergencies. Some symptoms aren’t easy to detect just by looking at your pet.
Tips for keeping your pet safe:
- Make sure all plugs are inserted completely into their wall sockets.
- If your pet seems interested in electrical cords, check the cords frequently for signs of fraying and replace any damaged cords immediately.
- Appliances near sinks and bathtubs should only be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection in case an electrical appliance is knocked into the water.
- Lamps with exposed bulbs can reach very high temperatures. Do not allow pets to play near lamps. If the lamp is knocked over, it could start a fire.
- Some pets, especially cats, will often seek out warm, secluded spots in the home. Do not allow your pet to hide or sleep behind your computer or TV equipment where numerous electrical connections are housed.
- If you have an aquarium, make sure you create a drip loop on every electrical cord that enters the tank. This will prevent water from running down the cord and into the electrical outlet.
- If you have a fenced, outdoor area for your dog, be mindful of any underground electrical or cable lines running through that area. Make sure the lines are buried at appropriate depths, especially if your dog likes to dig.