Colette, a French novelist, had once famously remarked, “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet!” Ask any pet lover and they will invariably tell you how true this is. We have all heard of stories of how pets are an extended part of the family, a part of everyday routines and indeed a part of daily lives.
With the growth in the number of pet lovers, it’s relevant that beyond love, care and affection, pets are also provided with a safe environment that is hazard and injury-free. Though most of us generally learn to handle pets through trial and error, preferring to shuffle the furniture, the flowerpots and generally most movable house-hold items as per needs, there exists a growing requirement to convert our residences into pet-friendly homes.
So here is a checklist for keeping your pets happy and your lives joyous and cheerful –
Happy pets live in hazard-free homes:
Most of us have a bruised knee or a cut elbow, thanks to sharp edges jutting out, shelves that are not fully closed or nails that are not completely hammered in. So there’s always the need to inspect and eliminate pointed or sharp objects that might scratch your pet when they scamper around the house. More often than not, door stoppers that are only halfway closed or sharp handles of dressing-table drawers can cause injury to pets. Besides, dog love to tug at wires. Hence it’s essential to look for open wires and get them sealed or have them wedged onto the floor surface. As an added caution, it’s important to also ensure that ladders are folded and deposited back into their designated place after use. Also, there might be that one spot in the house where your pet loves to return to for a snooze. Make sure that this spot is trouble-free. You can also ‘enrich’ this corner with a mattress and a feeding bowl to make your pet more comfortable. Besides, pet toys should be such that they cannot be swallowed or broken easily, thus preventing injury. You can also carve out a small shaft in your door with an easy flap for the pet to pass through when the door is closed shut.
Also, there is this one seemingly innocuous item at home that your pet often considers being their best friend but is actually enemy number one. Dustbins with foot pedals! Pets find it amusing to press this pedal and chew the rubber lining of the bin. You need to ensure that the bin is placed such that it cannot be easily accessed by the pet. Maybe you can consider placing it in a kitchen cupboard or outside the house. Moreover, your pets rummaging through garbage can turn out to be quite toxic and hazardous at the same time. Also, when you are toilet-training your pet, ensure that you teach them to not go around the pot in the bathroom. It’s also equally important that you consult a veterinary surgeon on the plants you keep at home; some may be poisonous. For instance, jasmine is poisonous for dogs.
If you have rabbits as pets, you have to keep in mind that your home is airy. Rabbits love to hide in dark and damp nooks. If it chooses to go under the bed, you will have to swipe the area clean for it to stay comfortable. Again, wiring needs to be taken care of for the rabbit to not get entangled.
Tip: Always keep medicines in a closed container. If a tablet accidentally falls on the floor and goes unnoticed, the pet can swallow it. Even liquid cleaners and washing powder should be secured, keeping them out of reach.
Happy pets live on happy floors:
Comfortable flooring enhances pet comfort. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that leather mats or rugs (you can add a dash of fun by choosing their color similar to that of your pet dog or cat) adequately cover a slippery floor. These rugs should also be easily washable. In this context, it’s important to mention that a material like linen can get scratched quite easily. For this reason, velvet is a far better option and is also easy to clean. It’s also important to scrub floors with clean water (a pet-friendly measure especially when one considers that dogs and cats like to lick floors).
Happy pets are always chirpy:
Though birds are more social than most pets, they cherish their privacy too. Keeping this in mind, you have to choose that one ideal spot for your birds which they find comfortable and secure. For example, if you keep the cage near a window, birds will feel invariably disturbed as they remain on the edge while keeping a watchful eye out for bigger birds or neighboring pets. At the same time, they can also get exposed to direct sunlight for long hours, and this can eventually prove quite harmful. Also, the cage’s meshes must have adequate gap in between so that your bird can grip them properly.
Happy pets do swimmingly well:
Yes, fishes! Keeping fish at home is a tricky proposition. You will have to clean the bowl at regular intervals, maintain proper chemical composition of the water (pH level) and feed your fishes at consistent periods every day with food measured in the right quantity. It’s also essential to consult a vet before keeping fish, inquiring about their feeding habits and the right method to clean the water. Remember, giving more food than the required amount will result in it bobbing on the surface, which will lead to less supply of oxygen, a potentially dangerous situation for the fish. Also, if you plan to add more fish into the tank, consult a vet again. Some fish are aggressive and may even eat the smaller ones. For your fishes to feel at home, do add some water plants and gravel in the tank.
In conclusion, it’s absolutely important to understand that a pet’s needs have to be anticipated. As the old adage goes, ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, it’s so very essential to be proactive in creating a pet-friendly environment to ensure that home is where your pet is!