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Keeping your household pets safe from the dangers of electricity
Puppies and kittens are cute and curious. The cute part can sometimes keep them from getting into trouble, like when they start chewing on a shoe. But cute won’t help them if they begin to chew on or play with electrical equipment - doing that can put your pet in serious danger of injury or death and create a shock or fire hazard in the home. Spending a little time pet proofing your home will help you avoid a pet-related accident.
- Make sure all plugs are inserted completely into their wall sockets. Small paws, noses and tongues can easily find their way into the partially exposed prongs.
- If your pet demonstrates an interest in electrical cords, check the cords frequently for signs of fraying and replace any damaged cords immediately. If you must leave your pet unsupervised, make sure any loose electrical cords are unplugged or tucked out of sight. If your pet continues to seek them out, coat the cords with bitter-tasting pet deterrent available at your local pet store. If that fails, you can wrap the cords in flexible cable, or encase them in PVC. Some stores also offer pet-proof cords that serve the same purpose.
- Appliances near sinks and bathtubs should only be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault interrupter (GFCI) protection in case an electrical appliance is knocked into the water. If your cat enjoys playing in the sink, make sure no electrical appliances (like radios or curling irons) are left unattended on the bathroom counter.
- Lamps with exposed bulbs – especially halogens – can reach very high temperatures. Do not allow pets to play near lamps. If the lamp is knocked over, a fire could break out.
- 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. To be sure the cord stays looped, stick a cord clip on the wall just below the outlet and thread the cord into the clip.
- 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. In the event of an electrical storm, bring all pets indoors immediately.
- Take special care during the holiday season. Pets may be tempted to chew on, or play with decorative light strands.
If you think your pet may have suffered an electrical shock, approach it with caution to keep from being injured by the same electrical danger, and to keep from being bitten. Inspect the animal for injuries and get your pet to an animal care center as soon as possible.
Heed the precautions to keep your playful pet and your home safe!