Eight Tips for Protecting Your Pet

Kristin Luna

Furry family members deserve the royal treatment just as human children do, and it's fairly easy to take protective measures around the house to keep them safe. From household hazards to insurance, here is a roundup of our best tips for ensuring your pet's safety.

Biggie At The Dog Cafe

Pet-proof the yard: Fencing can fail, gates can be opened and precious flower beds can be destroyed by curious beasts. While it's a serious investment to fully enclose your yard, it not only increases the value of your home but also ensures there won't be a potentially tragic, and entirely preventable, incident. Building a fence is a rite of passage for all carpenters, but fencing experts will ensure your investment lasts for years to come.

Regular veterinarian visits: Taking your pets at least once a year for a checkup and vaccination update. There are specific, additional vaccination recommendations for pets that are often outdoors that you should consider depending on your routine. The threat of disease or viruses varies considerably so consult the experts at the vet on the latest treatment programs for your region.

Develop a regular bathing and grooming schedule: Some animals, like cats, spend an entire day preening their luxurious fur only to start all over again the next. Others, like dogs, relish the thought of rolling in the first smelly patch of grass as a natural cologne when they hit the lawn. For all animals, however, a ritual bathing routine by their owners with actual soap and/or a flea treatment is a necessity for everyone's comfort. Indoor pets obviously need less maintenance than a scruffy, outdoor family member but it's also important to brush them to remove loose fur as the seasons (and their coats) change with the weather. If your busy lifestyle makes it difficult to find time for either bathing or brushing, consistent visits to the local groomer can make a huge difference in the upkeep of not only your pet's appearance, but also the work involved in the upkeep of your home.

Look into pet insurance: Avoid large out-of-pocket charges in the case of an emergency, or even for predictable visits to the veterinarian. (Yes, there are now healthcare plans for your fuzzy friends. It's 2016, after all.) Pet insurance plans vary considerably depending on coverage, just like human healthcare, so shop according to your budget and expected level of need.

Note behavioral changes: It's an important piece of the puzzle for taking good care of them. Very often, slight pattern changes to the animal's behavior indicates a much more serious situation and can be health related, like failing vision. Because your pet communicates without the English language, it's your job to pay particular attention to their behavior if something seems amiss.

Treat your yard: One of biggest initial sources of fleas and ticks isn't your animal or their bedding, it's the environment in which they frolic. Ninety percent of the lifecycle of a flea or tick is spent beneath the ground outside in piles of leaves or untended soil. Monitor bedding for early signs that the yard needs tending by watching for flecks of debris that turn red when wet. Beneficial nematodes are the healthiest option for control of these insects in the garden or lawn, but there are also poison options available at the local hardware superstore. Be particularly careful applying a chemical agent to your home if there are children around.

Ensure their safety with an alarm: Let's face it: Pets spend a lot of time alone in the home. The surest method of deterring break-ins is the addition of an alarm system and associated warning stickers. All of the good alarm systems have fire and smoke triggers, as well, that alert emergency services to problems at your house before it's too late to save your animal. If you're truly a doting parent of a fur baby, consider adding a Dropcam or remote infant camera so you can monitor activity from your phone or computer while you're away.

Pamper your pet with a trip to a vetted dog park: Who doesn't love a place that caters to the natural instincts for play and socialization of a dog? A new "dog bar" trend we're seeing has picked up on the dog-park theme and taken it to a new level of fun for the whole family with the addition of food and beverages for 21+ humans. These facilities, and others like them, typically ensure the safety of all participants with owner registration, vaccination verifications, pet interviews, and full-time staff to monitor aggressive behavior and prevent conflict between breeds. Check local listings for your area.

Image from The Dog Cafe