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Keep Your Pets Savvi Safe at Home

Top Pet Home Safety Tips

A black and white dog smiles with his owner standing behind him

We know your pets are part of your family, but your home can be a dangerous place for them if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

We reached out to Lindsey Wolko of the Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to protecting pets and the people who love them. Read on to find how to keep your dog or cat safe with these top pet home safety tips.

How to keep your new puppy or kitten safe at home

Two cats look out at a living room from inside a crate

"You think about when people have a new baby, right? It's a similar situation," says Wolko.

To protect your new puppy or kitten, Wolko suggests following the same safety procedures:

  • Installing baby gates to limit their access.

  • Ensuring your electrical sockets are covered.

  • Concealing electrical wires.

  • Zip-tying nets between railings on stairs, decks, and in two-level areas of bigger homes.

In addition, pet owners should make a point of knowing where their pet is at all times, especially when you first bring them home. The Center for Pet Safety also suggests enrolling pets, especially young dogs, into a basic obedience class.

"As soon as they've had their first shots, the puppy should be safe to start classes," says Wolko. "You need that human-animal bond to develop, and you also want them to understand and master commands like come here, sit, and stay."

Those can be invaluable during an emergency situation in your home.

Cats require different needs, such as a designated room with a litter box, access to food and water, and a comfy place to sleep.

"It should have a door on it," says Wolko, "so your cats know it's safe. Include cat towers, scratching posts and the like, so they can make it their own."

Be mindful of poisons and food hazards

Chunks of chocolate are scattered across a white surface

Yes, chocolate is actually dangerous for your dog, and so are the following food and poisons:

  • Sugar free candies or gum. (Specifically those and other foods that contain Xylitol.)

  • Alcohol.

  • Toxic items around the home, such as antifreeze or fertilizer. ("If it's toxic to you, it's likely toxic for your pets," says Wolko.)

Grapes, raisins, and garlic can be harmful to pets in large quantities, but pet owners should also be on the lookout for anything in their bags and coat pockets, including medicine.

"A lot of us are becoming caregivers at this point in our lives," says Wolko, "and we have to think about what happens if an elderly parent or family member drops a pill on the floor."

If your pet swallows it, you'll need to get them to your veterinarian's emergency room as soon as possible.

One of the few dangerous items you may not consider a threat is food packaging, such as chip bags. A number of dogs suffocate from food packaging every year.

"We're conditioned to just throw stuff in the trash, and pets get in the trash all the time," says Wolko. "It's incredible how many pets are succumbing to this."

Sweet potato chips rest on a white plate next to its bag

To prevent a potential harmful situation, the Center for Pet Safety suggests pet owners keep their trash inside a closed and sealed container. They should also cut up all food packaging before discarding into the trash.

Outside the home, pet owners need to be cautious of certain plants and flowers. Lilies are especially toxic.

"If you have cats, do not plant lilies anywhere near your property," warns Wolko. "Do not allow them in your home. If you have an arrangement, pull them out. Dispose of them quickly."

Other toxic plants include rhododendrons, morning glories, and even those mushrooms that grow in your backyard.

"There are so many toxic plants," says Wolko, "so use good judgment when you plan your landscape."

Where to keep your dog when you’re out

A fluffy light brown dog lays on a pillow on a couch, asleep

This can be difficult for typical 9-5 office workers, who can be away from their home for 10-12 hours at a time (when there is not a global pandemic). You should crate-train your pets or secure them in a specific area of your home. This is extremely important when it comes to keeping your pets safe during an emergency.

"Your neighbors will be contacted by the first responders who come to your home," explains Wolko, "so if you let your neighbors know where you secure your pets, that's the first place the responders will go."

But should pet owners worry about their cats or dogs being home for long periods of time?

"Leaving your pet home alone is pretty normal," says Wolko. "Most of the time they sleep during the day."

For concerned pet-parents, Savvi Insurance offers a cutting-edge smart home security system to keep your pets safe. The Savvi Home Kit also comes with fire and water sensors to alert you when there’s an emergency, and our cameras give you peace of mind by helping you see your pet when you’re not home. Have an arsenal of home protection at your fingertips with Savvi.

Stay up to date with home maintenance (for your pet)

A HVAC technician replaces an air filter

Neglecting home maintenance can lead to dangerous situations, which Wolko knows firsthand.

"We had so much condensate in the HVAC unit," remembers Wolko. "The drain line was clogged, and the liquid dripped all over the blower motor and caught fire."

Thankfully, Wolko was home, and the fire department was located nearby. However, home issues – from malfunctioning HVAC units to flickering lights or lint-filled dryer vents – can create fire hazards.

Being on top of home maintenance is an imperative part of homeownership and pet ownership.

"I learned so much from that experience," says Wolko. "Make sure you get your home maintenance done."

Savvi provides every homeowner with a complimentary smart home kit -- that helps mitigate risk with smoke and fire detection, burglary and theft detection, freeze and heat alerts, and water leak sensors -- and a complimentary membership to vipHomeLink. vipHomeLink is a market-leading digital home management solution designed to simplify homeownership, make homes safer, and prevent claims by helping homeowners to complete home maintenance.

Of course, it's also best to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Pet emergency preparedness

After her own home emergency, Wolko created an evacuation kit that she could grab at a moment's notice. The kit includes a neon, waterproof pouch that holds a copy of the pets' registration papers. It hangs on a hook on the back of the front door, along with a simple ring loop leash for her pets.

This is easily accessible in the case of a home fire.

"The goal is to just get out of the house if you do have an emergency," says Wolko.

Also, make sure to create an evacuation plan for your home in case of emergency and practice it regularly. This is also important for humans, too.

Savvi Insurance Group, Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is committed to helping families and individuals prevent losses, stay safe, and protect the people and things they love. We do that by providing our customers with our cutting-edge smart home security system along with a suite of services and benefits designed to proactively predict and prevent losses from happening in the first place.

We then back that up with comprehensive, modernized insurance protection and concierge-style claims handling, at prices that recognize and reward the benefits of a smarter, better protected home.

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