Sponsored by OnStar
Pets are cherished members of the family. They bring you so much joy, knowing just when you need to be comforted and always ready to protect your household. For some pet parents who don’t yet have children, adding a furry friend to the mix is what finally makes a couple feel like a family. But, even the best pet parents sometimes overlook some precautions when leaving their pets home alone.
Many Americans leave their pets alone for up to eight hours a day while they’re at work. But the American Kennel Club recommends adult dogs be left alone for no more than six hours, and adolescent dogs shouldn’t be alone more than four hours. Even if you adhere to these guidelines, a lot can happen in a short period when mischievous pets are left to their own devices. Here are ways to make sure your pets home alone are safe.
Get Emergency Personnel Pet Stickers
In the event of a fire or other emergency in which first responders must enter your home, it’s important that fireman and police officers know you have pets inside of the house. Order a set of emergency pet stickers to place on key entryways like balconies and front doors so that first responders know to rescue pets inside of the home. Some of these kits also contain cards for you to keep in your wallet on which you will write that you have pets at home that need attention. These cards are critical in the event that you should be unconscious after an accident and your pets are left unattended.
Check Electric Cords + Appliances
Make sure that appliances like coffee machines and crock pots are not left on when your pet is home alone. Additionally, check that electric cords are not within reach. Curious pets might paw at these, accidentally pulling an appliance off of a counter. And this could be very dangerous to the animal.
Properly Contain Trash
Your pets are probably curious about your trash, but it could contain things that are toxic to them. The ASPCA lists human foods that are toxic to animals here. But even if you don’t give these foods to your pets, they could steal them out of the trash can if it isn’t properly contained. Be sure to get a pet-proof trash can and/or to lock the trash away in a closet that the pets cannot access.
Leave Them With A Surplus Of Fresh Water
Even when you plan to be home at a certain time, sometimes traffic holds you up. Make sure to leave your pets with more than enough fresh water so that, should you be delayed, they won’t be left thirsty and dehydrated.
Enlist A Trusted Neighbor
Find a neighbor who you trust and give them a key to your home. It’s important to have someone you can call to care for your pets, should you be unexpectedly held up. Pet care services like Rover and Wag are also useful. However, if your appointed person has already stopped by for the day and you are further delayed, a neighbor can step in.
Install A Pet Cam
Pet cams are a fun way to see what your furry babies are up to while you’re away. But more importantly, they can alert you to when your pets need help. Installing a pet cam will let you check in on your animals while you’re not home. If you see an emergency arising, you can either rush home or reach out to your trusted neighbor.
Can They Climb Onto Surfaces?
If you have an acrobat on your hands, make sure that they won’t be able to climb up onto counters. Some pets will climb onto furniture that’s placed near counters in order to get to food. So if your pets are climbers and jumpers, make sure there isn’t anything near the counters. Animals can use things like stools or side tables to climb onto off-limit surfaces.
Consider An Automatic Feeder
Automatic pet feeders can be excellent solutions for pet parents who need to be away often. They’re especially useful for people who want pets to eat at set times, rather than graze all day. Just like with a coffee maker, you can set an automatic pet feeder to dispense contents at a set time.