Pet-proofing your home is definitely needed if your shedding pet likes lounging around on furniture like this dog and cat who need training.

Your 101 Guide to Pet Proofing Your Home

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Pet-proofing your home is not just for your pet. It’s for your peace of mind. Like all good mums and dads know, baby-proofing your home is step #1 on the road to good parenting. Pet parenting is no different. In this blog post, you’ll learn about puppy proofing and how to kitten proof your home. We’ll also guide you on training your dog or cat to get them onside in the proofing process too.

How to pet proof your home – 11 key areas

No one wants woof or meow eating strange and un-diet-y foods or objects that could harm them. And keeping your home intact will keep you and fur baby happy. We’ll begin with a puppy and kitten proofing list before getting into more detail on different safeguards for cats and dogs and some training tips.

Let’s get-proofing your home for with this list:

  • Toilets – put the lid down so pooch drinks from their own water bowl and not the toilet bowl. And so kitty doesn’t fall in! Side note: Do you know it’s possible (in some cases) to train your cat to use a human toilet?
  • Doors – keep appliance doors closed (washers/dryers) and close doors to no-access rooms.
  • Lids – the general rule is “keep closed.” Rubbish bins, food tubs and buckets all count.
  • Plugs – very dangerous for plugs or cords to get chewed on, so secure these well. Cover plugs and fasten or tape down cords.
  • Windows – if you live in an apartment or multi-storied house, close the windows on the upper levels. Of course, this may not be healthy in summer, so consider a window screen.
  • Tools – always unplug and pack away. A tool that’s still connected to the socket could be switched on by accident. Puppy proofing against this type of mishap will stand you in good stead.
  • Garden – don’t use pesticides or chemical compost. Cats and dogs love to dig and taste all garden varietals. Just another reason to puppy and kitten proof your home.
  • Car – never ever drive before checking under your car and around your wheels. A parked car often creates a warm pocket of air – which is very inviting to pets to sit in.
  • Fences – check your perimeter. Are you sure there are no holes in or under the fence? If your fence is a hedge you may need to fortify with a proper fence or wall.
  • Food – be aware many human foods can poison your pet. These include seemingly innocent items like avocado, grapes and artificial sweetener xylitol. Keep them out of reach and locked away from inquisitive noses.
  • Poison – lots of human things are dangerous to pets. Pack away detergents, mothballs, hair dye, batteries, and medicine. You may have to train yourself to do this, but it’s worth it!

On this last point, watch this vlog with Dr Cath on household pet poisons you should know about:

Pet proofing your home against physical dangers

While we’ve ticked off several physical pet dangers (like toilet bowls, stove-tops and stairs), let’s look at more things you can do as part of pet proofing your home for your canine and feline companions.

Because let’s face it, as affectionate and adorable as being licked is, it’s not good for anyone’s complexion to be licked after a long drink from the toilet bowl. Ahem. So, bring in the physical puppy and kitten proofing barriers!

How to kitten proof your home

Onto how to kitten proof your home… While cats always land on their feet and are less likely to knock things over, a little double-sided tape on the family heirlooms never hurt anyone.

Cats have strong urges to wrap around things and tend to wave their tales when upset. If you’re nodding and are inundated with kitty furballs, read our PD guide on how to remove pet fur.

Natural cat scratching behaviours

A biggie with cats is claw sharpening. If you don’t have wooded trees in your garden, be sure to get yourself a free-standing scratching post like the one on our cat gifts list, early on. Also read our guide on how to stop a kitten from scratching furniture.

Because couches are often a scratching target, here are some added tips:

These tools help shield or guide your cat away from your furnishings and towards their scratching post. You can use these sprays on your bench tops and other areas cats like to climb. Remember that much like dogs must chew, cats must sharpen claws. These are just basic necessities.

A kitten in a well pet proofed home has a scratch post to play with and sharpen its claws (keeping it from scratching furniture instead)

Puppy proofing for dogs

Before we get stuck into puppy proofing, it’s worth bearing in mind that dogs and cats have evolved to connect with humans through different hunting and eating habits. This helps us somewhat understand doggy behaviour.

The history of dogs shows they evolved through eating human scraps. (Whereas cats ate rats and mice who ate our food supplies – so they didn’t depend directly on us). As a result, dogs appear to want to be humans (cats simply don’t mind us being around).

Natural dog chewing behaviours

The consequence? Well, dogs really like to get stuck into “being a human”. They want to know – and taste – what a couch is and why we need one. Or they make sure to ‘touch’ each beautiful object. Much like running a finger over a beautiful painting, a dog will brush each crystal vase with a boisterous tail. You get the drift…

Hence, a good way to physically pet proof your home furnishings and other areas for dogs is as follows:

  • Chew toys – its either household belongings or a chew toy. Easy choice.
  • Throws – cover couches with thick material like a throw to avoid having to reupholster later.
  • Rearrange – as with small children, move all loose objects away from edges.


If you want to A-grade your pet proofing for puppies, DIY stores also sell protective coverings for furniture. And remember, puppy teething is not just for fun, but to keep its gums and teeth healthy. So, puppy chew toys are no luxury! Read more on how to puppy proof your house.

a dog spends time on its pet safe balcony that its owner has pet proofed with fencing above the wall

How to pet proof a balcony

Pet-proofing your balcony is a must to keep your lovable escape artist safe while enjoying the outdoor space. Start by checking for any gaps or openings that your pet could squeeze through. Use mesh or cat netting to cover these areas, ensuring it’s secure and can withstand your pet’s curiosity.

To prevent them from chewing on furniture or wires, invest in pet-friendly outdoor furniture and hide or cover any cords. Lastly, keep an eye on your floofball while they’re on the balcony to ensure their safety and enjoyment of this outdoor pet paradise.

When it comes to knowing how to kitten proof your home best, a great option is the catio cat enclosure.

Pet proofing your home by training your pet

Training your dog or cat not to pee on your carpet, scratch your furniture or catnap on the stove makes for purrfect pet-proofing. Getting them onside from the start is a win-win. And the route to that harmonious companionship is training.

Training

Training your cat or dog is not only a way of showing love, but it also reinforces a sense of belonging and trust. You will either need a professional pet trainer or know-how and endurance. Or both. Read more info on how to find a great puppy training school.

Even if a trainer lays down the basic laws, you’ll still need to take over command. Because you’re the one who’s there at bedtime and first thing in the morning. Training your dog or cat requires repetition and confidence.

Behaviour

If your new pet is an adopted dog or cat, they may have trauma that needs to be unlearned. Getting in a pet behaviourist can fast track the process.

Positive reinforcement

You can also turn to treats to reward good behaviour. Positive reinforcement training for good behaviour never hurt anyone. In fact, it’s proven to be the most effective way of training pets.

So, do whatever is required, drink another espresso and tighten your belt. And get ready to repeat yourself, a lot. You’ll be saying things like “no”, “well done” and “good boy/girl” like it’s your new mantra. You may feel like a stuck record but in the long run it’s worth it.

train your kitten to use a litter box with a shallow one like this initially

Potty training your pets

Potty training pooch or meow can be quite easy so long as you stick with the steps. Simply scratch at the litter box with fur baby’s paw to show him or her where to go. Do this first thing in the morning and right after meals. If your cat or dog has a garden to go in, even better. Take them out at those same times and show them they can scratch at the sand.

All baby animals signal when they’re ready to make a number one or two. So, look out for cues. As soon as you see the cue, lead the way to the litter! Look out for sudden circling, sniffing or whining – these could be it. If you don’t notice these cues, know you’re not alone. They can be tricky to spot.

Going in the garden

However, your dog or cat may enjoy scratching at your veggie garden or under your prize roses. Don’t despair, you can spruce up your garden’s aroma and repel your furbaby from the no-go zone with the same plants. Rosemary, lavender and lemon balm are plants that act as natural deterrents.

Avoid toxic plants

You might want to check out something really important before buying your next Pinterest-worthy plant: whether your favourite plant might be toxic to your cat. Read up on common plants that are toxic to pets.

Signs your pet is unwell

If your cat or dog continues to, or increasingly, poos or pees in the wrong places despite tons of training, a visit to the vet might be needed. Frequent inappropriate soiling is generally a sign that a pet baby is not feeling well.

And this can happen at all ages! In some cases, UTI in dogs or cats may be the underlying cause. Happily, medication and unexpected vet visits can be covered by our comprehensive pet insurance plans. 

Tips on how to kitten proof your home include planting rosemary, lavender and lemon balm in no-go zones as these are natural plants that act as cat deterrents.

The truth about cats and dogs (and humans!)

If you’ve ticked off the pet proofing your home checklist, well done! Keep in mind that knowing how to dog/puppy and cat/kitten proof your home isn’t just about physical security. It also eases your mind and lets you enjoy hanging out with your pet without unnecessary distractions. Think of it as your personal pet insurance.

That said and done, we all know our pets can see beyond our proofing. They know we’re only human after all. And despite our best loving efforts, sometimes pets do still get injured or sick.

Pet insurance for a soft landing

Pet proofing your home and training your cat or dog works best when it’s done in tandem with PD’s award-winning comprehensive cat insurance and dog insurance. Plus, you’ll get one or more months of FREE pet insurance (for cats and dogs) when you buy online.

That’s the final tick on your checklist! Click below to start a quote today.

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