Protect your pet from electrical hazards

For many, pets are like members of the family, providing an indescribable companionship for owners. Two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own at least one pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Association. Regardless of how large or small a pet may be, there are always potential electrical hazards around the corner.

Here are a few safety tips to help you protect your pets from electrical hazards throughout the house:

  • Discourage pets from sleeping near or behind electronics. Many pets are attracted to the warmth, but this is a potential fire hazard.
  • Make sure plugs are completely plugged into an outlet. If not plugged in correctly, curious pets can get shocked.
  • Cover cords with cable jackets or PVC pipe in order to prevent pets from playing with or chewing on cords. Wind up excess cords and hide from view.
  • Coat cords with a bitter substance to make them undesirable to pets. Appropriate and safe products can be purchased online or at pet stores.
  • Unplug all appliances not in use to cut electric current.
  • Continuously check cords for fraying or bite marks.
  • Place cords out of pet’s reach, whether hanging off the floor or behind furniture.
  • Provide your pet with new and different chew toys so electrical cords do not become a dangerous replacement.
  • Make sure cords attached to an aquarium have a drip loop—cords that slack below the outlet—to make sure water does not run into the outlet.
  • Watch your pet around dangling or sagging cords, including phone or tablet charging cables. Unplug charging cables once your devices are charged. Not only do they draw a small amount of energy when not in use, but the dangling cords are just crying to be played with.
  • Don’t skimp when buying power cords, extension cords or anything else that you use for your electronics. Cheaper quality cords are much more likely to create sparks or overheat.
  • Be careful where you place lamps and other plugged-in items. Lamps can be a fire hazard if they are knocked over, especially if they have halogen bulbs.
  • Do not leave your pet alone around items that get hot: curling irons and straighteners, an outdoor grill, a portable heater and other electric appliances, including cooktops.
  • If a pet should receive a shock, never touch the animal until you know it is away from the power source or the electric current is shut off in order to prevent injury to yourself. Once it is clear to approach the pet, give it medical treatment immediately.

Taking the time to make sure your home is safe for your pet will help ensure your friend will be around to bring happiness into your life for years to come.