Pet Safety at Home: A Guide to Protecting Your Furry Friend from Common Hazards

by Amy A

A grey domestic short haired cat in a white neck cone resting on a hardwood floor, eyes closed asleep.

In an environment filled with comfort and familiarity, your home may seem like the safest place for your pet. However, numerous unforeseen dangers can lurk in the most unexpected corners, from toxic plants to household chemicals and hazardous foods. 

As pet owners, it's essential to stay well-informed about these common hazards and learn how to pet-proof your home effectively to ensure the well-being of your furry friends. This comprehensive guide aims to shine a light on the importance of pet safety at home, offering practical tips, suggesting useful pet products, and debunking common pet safety myths. 

By the end, you'll have a more robust understanding of how to create a secure, enjoyable home environment for your beloved pet, ultimately safeguarding them from potential harm. Let's embark on this journey of providing our cherished companions with the utmost safety and care.


Common hazards

Common household hazards can present real dangers to our pets if we're not vigilant. These hazards are often found where we least expect them — in our gardens, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Our responsibility as pet owners is to identify and mitigate these risks.

One common hazard includes toxic plants, such as lilies, azaleas, and sago palms, which can be harmful or even fatal if ingested by pets. To protect your pets, familiarise yourself with the list of toxic and non-toxic plants that the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline provides. It would be beneficial to remove any harmful plants from your house and garden or ensure they are out of your pet's reach.

Household chemicals such as cleaning agents, antifreeze, and insecticides can pose significant risks. Store these substances in secure, high places or locked cabinets to prevent your pets from accidentally consuming or spilling them. It's also essential to ensure that rooms are well-ventilated during and after using such chemicals to avoid harmful fumes.

Foods that we consume daily can be dangerous for pets. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic are toxic to dogs and cats. High-fat content can also lead to pancreatitis in pets; avoid feeding your pet table scraps and securely storing potentially harmful foods to prevent food-related incidents.

In general, vigilance and education are key. Know what's in your home, research if it's safe for your pet, and take the necessary steps to prevent accidents. Remember, always consult with your vet or the Australian Animal Poisons helpline when in doubt. 

Pet-proofing the home

Two dogs with both front paws resting atop an indoor baby fence barrier

When it comes to creating a safe environment for your furry friends, pet-proofing your home is a crucial step that shouldn't be overlooked. Much like child-proofing, this process eliminates potential hazards and creates a space where your pet can roam freely and safely.

An important area to focus on is your trash can. Pets are naturally curious and may rummage through the trash, leading to the ingestion of harmful substances or choking hazards. Secure your trash cans with a tight-fitting lid or store them in a locked cupboard to avoid this.

Next, consider the abundance of electrical cords and cables in your home. Pets, especially young ones, might find these cords enticing to chew on, posing a risk of electric shock. Keep cords and cables out of sight, or protect them using pet-proof cable covers available in most pet supplies stores.

Creating a safe space for your pet is another crucial aspect of pet-proofing. Setting up a specific room or a comfortable corner with your pet’s favourite bedding, toys, and food and water dishes. The space should be free from potential hazards and let your pet feel secure and at ease.

Furthermore, bear in mind that pet-proofing should extend to all areas of your home that your pet can access, including any high surfaces for cats who love to climb and outdoor spaces like gardens and yards for dogs. Install baby gates to restrict access to specific rooms, ensure your garden is free of toxic plants and has a secure fence to prevent your pet from wandering off.

Finally, remember that pet-proofing is an ongoing task. Regularly check your home for potential hazards and adjust your pet-proofing measures as your pet grows and their behaviour changes. A well-pet-proofed home is the first step to ensuring the safety and well-being of your furry friend.


While this guide provides a solid foundation for pet safety at home, having additional resources on hand can prove invaluable in maintaining your pet's health and well-being.

First and foremost, keep the contact details of your local vet and an emergency vet clinic readily accessible. Speed is often critical in an emergency, and having these numbers at your fingertips can save precious time.

Online resources are another valuable tool for pet safety information. Websites like the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) offer a wealth of information on pet care, including comprehensive lists of toxic plants and foods via their Knowledge Base site. If you need assistance in diagnosing your pet’s reaction to ingesting something, the Australian Animal Poison Helpline provides a 9-5 animal poison hotline that can help you determine the next steps in helping your furry friend.

Locally, consider connecting with pet owners' groups or community organisations via social media. These can provide local-specific information, such as lists of known toxic plants in your area or recommendations for pet-friendly services.

Lastly, always remember that while the internet can provide a wealth of information, it doesn't replace professional advice. In case of any health concerns or emergencies, it's always best to contact a vet immediately. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and you'll be well-equipped to ensure your pet leads a safe and happy life at home.


Ensuring the safety of our pets at home is a responsibility that all pet owners share. By understanding the common hazards that  may be in our homes, from toxic plants to household chemicals and dangerous foods, we can take steps to prevent accidental harm. Effective pet-proofing methods such as securing trash cans, hiding cords, and creating a safe space for our pets can significantly enhance their safety and well-being.

But remember, maintaining a safe environment for our pets is an ongoing process and requires regular review and adaptation as your pet grows and their habits evolve. Stay informed, utilise the wealth of resources available online and locally, and always be ready to consult with professionals when needed.

In conclusion, our furry friends rely on us for their safety. So, let's actively protect them from potential dangers and provide them with a secure, loving home they deserve. Pet safety is not just about preventing harm — it's about fostering a space where our pets can be healthy, happy, and truly at home.