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Keeping Your Pet Safe During Remodling

If you are using the winter season to take care of any household projects or remodeling, you'll find the advice below to be helpful.

Remodeling can be hectic for the family, and pets can become upset by the disruption of their daily routine. By anticipating their needs, you can help your dog or cat get through the upheaval and be as happy in the refurbished home as in their old surroundings.

Be prepared for the disorder that may occur when workers arrive and reconstruction begins. Many dogs and some cats have a protective instinct. A naturally protective pet might lash out at a worker who seems to be invading its territory. Some pets may seek security by hiding, and the chosen hiding place may present safety problems. Or a frightened pet may quietly slip outside. This is particularly dangerous for indoor cats. Doors and windows may be left open, making it easy for a pet to wander off.

Incessantly loud noise from hammering, power tools or other aspects of remodeling may be unnerving to a pet. Keep your pet in an enclosed area with its favorite blanket, toys and other favorite objects to help provide some measure of security. Avoid putting a frightened dog in an area with a large window. A fearful dog might try to crash through the window to escape the noise.

After the workers leave for the day, pets still need protection. They are apt to investigate unfamiliar objects. Tools may be sharp. Paint, mineral spirits, paint remover and wood preservatives can be toxic. These items should be kept off-limits to curious pets and children.

Scrapings or dust from the removal of lead-based paint present another potential danger. The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that 80 percent of the private housing units built before 1980 contain some lead-based paint. Prevention is the best protection against lead poisoning. If feasible, have lead- based paint professionally removed and keep your pets away from the area. Be certain flaking paint or paint dust is promptly removed.

If bare wires are exposed, the possibility of an electric shock or even electrocution exists. Keeping your pet away from the work area is the best way to protect it.

If your kitchen is the focus of remodeling, you may rely on carryout food for several days or weeks. Carefully dispose of leftover food, paper containers and plastic wrap. A thorough clean-up can prevent pets from eating leftovers, which could cause digestive upsets, or swallowing plastic wrap, which could damage their intestines.

The ideal situation would be to get your pet out of the house during the refurbishing. If it is a one-day job, take your pet to the groomer or to visit a pet-loving friend. Many kennels offer "doggie day care," and this might be fun for your dog.

If your remodeling project is an extended one, you may want to board your pet or, if possible, isolate it in an area in the house that is free from remodeling.


reproduced with permission from the Pet Travel Newsletter


Page last update: 12/13/2011

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