Purr-fect Safety Tips for Pets

Owners can do their part to keep their pets safe around electrical hazards.

November 04, 2014 | By Holly Fazio

Larry Tsuei’s dog, Marshall, loves to gnaw on objects, especially the TV and Internet cables throughout the house. Knowing the potential dangers the exposed wires posed for his pet, Tsuei acted quickly to remedy the situation. 

“I’m constantly on alert for any dangers that may come from power cables and also from underground cable since my dog likes to dig,” he said.

Tsuei had the cable company reinstall the TV cable from the ceiling, instead of along the floor, and added conduit and sheathing for all other cables that his dog might get into.

Like Marshall, pets depend on their owners to keep them safe, especially around electrical hazards. Some cats love to play with appliance cords hanging off countertops, like hair-dryer cords. Owners can keep their pets from biting or playing with appliance cords by keeping them out of reach.

Electrical cords should also be kept in good condition with no frayed wires or cracked insulation. Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged since touching a single exposed strand can possibly result in an electric shock. And like children, pets often like to lick or play with an electrical outlet so outlets need to be secured with a child-proof cover.

"While we can teach people to be safe around electricity, our pets are entirely dependent on us to make their home and environment safe,” said KC Theisen, director of Pet Care Issues, Humane Society of the United States. “It's our obligation to protect them from household dangers.”

Owners should also give pets toys that do not mimic household dangers. 

“To a cat, a string dragging across a carpet is the same as an electrical cord,” said Theisen. “Instead, use toys with shorter strings to keep your pet near you and allow you to supervise their play session." 

With colder weather in the fall and winter months, owners often use space heaters and electric blankets to keep warm. Owners should never allow pets to sleep on electric blankets since they could overheat. Portable space heaters can easily be knocked over by wagging tails, so owners need to keep them out of high-traffic areas and doorways. Always turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep. 

“It’s always important to keep our families safe and that includes our pets,” said Don Neal, director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety at Southern California Edison (SCE). “It’s also important to include them in your family’s emergency preparedness plans.”

Here are a few more tips on pet safety:

  • Include pets in evacuation drills so they get used to entering and traveling in their carriers.
  • Make an emergency kit for pets. Keep a container that is easy to grab and go with at least three days of food and water.
  • When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. 
  • If you see an animal in contact with a downed power line, do not touch it or go near it and call 911 immediately. 
  • During a power outage, do not leave pets unattended in rooms that contain lit candles. Use flashlights or battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.

Topics: Safety