When you’ve been a pet owner for years, there are certain habits and routines that are just on autopilot. You don’t even think about these activities, but you perform them every day, like refilling your pet’s water bowl and moving toys out of walkways. But there are some habits of pet owners that can put your home and animal at a heightened risk for vandalism, theft, and more. Here are safety precautions all pet owners should take.
Interview pet walkers/sitters
If someone pet sits for you, that individual spends time in your home when you are not there. A pet, unlike a child, cannot report back what the sitter did. A pet can’t tell you if the sitter stole something, or had visitors over. Thoroughly interview pet sitters and call their references.
Lock up the doggy door
If you have an enclosed yard, you may have installed a doggy door so that your pet can go in and out of the house as he pleases, without your needing to open the door. But doggy doors are still major weak points in your home’s security. Many burglars can fit through them—especially if your doggy door is large enough for a bigger breed—or they can reach tools through them to open the door from the inside. Make sure your doggy door is capable of locking and that you lock it each time you leave the house.
Locking the fence doors
Should your property be enclosed by a fence so that your pet can run freely, it’s important that the doors within the fence are lockable, and that you take the time to lock them every night before bed, and any time you leave the house. You may go in and out of these doors several times a day when you take your dog for a walk. Stay diligent about locking them after each use.
Let the dog be an alarm system
A dog can be a wonderful alarm system, sensing an intruder long before they make it to your front door. But when pet owners have their dog sleep in the center of the house, far away from entryways, they don’t take advantage of this natural alarm system. Let your dog sleep within earshot of your front door and other entryways, so he can notify you of intruders early.
Don’t walk a dog down an unlit street
Do not walk your dog down unlit streets at night. This is particularly important for women or children and teens who help out with the pet responsibilities.
Don’t leave your dog in the front yard unsupervised
Do not leave your pet to play in the front yard without supervision. Petnapping is a real threat as many thieves know that pet owners will pay high ransoms to recover their animals.
Don’t leave the back door open for a pet
While having an enclosed yard can be a pet owner’s dream because it eliminates the need to walk the dog each time he has to do his business, it can also make one a bit lax in safety precautions. Do not leave your back door propped open so that the dog can come and go. At least make use of your doggy door, and shut the door—even when you are home—so a stranger cannot stroll right through your back door.
Look for holes under fences
If your next door neighbor has an animal, or stores items outside that might interest your pet, then your pet might dig holes beneath your fence to get over there. Check the premises for holes under the fence regularly, as these pose security hazards. If possible, set up a fence that reaches far down—several feet—beneath the ground so that it is hard for a pet to dig a hole.
Get a well-equipped security system
Make sure that your security system has pet-friendly detectors. You don’t want your alarms to sound each time a pet walks past a sensor. Many systems are designed to differentiate between animals and humans.
Having an animal in the house can be a great source of happiness for the whole family, but it comes with plenty of responsibilities—many of which even affect your family’s safety.