How to pet-proof your home

Find out how to protect your prized possessions and keep your furry friend safe and sound with this go-to guide.

Room to roam

We’ve taken a virtual tour around the typical UK home to look at the potential pet problems lurking behind each door.

These simple suggestions will take no time at all to put in place – but could go a long way to helping you create a safe, tidy and pet-friendly home.

  • Close your washing machine and tumble dryer door when they’re not in use – and make sure your fun-loving pet isn’t playing hide and seek before you switch them on
  • Consider fitting child safety locks on cupboard doors – they can do the trick for pets too
  • Hide away dangerous or toxic food – even a small bite of a harmful human treat can cause serious problems for your pet
  • Keep your pet out of the kitchen when you’re cooking to avoid any dangerous spills, slips or trips
  • Make sure your bin is securely shut to stop your curious chum raking through your rubbish
  • Hide your shoes and slippers in your cupboard – unless you want them chewed
  • If you have any allergies, keep your pets out of your room – their dander (dead skin) can make your symptoms worse and cause allergic reactions
  • Keep your small change somewhere safe – coins made of zinc can be toxic to cats and dogs
  • Small toys are a common choking hazard for pets, so make sure you tidy them away and keep your floors clutter-free
  • Keep medicines on a high shelf or locked away to protect your pet from swallowing potentially poisonous pills
  • Lock all cleaning products away out of reach – these can be extremely dangerous to pets
  • Toilet cleaners can be toxic, so always keep the toilet lid closed when it’s not in use
  • Hide electrical cables behind furniture or tape them to your skirting board to stop them getting damaged
  • Keep CDs and DVDs out of reach – discs can be quickly chewed and broken into dangerous, sharp pieces
  • Keep toxic houseplants and flowers away from your home – there are plenty of pet-safe plants to choose from
  • Try pet repellent sprays on furniture to stop your pesky pet from chewing on your couch
  • Unplug your TV and other electronic devices when they’re not in use to protect your pet from nasty shocks
  • Avoid toxic and poisonous outdoor plants like azaleas, daffodils, foxgloves and tomato plants
  • Check for gaps under and between your gates and fences for smaller dogs, house cats and other potential escape artists
  • Make sure your gates and fences are sturdy, secure and high enough that your pet can’t escape
  • Mulch your garden using traditional shredded mulch or bark instead of cocoa mulch – this can be extremely toxic to pets
  • Use only pet-safe slug pellets, pesticides and fertilisers


Poisonous vs pet-safe products

As you can see, there are a number of everyday products that can be dangerous to pets, including food and drink, plants and household cleaners.

Here are some of the main items to avoid – plus some pet-safe alternatives.

When you think of dangerous or poisonous food for pets, the first thing that comes to mind – and rightly so – is chocolate.

As delicious as it is, chocolate is a no-go for cats and dogs. And so are the following items:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea
  • Garlic and onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Xylitol – a sweetener commonly found in products including chewing gum and toothpaste

While the above food and drinks can be dangerous, not all human treats are bad for your pampered pet.

Here are just a few healthy snacks that can be safely enjoyed by the whole family:

  • Carrots and peas
  • Certain fruits, including apples, blueberries and bananas
  • Cooked fish and chicken
  • Peanuts and peanut butter – as long as it doesn’t include xylitol

Some common cleaning products can be terribly toxic to pets. Try and get your chores done while your cat or dog isn’t around – and make sure the following products are safely stored out of harm’s way:

  • Bleach
  • Dishwasher tablets
  • Laundry detergents
  • Oven cleaner

Not all cleaning products will put your four-legged friend in danger. There are plenty of pet-safe cleaning products and brands available from most large supermarkets.

And you could also give natural and homemade cleaning products a go, for example:

  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • Castile soap
  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar

Looking to spruce up your garden or home with Instagrammable plants and flowers? Tread carefully – there are lots of plants that are poisonous to pets, including:

  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils
  • Dieffenbachia (dumb canes)
  • Foxgloves
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lilies
  • Philodendrons
  • Poinsettias
  • Tomato plants
  • Yew

Don’t worry. It’s not all doom and gloom if you’re looking to brighten up your home. The following indoor houseplants are gorgeous, low maintenance and – most importantly – non toxic for pets:

  • Bamboo and parlour palms
  • Boston ferns
  • Hoya or wax plants
  • Money trees
  • Prayer plants
  • Spider plants


Other helpful guides

All our guides are on hand to help keep your pet healthy, happy and safe.

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Important information

Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.

Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.