Remind clients that dogs are like toddlers—they explore the world with their mouths—and they should set up the new pet’s areas as if they were protecting a child. Cats require even more protection because they can easily jump onto surfaces small children cannot reach. It may be helpful to suggest to a new pet owner that he or she get on the floor to look at the space from the dog’s point of view and to check high areas (eg, countertops, shelves, the refrigerator) for things cats might knock over, spill, and ingest.
Clients should also know that potentially hazardous materials, including cleaning and auto-care products, pesticides, and insecticides, should be stored out of their pet’s reach. Garbage cans should be sealed with tamper-proof lids. An animal’s outdoor enclosure should be routinely checked and unfamiliar or questionable items removed. Companion animals should be supervised when they are outside and should be kept in a securely gated area when unattended.