Keeping Pets Safe in the Home and Yard


Pets are part of our families so we should be sure they stay safe whether in the home or yard!

Bathrooms and Laundry Rooms – Toilet bowls are filled with water and often tempt pets to drink from them. This can cause a pet to drown, or it may poison them if toilet bowl cleaners are inside. Medications, both prescription and otherwise, are often kept in a bathroom, as are things such as bathroom cleaners, chemical drain openers, and deodorizers. Sharp items such as razors are also kept in bathrooms and can cut and seriously injure a pet that plays with or swallows them.

Laundry Room – Laundry rooms are also a place where chemicals such as bleach and detergent are stored and regularly used. Fabric softener sheets may seem harmless; however, they are filled with chemicals. Open dryers are tempting to pets that may climb inside to sleep, stay warm, or hide. This can be dangerous if the door is accidentally shut and the machine turned on.

Living Rooms – Unstable or top-heavy furniture can fall if jumped on or if bumped hard by a playful animal. Many types of potted house plants are known to be toxic if chewed or swallowed. The cords to drapery and window blinds are a choking hazard if they accidental loop around a pet’s neck, while electrical cords, if chewed on, can shock or electrocute a pet or start a fire.

Kitchens – Kitchens are an overall dangerous place for pets to be. Jumping pets have access to countertops and tables, while all animals can easily get to anything that’s within their reach, such as kitchen trash cans or food on the table. When it comes to threats, food is the most obvious culprit, as certain items, such as chocolate and raisins, are toxic while others represent a choking hazard.

Bedrooms – Although the bedroom may seem like an overall safe place for pets, it is the unexpected, little things that can prove problematic for pets. Electrical cords are dangerous to pets that are chewers, and small items such as earrings and hair pins may also be chewed or swallowed. Discarded shopping bags are a suffocation risk if a pet sticks its head inside and is unable to shake it off. Moth balls in closets or drawers are toxic, as are certain house plants that may be kept in the room.

Garages and Basements – Because these are areas outside of the main house and protected from the elements outdoors, they are places where deadly chemicals and other potentially lethal items are stored.

Toxic items that are commonly stored in garages and even basements include antifreeze, which is sweet-tasting but can cause a cat or a dog’s kidneys to fail if consumed. Motor oil, gas, battery acid, and car wax are just a few other dangerous car-related items. Additionally, pesticides, rat poison, paint, and paint thinners are examples of items kept in either location that can be lethal to a pet.

Yard – Certain items that are used on the lawn, flowers, and plants, such as fertilizers, pesticides, mulch, and compost, may contain chemicals or elements that a pet should not eat, drink, or lick. Cocoa mulch, for example, is toxic, yet the smell is tempting to animals, and compost may contain food items that pets can choke on or that is toxic to them. Care must be taken to also protect pets in yards with fire pits or outdoor fireplaces, pools, and ponds. Installing a fence also keeps pets safe from traffic or other animals.

Home Safety



Safety and security are part of the comforts of home, however there are many things that can easily become hazardous without our even realizing. Fortunately there are some simple steps you can take to keep your loved ones safe:


  • Throughout your home, check that handrails and banisters are in good repair and that they will not give way to children or elderly individuals that may live in or visit your home. Look at areas both indoors and outdoors that may need handrails or other support installed and evaluate whether or not they would be beneficial to your family.
  • Replace burned-out bulbs throughout your home, especially in areas such as stairways that may be difficult to get to or overlooked. Unknown to many, burned-out bulbs can be a fire hazard as dust will build on the bulbs and they are likely to spark when a switch gets turned off and on regularly.
  • Replace faulty wiring immediately upon discovering it.
  • Install smoke alarms and check batteries twice each year.
  • Secure your home with quality door and window locks.
  • Trim shrubs and trees close to the house so you can easily see into your yard from windows.
  • Avoid an unoccupied look when you go away for extended periods of time by leaving a light or radio on. This can even be done with an automatic timing device.
  • Pause deliveries of mail and newspapers by phoning your local post office and newspaper carrier.
  • Have a trusted neighbor or friend keep an eye on your home. In some areas, you can ask your local police station about “vacation house checks” so the police will keep an eye on your home while you are away.

We are never too busy to assist you with your real estate needs! If you are looking for more ways to keep your home safe, give us a call! We would be happy to provide you with any information you need, or at least point you in the right direction!

Rick Bunzel Speaks About Home Safety During the Holidays

Rick Bunzel of Pacific Crest Inspections gives us information on Home Safety during the Holidays.

As a home inspector and firefighter with 22 years experience, I am often criticized for being picky about small, insignificant items such as poor wiring, lack of smoke detectors, fire stops and window sizing that really didn’t mean very much. Well when fire strikes these items many times make these items make the difference between life and death. I have been to several Christmas Day fires including one where several people died and can tell you they do make the difference.
According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the number of fires and fire deaths typically rises sharply during the holiday season. Fires during the holiday season injure 2,000 people every year, and cause over $500 million in damages. Gatherings of family and friends can mean an increase in cooking activity, which is the leading cause of home fires. Alcohol consumption also tends to increase this time of year and is cited as a contributing factor in many of US fire deaths. Add candles, holiday decorations, fireplaces and heating equipment to the mix and the potential for disaster is great.
You can protect your home and your family from fire with these simple, common sense safety tips:
Cooking: Look while you cook–unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires. Wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves when cooking and keep all combustible materials a safe distance from the stove. Cooking or smoking while under the influence of alcohol can be deadly. Keep a close eye on any drinkers in your household and make sure all cigarettes are properly extinguished and the stove is off before going to bed.
Candles: Keep candles in a sturdy holder away from children, pets and combustible materials. Snuff them out before leaving the room.
Christmas trees: Nationwide we have had a drought and it’s important that you make sure to buy a fresh tree. Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch.
When you get home cut ½” off the base of the tree and put it in a bucket of water for at least a day. When you bring it inside make sure it’s not by any heater vents. Always keep the tree stand filled with water.  Discard any broken or frayed sets of lights when decorating the tree. Always turn off lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave your home. A short circuit in any of this equipment could cause a fire.
When you string the lights on your tree be careful to keep all bulbs turned away from gifts and paper ornaments. Lights in windows can cause curtains and drapes to ignite.  Lit candles should never be placed on or near the Christmas tree. When the tree starts to dry out, it’s time to throw it away.


Dispose of gift-wrappings soon after opening presents. Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace. It can throw off dangers sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
Space heaters: Keep portable heaters at least 2 feet away from anything that can burn–including you. Don’t use your heaters to dry shoes or clothes.
Heating appliances: Remember to have your furnace inspected each year by a licensed technician. Your fireplace chimney should also be cleaned and inspected annually to prevent problems that may cause a build-up of carbon monoxide. A carbon monoxide alarms will alert you to the presence of this deadly gas.
Smoke alarms: Over 90% of fire deaths occur in residential dwellings between 11pm-6am when occupants are asleep.  Alarms should be installed on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your alarms regularly and change the batteries at least once a year. Most fire departments promote this practice during Fire Prevention week in October.
Home Escape Plan: If a fire does occur in your home, everyone must get out as quickly as possible. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with your entire family.  Have a single meeting spot once everyone exits the house.

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To search for homes for sale in Anacortes, La Conner, or Oak Harbor, please call us @ (360)-293-4511.  We would love to help you with your real estate needs whether you are looking to buy or sell your home.

This video blog is not intended to endorse any person, product, or company but is intended to help educate viewers on the home buying and selling processes.  The information provided is believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed by Coldwell Banker Island Living, nor do they add any implied warranties.