Next up in my pet-proofing series: the kitchen. Food presents a huge temptation to pets, especially when it's within reach of their paws or whiffs of their noses. It's natural for them to want to smell and nibble new foods so it's up to you to make sure they can only access safe yums. To learn how to safeguard your kitchen,

  • Food. Keep pets safe by storing all food out of their reach. Never underestimate their ability to find their way onto tabletops or into cabinets. Many common foods are risky to pets, including grapes and onions, so it's best to keep any food you feel may be a risk in a cabinet that's closed tight.
  • Trash. If you threw it out, there's probably a reason! Moldy and rotting food will make your pets ill but may still be a temptation. Be warned that anything you put in the garbage can be pulled out and spread around your home, so I recommend a metal one with a flip lid. Of special danger, coffee grounds in small amounts can poison your pet, in addition to any paper towels that may have trace amounts of cleaning solutions on them!
  • Cleaning products. Read (and follow the instructions on) the labels of all cleaning products you are using in your home. Use bleach and other poisonous liquids with care. Many pets are tempted to lick the floor, and these products can cause stomach upset — a special area of temptation is directly in front of the stove as it's the most likely place for lickworthy spills or splatters.