How to Pet Proof Your House

Pets are naturally inquisitive, which can often lead to serious injury. Here are some tips on how you can make your house safer.

That's shocking -Many animals love to chew. Keep electrical wires out of reach, or use a pet-repellent spray.

They'd die for some chocolate - Chocolate can be dangerous. It contains theobromine, a powerful stimulant that is toxic to pets. Sweets, cakes and cookies can also upset an animal's G.I. tract and lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

Common household killers -Cleaning agents, bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint, gasoline, rat poison. Keep them locked up.

Check the antifreeze - Pets are attracted to the odor and sweet taste of antifreeze. Store it high and tightly sealed, wiping up any spills on the garage floor. Window-washing solution also contains antifreeze. Remember, engine warmth promotes catnaps, so honk your horn to wake pets under the hood.

Killer house plants - Poisonous plants include lilies, philodendron, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, eucalyptus, spider plants, azalea, ivy, amaryllis, pyracantha, oleander, boxwood, Jerusalem Cherry and plant bulbs.

Keep off the grass - If you treat your lawn with chemicals, keep pets away. Read and follow label directions carefully.

It fit yesterday - Collars and harnesses can be rapidly outgrown, leading to serious wounds.

Take care of personal care items and medications - Cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams, hair "perm" solutions, depilatories, suntan lotions, sleeping pills, antihistamines, aspirin and acetaminophen can all be lethal to pets.

It's not a toy - Don't leave plastic bags out. Inquisitive animals can suffocate.

The heat is on - Watch out for hot irons, coffee pots and space heaters.

A dip tip - Keep covers on hot tubs and swimming pools. Pets can fall in and not be able to get out.

'Tis the season - Keep holly, mistletoe and especially Christmas tree tinsel out of reach.

Cozy up - Always use a fireplace screen.

Do you eat with that mouth? - Rule of thumb: If any or all of something will fit in a mouth, it's dangerous. Watch out for cigarette butts, rubber bands, balloons, sewing needles, thread, string, ribbons and, yes, even pantyhose. Because what goes in must come out, often via surgery.