Electrical safety includes thinking about pets

Keeping every member of your family safe around electricity is a priority of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. That includes those furry members of the family: your cat, dog, hamster or other critter.

“Most of us take precautions to child-proof our home when a baby arrives,” said Rick Coons, CEO at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “We put safety covers on unused outlets. We make sure electrical gadgets are kept out of reach of curious little hands. But pets are just as curious and can be even more playful than children. And kittens, especially, can somehow get into places we never could imagine they’d even try. So, we want consumers to be mindful to pet-proof their homes too.

Here are some tips:

  • Like young children, kittens and puppies like to chew on anything they get in their mouth. Rabbits, hamsters and other small pets with constantly growing teeth will also chew on such things as electrical cords. Make sure all loose electrical wires and cords are tucked out of sight behind appliances or confined to areas where pets cannot get to them.
  • Dangling cords are an irresistible temptation for frisky felines, and, along with electrical issues, can be a choking hazard. Make sure they are tucked away or taped to a wall to prevent them from being pounced upon.
  • Pet-proof your cords when they cannot be hidden. Pet-proof cords and covers can be found in pet stores. Or, try wrapping flexible safety cable, found at hardware or computer stores, around the cords. Simple PVC piping, found at hardware stores, can also be assembled in almost any configuration and used as a tube to run cables and cords through and around appliances and computers. Pet proofing can also include spraying or coating cords with household items like hot pepper sauce, mouthwash, toothpaste and lime or lemon juice.
  • Check exposed cords, cables and wiring frequently for fraying and replace immediately.
  • Do not let your pet nap behind electrical appliances such as a computer, dryer, TV, etc.
  • Keep all electrical appliances away from kitchen sinks, bathtubs and bathroom countertops. Cats, especially, like to leap up and can knock radios, curling irons, flattening irons, clocks or other items into the water, creating a dangerous situation for you and the pet.
  • If you have an aquarium, make sure all electrical cords coming from the tank have drip loops which cause any water from the tank or condensation running down the cord to fall on the floor instead of running into the outlet.

Sources Electrical Safety Foundation International, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. Fire Administration.