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Anyone who's ever had a pet knows how easy it is to fall in love with them. No one falls in love with their messes, however, and it can be difficult to keep your pets out of trouble. Whether you rent an apartment or own a home, and whether you have a cat or a dog, you'll face a unique set of challenges in caring for them and your pad. However, you can take a few simple steps to keep your fur babies and your possessions safe.

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Seek Out Environmental Hazards

You might think your house is pet-safe, but you can't be sure until you inspect it from their perspective. It's advisable to get down on all fours and hunt around for holes in the wall, spaces behind washers or dryers, loose cords, and similar hazards that rest at a low height. If you don't find anything, you're good; if you do find any problem spaces, you should close or block them off with something sturdy. You can find tools to secure loose cables at most hardware stores.

A golden retriever and three kittens FatCamera / Getty Images
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Secure Detergents and Chemicals

Did you know that cats and dogs find the aroma of antifreeze appealing? You can't explain to your pets that these things are dangerous to them, and there's no opportunity to train them to stay away from them. The only solution is to keep them away from any surfaces you've recently used cleaning products on and to secure any chemicals that aren't in use.

Dog Licking Dirty Dishes in the Dishwasher SolStock / Getty Images
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Be Aware of Hazardous Foods and Plants

Many plants and foods often found in the household are a hazard to pets. That dogs can't eat chocolate and raisins is common knowledge, but so are mustard seeds and tomato leaves. Azaleas, rhododendrons, lilies, and many other plants are highly toxic to cats. If you have or want to have any houseplants, do your research first. If you want to feed some table scraps to your pet, assume they're not safe until you're absolutely certain otherwise.

Cat is eating fresh green grass Linda Raymond / Getty Images
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Install Screens on Your Windows

Window sills are the kind of perch that cats love to climb around. However, they're easy to fall out of, and many cats are injured in falls every year. Dogs are less at risk, but it's still worth having sturdy, pet-proof screens on your windows. As a neat plus, you'll be able to enjoy outside air without all the outside insects intruding.

A dog chewing on a shoe gradyreese / Getty Images
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Make Sure Your Pets Get Plenty of Exercise

When pets get enough exercise, they're happier, more relaxed, and much easier to train. They're also more likely to sleep soundly during the night, rather than spend the night trying to wake you up. If you can spare an hour or more every day to take your dog for a walk or jog until they're a bit tired, they'll thank you for it. If you're looking to get a pet soon, try to make sure you get a breed with an energy level that matches the time you can give them. If you can't dedicate so much time to them, pet toys can be a lifesaver.

A cat playing with a toy mouse CasarsaGuru / Getty Images
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Provide Them With Plenty of Toys

Toys help pets get all their energy out and stay happy and healthy. If you don't live in an area with easy access to a dog-friendly public park, giving your dog ways to play in the home is essential. Not to mention that keeping your pets well supplied with toys helps protect your furniture. If you encourage your cat to scratch up a scratching post and find your dog a nice chew toy, they're a lot less likely to make your belongings into targets of those urges.

Playing with dog in living room MonikaBatich / Getty Images
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Pet-Proof Your Furniture

If you can, it's a good idea to get furniture that's pet-resistant. Leather doesn't hold in scents, or fur like other furniture does, and microfiber furniture is perfect for cats. If you already have other kinds of furniture, it's an excellent idea to invest in simple furniture covers. To protect wooden furniture from gnawing and scratching, a pet-friendly vinegar spray will do the job.

dog destroys couch sturti / Getty Images
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Secure Pet-Accessible Cupboards, Containers, and Shelves

Cupboards generally don't close themselves very tightly. Inquisitive cats and dogs can pry them open easily, and they might get into chemicals or knock your pots and pans all over the floor. If there are any ground-level cupboards, you don't want your pets getting into, secure them with toddler locks. Cats and shelves are a trickier proposition; it's hard to do anything to cat-proof shelves installed into the wall. In that case, you should move any fragile items to more secure locations and arrange your furniture, so it's hard or impossible for them to reach your shelves.

Naughty dog - Lying dog in the middle of mess in the kitchen Chalabala / Getty Images
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Install Pet-Friendly Flooring

If you have a cat or a lightweight dog, then hardwood floors are perfect. If you keep their claws trimmed well, then there are minimal odds of them causing any damage to the flooring. Carpets aren't ideal, but if you can get a dark-colored carpet or one that matches the color of their coat, it'll prevent light shedding from being an eyesore. Ceramic tile is suitable for heavier dogs, and there are specially-made synthetic fibers that repel moisture and fur.

Kitten playing in a parcel with packing peanuts lisegagne / Getty Images
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Carve Out a Nook for Your Pet

It might seem like your pet always wants to be with you sometimes, but cats and dogs need their alone time, too. Try to create a space with a bed, some toys, and water that you can leave to your pet. Once they're trained to appreciate their nook, they're much less likely to spend the night wandering around and tearing up your furniture or looking for places they're not supposed to be. No matter how good your pet-proofing is, the best defense is a content pet that doesn't test it.

A dog relaxing in its bed gollykim / Getty Images

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