Keeping your pets safe at home is an increasing preoccupation for many of us. And pet ownership is on the rise. 23% of UK households own a dog and 16% own one or more cats.
As UK homes more and more technologically reliant and smart homes increase, it's important to stay up to date with electrical safety. In this guide, we’ll cover the dos and don’ts of electrical safety for our feline and canine companions.
Why is electrical safety a big deal?
50% of all household fires are connected to electricity. Be it faulty appliances or sockets, forgetfulness, or misuse.
And fires are not the only danger electricity can pose. Electrocution, trips and falls from hanging cables are potentially fatal and can cause severe injuries to those we love.
Simple changes in your home set up and behaviour can make your home far safer.
How can I make sure my home is safe for my pets?
The first step is to check for hazards. Make sure any wires or cables used to connect are safely secured along the wall and floor edges, so they don’t present a trip hazard.
Remember that many cats, in particular, like to climb! Don’t ignore wires that seem out of reach. Fasten them away, and they won’t accidentally be pulled down by your adventurous kitty. Expensive appliances will also be safe from harm.
Be particularly cautious about any electrical appliances or wires next to or hanging over an aquarium or sink area. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Young animals, in particular, may be drawn to the taps to play or to drink. Make sure they always have a bowl of fresh water available.
Regularly check your switches, sockets and cables for any signs of damage. If you spot something, replace it as soon as possible. Faulty wires and sockets are another common cause of electrical faults.
Remember than many dogs and cats like to sleep somewhere warm. They may want to sleep next to or on top of your desktop or laptop. This can lead to computers overheating, which is to be avoided. Instead, make sure their bed is somewhere warm and cosy.
Invest in LED lighting. Not only do LED bulbs use much less electricity than halogen bulbs, but halogen bulbs get very hot and can be a burn risk for curious cats and dogs.
Consider how you use electricity
Don’t overload plug sockets, however tempting. Never leave electric heaters, ovens, washing machines, or dishwashers running when you are out of the house.
Put away cables from laptops and mobile devices out of the reach of dogs and cats. This is particularly important if you have a puppy or kitten who might like to have a chew!
Get into the habit of turning off all electrical device and appliances when not in use and particularly when you are not at home. Ideally, they should also be unplugged at the socket. Many devices such as computers and mobile devices, continue to draw electricity from the socket, even when fully charged.
Irons, hair curlers, and straighteners all take time to cool down once they have been unplugged. So, be vigilant to move them away from your pets once you have finished using them.
This not only reduces the risk of electrical fires or burns but will decrease your electricity bills and make your home more energy-efficient.
If you have an Economy 7 tariff, electricity is cheapest for you at night. So, it makes sense only to charge your devices before you go to sleep and unplug them when you wake up in the morning.
When buying new household appliances, make sure the voltage of the product is 230V, 50Hz (the UK’s standard domestic voltage). If not – the risk of electrical faults becomes much higher.
Are you worried about your household appliances? Electrical Safety First have a handy search tool that allows you to check whether manufacturers have recalled the products you own because they have been deemed unsafe.
Pay attention to your pet. If you notice they are interested in a particular area of your home, try to be particularly vigilant in making the space safe for them. Discourage them from things like licking or chewing electrical devices, whether plugged in or not.
For more home energy tips, check out our latest energy guides and advice.