Pets are notorious for putting things in their mouth or pawing things they shouldn’t. Shoes are one thing, but electrical hazards can be very dangerous to our naturally curious friends.

If you’re among the roughly 60 percent of U.S. households that own a pet, here are a few tips to keep Fido and Fluffy safe:

  • Check your outlets to be sure they’re snug. Exposed prongs can be a hazard if your pet decides to nuzzle, lick or paw them.
  • Secure cords. Pets can get a severe shock if they chew on them. Your local pet or hardware store likely carries protective coverings or bitter tasting chew deterrent products. Keep pet bedding or kennels away from cords as well.
  • Unplug devices when not in use. Not only does it keep your pets safer, but it saves “phantom energy” costs on electronics that draw power, even when they’re not being used.
  • Make sure kitchen and bathrooms have GFCI outlets. Any place where clumsy or playful paws can knock electrical items into water should be outfitted with a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, which trips to stop the flow of electricity when it senses a problem.
  • Isolate the water dish. Keep the water source away from any electrical components, including anything they may accidentally knock down into the water.
  • Have a storm plan. When summer storms trigger outages, help pets maintain a lower body temperature by bathing them in cool water. Thunder can be scary for pets, so make sure they are in a secure place without risk of escape. In case of severe conditions, make sure your outage kit includes pet food and medicine, identification and medical papers, as well as a leash and harness or collar.

If your pet does receive a shock, turn the power off at the source before attempting to remove your pet from the source of the shock. Wrap your pet in a blanket and seek help from a veterinarian.

Tucson Electric Power Safety Specialist Carrie Hildreth knows firsthand the dangers that pets can encounter around electricity. When she was 16, she was heartbroken after her pet bunny’s cage was placed next to the stereo and he chewed through the cords.

“We know families are devoted to their pets,” Hildreth said. “These tips can help make sure they keep them healthy and safe around electricity, no matter the season.”

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