From 1st April to 7th May 2018, it’s National Pet Month.

According to top number-crunching website Statistica, as of 2017 the UK pet population is estimated to be around 54 million. With a people population of just over 66 million, this means that chances are you share your home with at least one furry or feathered friend.

This event was conceived to celebrate our national love of pets and raise awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns and encourage fundraising for the nation’s needy pets. It also does a great job of letting people know about the value of working and assistance companion animals

To spread the word, the people behind National Pet Month are encouraging pet lovers everywhere to take the lead by getting involved. And you can expect a whole menagerie of events and activities, from discounts at pet shops to pet blessings at Cathedrals and even sponsored sky dives. Pet budgies will no doubt be excellent at this.

Here at Smoove Move, everything we do is about helping you get your home just right, from finding the right location to sourcing the right local plumber or electrician. We want everyone to be safe, sound and comfortable at home. That’s what it’s for, right? And that’s not just us humans, but also our four legged, feathered (or finned) friends.

So, to mark National Pet Month, we’ve gathered some info that every pet owner should know to make sure their little friends stay healthy and happy at home. Here’s how to make your (and their) abode safer during their very own month and beyond.

Avoiding cat-astrophes

You may not know it, but cats are incredibly susceptible to poisoning. And even worse, some very common household items can be lethal to your pampered puss. According to the Cat’s Protection League, you should always keep the following stored well away from your moggy.

When it comes to food, avoid giving them onions, raisins or chocolate as these are poisonous to the little catty critters.

Antifreeze is also lethal for cats and they are attracted by its sweet smell and taste. Never let your cat near it. The same goes for disinfectants containing phenol (this goes cloudy when added to water) and decorating chemicals such as white spirit. Don’t forget that anything they get on their paws will end up in their mouths when they groom.

Take care to keep them away from dog flea treatment medication and human medications like aspirin and paracetamol, as these can be highly toxic.

In the garden shed, ensure pest control chemical like slug bait, anticoagulant rodent bait or weed killers containing Paraquat stay out of their curious way.

On the subject of plants, these are the ones that are bad for cats; all types of Lily, Lily of the Valley and Foxglove.

As if that wasn’t enough to bring out the scaredey cat in you, if your cat wears a collar, make sure it’s quick release. This will reduce the risk of your cat getting trapped if the collar becomes snagged.

It’s a dog’s life

Being your dog’s best friend is simple if you follow these rules around the home.

The first thing to watch with dogs and in particular puppies, are the foods they can get to. Top of the list is chocolate. Never ever treat your pooch to a taste of your Dairy Milk as it contains a stimulant called theobromine that’s poisonous to dogs, affecting the gut, heart, central nervous system.

Next to chocolate, caffeine is one for your dog to avoid as it can have similar effects if ingested in large enough quantities. As are grapes and raisins as these can cause kidney failure in sensitive canines. Plus, avoid macadamia nuts, corn on the cob, certain blue cheeses and the artificial sweetener Xylitol. And you thought dogs could eat anything.

Love giving your dog leftovers? If they contain onions, garlic or chives, they won’t love you back. Any of the allium species can cause stomach and gut irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia. When you think that most prepared foods, particularly takeaways, contain onion and garlic, that’s even more reason to scoff it all yourself.

Again, many household cleaners are toxic to dogs and should be kept out of their way. Ensure cupboard doors are impossible for them to open and ensure they don’t walk through any areas you have just cleaned or mopped. And the pet’s worst enemy antifreeze is once more on the danger list for pooches because of its sweet smell and taste so stay cool and keep it stored safely out of harm’s reach.

If you have a puppy, you’ll already know they love to chew. Make sure that what they don’t test their teeth on electrical cable as they often mistake this for a toy with painful results. Try and tie cables into bundles or better still, make sure that you pup isn’t left to its own devices in a room where it might find tempting live cables from a TV or computer. Playful pups also love to jump and bite any other hanging cords like blind pulls and curtain ties which they can get caught in and damage them or themselves in the process.

Dogs, like cats, are also susceptible to poisoning from certain plants. Holly and Easter Lily are two culprits so don’t bring them into a canine home.

Finally, it goes without saying that you should keep your pooch away from the hooch, as alcohol is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans.

Feathering the nest

When it comes to keeping birds safe in the home, the rules are relatively simple. The main risk faced by avian house guests is air pollution in the form of chemicals and toxins. So be very careful about using any aerosols such as fly killer or insecticides in the same room as your pet bird. Bleach, nail varnish remover and other solvents like glue can also be deadly. As can cigarette or cigar smoke, as birds are very susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.

As for the more obvious physical dangers around the home, make sure windows and mirrors can be easily seen by draping them in loose net or similar material. Birds will often fly straight into these if they are not obvious and can injure themselves in the process.

Fish for compliments

If you keep fish, here are just a few of the nice things you can do for your aquatic amigos during National Pet Month that they’ll love you for.

Keep the noise down, as fish are susceptible to sound waves and can even be killed by sudden loud noises. So make sure any stereo speakers aren’t near their tank and keep the volume levels low.

As with birds, fish are also sensitive to anything chemical or toxic in the air. Particularly things we may choose to spray around such as air fresheners, perfumes and deodorants. If these settle on the water surface in the tank they can wipe out the occupants in seconds, so be very careful. Don’t forget that even plug in fresheners will have the same effect.

Polish, paint and varnish can also contaminate a tank, so be very careful when using these.

And if you have a cat, they should stay well away from your fish if they have been sprayed for fleas as this is another lethal poison.

Finally, hand soap and sanitiser may be good for your health but has the opposite effect on fish tanks. Keep your hands well away from their water if you have been using these.

Whatever pets you share your home with, we hope all of you enjoy National Pets Month.

Smoove Move is here to help everyone feel great about where they live, whether it’s finding a better mortgage, saving money on energy or sourcing a trusted local tradesperson.