How to keep your pets insulated from harm

We all love our pets – but they can be a handful where electrics are concerned (as well as being a handful, full stop!). Animals don’t understand electricity, or the dangers associated with it. Couple that with their innate curiosity, and propensity for chewing (puppies and rabbits, we’re looking at you …), and you’ve got a potential problem.

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So, given that animals and electricity don’t mix, what – short of wrapping them head to tail in insulating tape – can we do to ensure our pets’ continued wellbeing in the face of electrical hazards?

Here are a few measures worth considering.

Keep power cables hidden or out of reach


Electrical wires, especially those that dangle from tabletops or kitchen counters, are a temptation too far for many pets. Delicious to chew on or delightful to tug at, bringing whatever they’re attached to crashing down to earth. The best way to avoid destructive chewing or tugging is to make the cables inaccessible. Use conduit where you can, don’t use longer cords than you need (power cords spooling all over the floor are never a good idea), and use cable clips where possible.

Cover electrical sockets


Like babies and toddlers, pets are naturally curious. Like little children’s fingers, their digital pads are often just the right (or wrong!) size to probe an electrical outlet. There is an easy fix: just buy a few plastic socket covers. You can pick up a pack of ten for less than a pound each.

Unplug appliances when not in use


However much you might try to protect your electrical wires and your pets from one another, the fact remains that if an appliance is plugged in and switched on, the wire is live. If you’re not using the item, unplug it and switch it off at the wall. That way if your pet does chew on the cable, or investigate the socket, it won’t be harmed.

Use surge protectors


Fitting a Surge Protection Device (SPD) will safeguard your wiring and appliances against voltage surges. SPDs are used to protect your electrical installations (consumer unit, wiring, and appliances) from electrical power surges known as transient overvoltages, or voltage spikes. They can also protect your pets – SPDs fitted with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can help to prevent electrocution if your pet chews on a power cable.

Training and setting boundaries


Teaching your pets to avoid certain areas of your home will help to keep them safe. You can train your dog to keep a distance from loose wires (though cats may not be so easy to convince). Citrus spray is offputting to cats, so as well as giving your home a lovely lemony-fresh smell, it might be useful in dangerous areas.

And to set the ultimate boundary, shut the door!

The great outdoors


It’s easy enough to ‘pet-proof’ any electrics in your garden, taking much the same measures as you would indoors. So that’s the tortoise, the rabbit and the guinea pigs taken care of. But dogs need walking, off-lead where you can, and cats are territorial. How can you ensure the wellbeing of your more wide-ranging pets?

Dogs are comparatively easy to protect. Most of them don’t like to stray too far on a walk. They like to keep you in sight, and if you have any misgivings you can always clip the lead back on. Cats, however, like to roam. Male cats stake out a territory ranging up to about 500 yards from home, while for females it’s about 75 yards. The best thing you can do is alert the neighbours to the fact that you have a cat, and hope they’re sufficiently public-spirited!

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At Excel Electrical, we understand the problems, and pleasures, of pet ownership. Introducing our furry friends and members of the Excel Electrical team, Pebbles and Alfie.

We would be happy to advise on some measures you can take to make your home electrics ‘pet-proof’. To talk to us, call us on 01508 488007 or email enquiries@excelelectrical.co.uk.

Excel Electrical: the power is in your hands.

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