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Pets and Electric Safety

Kittens and puppies are likely to chew anything they can get in their mouth. Birds, such as parrots, can use their beaks to rip electrical wires and components and create a danger to themselves and others. Bunnies, hamsters, and other small pets enjoy chewing on things such as wires without realizing the danger.

Any animal that has suffered electrical shock must be rushed to the veterinarian immediately. Treatment will be most effective if begun as soon as possible after the shock. 
Before you approach any animal which you know or suspect is suffering from electrical shock, take precautions to ensure that there is no danger to yourself from live wires or electric fires.


 Around the House

  • Make sure all loose electrical cords are tucked out of sight behind appliances.
  • Pet-proof cords are available in some stores. Otherwise, access can be blocked by wrapping flexible safety cable (from hardware or computer stores) around them or encase them in PVC.
  • Cords can be coated with a bitter substance available at pet stores to discourage chewing.
  • Unplug all accessible electrical cords if you have to leave a young pet unsupervised.
  • Check any wiring frequently for fraying and replace immediately.
  • Plugs should be fully plugged into a socket as a partially exposed prong can be dangerous to a curious paw or nose.
  • Pets should not be allowed to nap behind electrical appliances such as computers, dryers, etc.
  • Lamps with exposed bulbs and freestanding lamps can reach very high temperatures, especially halogens, and could easily start a fire if knocked over by a playful pet.
  • Aquariums should have drip loops on all electrical cords coming from the tank. Water running down the cord will then fall to the floor instead of into the electric outlet.
  • Fit correct fuses and circuit breakers and allow air space around appliances to prevent overheating.
  • Keep appliances near sinks, bathtubs, and pools, a safe distance away from the water source. Playful pets can knock radios, curling irons and other items into the water, creating a dangerous situation.
  • Always keep aroma-therapy candles away from places where curious pets can reach.
  • Keep halogen torchiere lamps away from play areas for pets and children. Some of these bulbs can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees. Knocked over by a playful pet, they could easily cause a fire.


  • If you know an electric storm is on the way, bring all pets indoors. Lightning, wind and rain can bring down power lines, which are a serious hazard, as is the risk of being struck by lightning.
  • If a pet has an outdoor fenced area, be careful of any underground electrical or cable line running through that area. Make sure they are buried at appropriate depths, especially if you have a dog who likes to dig.

Holiday Lighting

  • Decorative holiday lights are another attraction for pets to chew on.
  • Both indoor and outdoor lights should be carefully examined to ensure safety for your household pets.
  • Electrical shock may occur from defective cords as well as from pets chewing on cords.
  • Check cords for any signs of bite marks, loose or frayed wires, proximity to the tree's water supply or evidence of short circuits.
  • Use grounded "3-prong" extension cords and strictly follow manufacturer's guidelines for light usage.


Last Updated 07/07/2015 12:12 PM