In case you couldn't tell, we're all pet-lovers here at Lighting and Locks.com. Our little furry friends are more than just companions, they're part of our families, and we want to do everything possible to keep them happy and safe. Pet-proofing your lighting might not be on the top of pet-owners' to-do lists, but it is an important consideration to keep your four-legged friends, and your lights, safe.
Here's some hand tricks and tips for pet-proofing lighting for new and existing homes.
Pet-Proofing when Buying Lighting for a New Home
Temptations- they aren't just for humans anymore. While we may be able to control our urges to leap off a balcony and swing wildly on a chandelier, screaming at the top of our lungs, our pets don't have the same willpower. If you're going to have a chandelier hanging in a foyer, or above the living room, make sure it's high enough and far enough away that even the bravest cat will think three times before wasting one of his nine lives on a running leap. Lower chandeliers and ones close to ledges or railing are irresistible to kitties, especially if a random breeze through the house will send the fixture swinging ever so slightly. If you have to have railing near a chandelier in your home design, try and pick out railing that's more rounded and steep for pet-proofing, giving Fluffy less of an urge to go walking on it.
When buying undercabinet lighting, always go with LED fixtures for pet-proofing. Cats and small dogs love warmth, and nothing provides warmth better than incandescent undercabinet lighting. Unfortunately, incandescent undercabinet lighting also tends to be too hot to touch the glass cover, and depending on the size of your pet, they may want to try and get as warm as possible by getting right up next to the undercabinet light. This can lead to small burns for your furry friend. LED lighting produces a small amount of heat, but nowhere near enough to burn anything.
Dangling chains and string are also a big temptation for kitties and doggies, no matter how high up in the air they are. Consider using remote controls or wall-mounted controls for pet-proofing your ceiling fans instead of using the pull-strings. If you have to use the pull strings, be sure to put in CFL or LED lights so your pet won't run the risk of getting burned.
Also, keep all shelves and book cases out of jumping distance from a ceiling fan. A cat might not jump on the fan when it's on, but as soon as it spins down, those blades will look like walking planks to kitty if he has a good enough jumping point.
Use flush mount fixtures instead of semi-flush mount, as even just a little space peeking out can sometimes cause a cat to do his best Tarzan impersonation.
Pet-Proofing Lighting in Existing Homes
Speaking of strings and chains, cords are also a favorite snack of cats and dogs everywhere. In fact, I found two little teeth marks on my laptop cord just last night! Bundle cords together whenever possible for pet-proofing, especially behind the entertainment center. The thicker the wrap of cords, the less likely Spot will want to chew on them instead of his chew-toy. You can buy Velcro cord wrappers just about anywhere, or you can even use twist ties.
Tuck power cords behind objects whenever possible for pet-proofing so they're out of site or not dangling. For any lamp (or other) cords that must be exposed, running lemon juice for cats and bitter apple flavoring for dogs along the cord is a great deterrent. It might illicit a nibble, but that one nibble will be enough for your pet and they will find something else to chew one. Use only just enough for a bitter flavor, though. And whatever you do, NEVER use onions or onion juice. These are very bad for your furry friends!
Switch out any undercabinet lighting that has incandescent bulbs with ones with LED bulbs for pet-proofing. Also, do the same for any fixture a cat might be tempted to jump in, such as a large pendant bowl fixture or semi-flush. Remember, a cat never asks "Would I jump in it?", he always asks "CAN I jump in it?" and anything from a "maybe" to a "yes" guarantees there will be jumping involved.
Table Lamps can be held down with double-sided tape, silicone on non-wood surfaces, or 3M removable adhesive for pet-proofing. Granted, none of the above are going to save your lamp from a full-scale run and jump, but they will save it from the occasional tail-wag or kitty-rubbing. Sadly, there's not much you can do for pet-proofing a floor lamp short of anchoring it to the floor. Just try and keep it off to the side and make sure it has a cloth shade and CFL or incandescent bulb so if it does get knocked over (scratch that, WHEN it gets knocked over), your pet will be safe from broken glass or burns. Though, maybe not from your wrath when you get home.
We all love our pets and only want the best for them. The main rule of thumb in pet-proofing is asking yourself "are they going to be curious about this?" and always answer with the word "yes."
Stay tuned for more lighting tips from the lighting experts at Lighting and Locks, as well as gratuitous pictures of famous internet pets! And for the sake of everyone's lawyers, only Dutch, the Lighting Cat (the one asleep on the keyboard), endorses Lighting and Locks. Colonel Meow, Grumpy Cat, and Lil' Bub do not endorse and are not affiliated with Lighting and Locks. We just like their pictures.