Pet Tips: Staying Safe with Our Pets as We Get Older
Fearrington Cares and Chatham Animal Rescue and Education (CARE)

We all know how much companionship and comfort our pets give to us, particularly in this time of Covid-19. But as we age, our pets can also create hazards for trips and falls. A few simple precautions will help keep both owner and pet safer and more secure:

1. Exercise is enjoyable for both owner and pet. However, retractable leashes can be dangerous. An excited dog can turn a retractable leash into a lasso that winds around the legs of owner or bystander and topples one or both of them. A dog can take off and be in the middle of the road in the blink of an eye. And the sudden jerk when the lead runs out can injure the dog or owner. It’s best to opt for a 6-foot restraint for those expeditions outside. Remember that Fearrington Village covenants require both dogs and cats to be on a leash and under supervision unless they are confined to the owner's premises.

2. Pets require “stuff,” and their stuff can get in the way. Be sure that larger pieces of equipment (beds, scratching posts, toy baskets, etc.) are completely removed from traffic patterns. Put food bowls in an out-of-the-way corner or even under a table. Make picking up the day’s toys an established part of your bedtime routine.

3. Dogs and cats can both have “accidents” in the house. Turn on lights and check for slippery spots before stepping onto tile or wood floors. Our covenants also require that any droppings by a pet being walked off a resident's lot should be promptly removed by the pet owner.

4. Pets have an uncanny ability to materialize seemingly out of nowhere, especially at feeding time. Dogs with collar tags will usually warn of their approach. A breakaway collar with a bell for your cat can serve the same purpose. Make it a point to move mindfully, particularly in the kitchen, to avoid being surprised by your pet appearing suddenly underfoot.

5. Pets require us to do some bending and stooping, and heavy litter or food bags can strain backs and hips. Consider adjusting the weight of the supplies you purchase.

We hope these few ounces of prevention help you and your furry friends enjoy many happy and healthy years together. CARE is a non-profit animal welfare organization that promotes responsible pet ownership by educating the community, providing targeted spay-neuter programs, and fostering homeless dogs and cats until they are placed in loving, permanent homes. Please visit us at