This article is contributed by guest writer, Matt L. (Editor at VIVOFISH).
How To Keep Pet Fish Safe When Introducing New Pets To The Home
I am notorious for seeing a pair of eyes, a tail, a fin or a paw and finding myself wanting to carve out a space for whatever little creature has caught my heart.
I have always had my fish tanks and I would never introduce a new family member without making sure that my other family members are safe and secure, first.
So before you walk away from that shelter or try to talk yourself out of another little friend, let me give you some tips to help keep everyone safe.
Tips to Keep Fish Safe from Cats
Cats can be mischievous creatures, and can render even the most elaborate cat-proofing setup null and void. However, since they’re so smart, it is possible to train them to leave your fish alone. Here are a few ideas to keep Kitty away from your fish.
1. Crinkly Aluminum
I don’t know if it’s the sound or the texture, but aluminum foil seems to ward off curious cats. I would recommend surrounding the area around your fish tank with crinkled up foil.
Usually, the bubbles and lights of a fish tank will attract their attention. If your tank resides on a shelf or table, this is an especially good deterrent. Once the cat leaps up to investigate, the crunching of the foil will startle them.
This is a safe way to teach Sylvester to leave your fish alone. Just make sure not to have any priceless vases around. Cats do tend to jump when startled!
2. Double-Sided Tape
I don’t recommend using glue traps to keep cats away. Not unless you want a hairless cat. Instead, use double sided tape and some cardboard for easy clean up. Lay the tape on top of the cardboard around the fish tank. You want to be sure to lay it in a spot where your cat is most likely to sit or hop up.
When the cat tries to get close to the tank, the tape will get stuck to their paws. Cats have sensitive paws since cats have a large number of nerve receptors in their paws.
3. Secure Lid
If you’ve owned a cat, you know how much of a Houdini they can be. The moment they sense weakness they will go for the opening.
That’s why you will want to have a secure lid for your aquarium that will stop any prying paws from going fishing. You don’t want to cheap out on a flimsy lid. Take the time to test the lid for any signs of weakness or openings.
4. Refrain from Physical Punishment
Cats will avoid conditions that make them uncomfortable but you shouldn’t resort to yelling or physically punishing them. Instead of learning not to repeat behavior, your cat will learn to fear you and will simply find other means to avoid you.
Trust me, you don’t want to have to spend your time looking for a missing cat that refuses to come home. While there are great resources to help locate your missing pet these days, it is best to avoid this and focus on making the area around the tank as uncomfortable as humanely possible.
Tips to Keep Fish Safe from Dogs
Now for man’s best friend, things are a bit different. Unlike cats that like to climb, dogs tend to like the ground more. This means your dog is not likely to hunt for your fish.
The real problem is their clumsiness. Here’s a few tips that I’ve learned about keeping my dogs and fish under one roof.
1. Clear the Path
The biggest threat to your tank is going to be Rover’s clumsy, fun-loving behavior. If you’re like me and enjoy having large dogs barreling through the house, you will want to be sure that your tank is well out of your dog’s path.
When I introduce a dog to my home, I usually take half an hour to watch them move around. I like to look for area that might prove to be problematic. Most importantly, I check for how my dog dashes through a room. This could be right before going for a walk, coming home or just preparing to play.
If the dog goes too close to my tank, I know I need to move it – sooner rather than later.
2. Keep the Tank Out of Reach
While dogs are not much for climbing, if your tank is set at a height that they can reach, they might be drawn to the water. Dogs tend to like fresh and cool water, which is also why they can be found drinking from the toilet.
You’ll want to move your tank to an area where your dog can’t climb or stretch to stick their snout into the water.
How to Enjoy Them All Together
A home should be just that: a home. It should not be a battle ground of yelling or screaming. It is perfectly possible to live together with all of your pets in peace if you practice these ideas.
1. Keep Their Own Space
Much like children, it can help to give everyone their own space. Pick a spot in your house for each animal to be their own.
You could secure a room for your fish tanks that is unwelcoming for your cat and out of the way of your dog.
I would recommend keeping your fish tank in a separate room that you could shut when you’re not home to supervise. You could also invest in a kennel for your dog or a cat patio for your cat to help keep your animals separate but safe.
Remember, a lost animal is not a stress you want.
2. Proper Training
Again, since I cannot stress this enough, proper training will keep your house in order.
By training your animals you will enforce the behavior you want and keep away the behavior that is problematic.
If you are unsure of how to go about training, I would recommend looking for a professional trainer to help. Just remember that positive reinforcement and lots of practice usually makes perfect!
Boredom negatively affects children, but did you know it can also be a source of problems in your pets? When animals are bored, their naughtier sides come out and you will find yourself cleaning up the mess.
Invest in toys and other enrichment items to keep your pets occupied. If your cat is too busy pawing at its new toy to free treats or your dog is obsessed with its new tug rope, your fish tank won’t seem as appealing.