Here's How to Keep Your Pets Safe Around Your Recliner
If there's one thing humans and pets have in common, it's our shared love of naps. But without caution, something as simple as kicking your feet up in your favorite recliner can cause a dangerous situation for pets.
While these stories have happy endings and perhaps seem a little humorous, be warned: Recliners can cause harm to your cats and dogs—so much so that you might want to reconsider getting one if you have pets in the house.
Some examples: A Colorado family donated an old recliner—and, accidentally, their stuck cat—while preparing for a move. Across the pond, a 93-year-old English woman called police after two days of looking for her dog, who authorities found stuck but unharmed under a recliner.
So, while it's awesome to flip the game on and put your feet up, make sure you're doing it safely, says Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, RBT.
How to Keep Pets From Going Under Recliners
There are many reasons our pets find the underside of a recliner the perfect spot to lie down. First, pets feel safe and secure when you're nearby, so snuggling up while you're in your favorite chair is the perfect way to feel your presence. Cats and dogs also enjoy the comfort of quiet, dark, and covered dens. The underneath—or inside—of a recliner offers a secluded spot to snooze.
However, recliners can quickly go from comfortable to dangerous, so it's best to redirect your pet to a safer napping spot. Keep a covered dog bed or cat bed a few feet from your chair to give your furry friend an enclosed napping spot that's still close by. You can also encourage your pet to nap under a coffee table or purchase furniture pieces that double as pet beds to keep them away from the recliner.
Using Recliners Safely Around Pets
If you already own a comfy recliner, you don't need to get rid of it to keep your pets safe—just take extra precautions when using it. Before you sit down, locate your pets, Bergeland says. Make sure they're not near your reclining chair or couch as you sit down, especially if you plan to swing the footrest up. If you're going to rock back and forth in the chair, again make sure your pets aren't nearby or are under close supervision.
When it's time to get up from the chair, check underneath and inside the chair before you leave, Bergeland says. You'll probably need another person to get a good look while you're in the chair, so you may want to avoid reclining if you're home alone. Another option: Get up with the footrest up and leave the room and call your pets to you. Then you can go back in and close up the chair. Or, keep some toys nearby to throw across the room when it's time to get up.
This isn't just for small dogs and cats, too, Bergeland says. Bigger dogs can get their legs and tails caught. However, if you have a small pet, it might be best to move the recliner elsewhere or to not use it for a while.
Bergeland says she isn't aware of any "pet-safe" recliners available. May we suggest a regular chair with an ottoman?