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Keeping Your House Dog Proof
So you decided to get a dog or puppy! Lucky you. You’re in for a cool journey with your new best friend in the many happy years ahead.
However, if you’ve owned dogs before, you know that they can be all kinds of trouble. All dog owners know the feeling of coming home only to find their beloved pet has gotten into something they weren’t supposed to.
Whether it’s raiding the garbage can or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes, dogs have a knack for getting into trouble.
That’s why it’s important to dog-proof your home, not just to keep your home and belongings in one piece, but primarily to keep your dog safe.
By taking these simple precautions, you can help ensure that your dog – and your home – stay safe and healthy.
Dog Proofing – The Start
This is going to sound strange, but the first thing you do when you’re starting to dog-proof your home is to get on your hands and knees and crawl around the house.
This puts you at your dog’s eye level and allows you to see what your dog can get at. Look for cables, wires, and anything that is within easy reach and remove the potential dangers.
Of course, at times, having a 100% dog-proof home isn’t possible. That’s when you can think about puppy pens, gates, or blocking off certain areas that your pooch isn’t allowed in unsupervised.
For example, allowing your pooch access to your home office with or den with precious first edition books might have disastrous consequences!
Here are some ways you can keep the various areas in your home safe from your dog’s curious noses and sharp teeth.
- Remove all items from the counters and keep your counters clear of food and wipe down the area after each meal. Dogs will search the counters for crumbs and follow their noses for any goodies.
- Keep any drugs and supplements, whether yours or theirs, off the counters.
- To keep your dog from swallowing potentially harmful items, keep food in closed cupboards, drawers, or the pantry. Dogs get poisoned by xylitol, chocolate, grapes, onions, and other human foods, which can have disastrous consequences.
- Place your waste bin in a secure location, such as under the sink. To keep your dog from knocking over the trash can, use one with a sturdy top and a weight at the bottom.
- Any chip or food bag should be cut up so that both sides can lay flat and pose no suffocation threat. Suffocation in pets occurs far too frequently and can easily be avoided.
- Food bags should be stored high in cupboards or transferred to other containers. Don’t leave your dog’s bulk bag of kibble or treats out where they can get it easily.
- Keep your cleaning supplies and dish detergents out of reach of your dog, even if the container is properly sealed. A child-proof cap will not withstand a dog’s chewing, so keep these items out of reach.
The Living Room and Bedrooms
- Any electrical or cable cords should be hidden and kept way out of reach.
- Dogs love to chew, and a voracious chewer can go through the plastic coating on a wire or cable in seconds, and you don’t want you or your dog to be anywhere near exposed wiring!
- Bundle and cover these cords and cables so that they can’t be eaten. When you’re not using your phone or laptop, put the chargers away. If your dog gets into them, they can cause electric shocks, burns, and respiratory distress.
- Watch out for your indoor plants. Many common houseplants, such as Sago Palms, Cyclamen, and Autumn Crocus, are toxic to dogs.
- Place candles and essential oil diffusers away from your pooch’s reach. You don’t want your dog eating aromatic oils or knocking over a lit candle and starting a fire. Make sure the aroma isn’t hazardous or annoying to your dog if you use essential oils regularly.
- Put your coats and bags away or hang them up. Dogs that rummage through coat pockets might find harmful substances such as nicotine products, medication, or xylitol in sugar-free gum.
- Use the medicine cabinet to store all your meds in tightly-closed pharmaceutical bottles. Dogs are susceptible to human drugs, which can be lethal.
- Take your medications quickly and while standing over something like a sink. If you accidentally drop a pill, your dog might scoop it up and ingest it in a flash.
- If your bathroom has a trash can, use one with a lid that your dog cannot break into. Skincare products and other chemicals can be potentially toxic when ingested.
- Shut the lid of your toilet bowl. While dogs seem to love drinking out of a bowl, what you really want to prevent is some kind of drowning accident.
- Dogs love playing with toilet paper and you really don’t want to come home and find your bathroom TP-ed. If possible, simply shut the door to the bathroom. That’s just one room your dog doesn’t really need to be in!
The Garage, Storeroom, or Laundry Room
- Keep cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, and dryer sheets out of your dog’s reach, and store them on a high shelf.
- Keep dangerous items in sealed containers or cabinets and make it impossible for your dog to get into. Dogs explore the world with their mouths and are at risk from antifreeze, rat poison, slug baits, polyurethane glues, and deicers. When possible, look for “pet-safe” items.
- Dogs enjoy going laundry diving! If socks, underwear, washcloths, and other small laundry items are eaten, they might cause intestinal blockage and other health problems. To keep curious noses away from your laundry, keep it in a basket with a tightly sealed lid.
- Make sure your yard is escape-proof, with latches on gates and no holes for a dog to dig through.
- Depending on the dog you have, you might have to check whether the fence can be jumped. Athletic breeds like the Belgian Malinois, Husky, or Australian Shepherd have been known to jump a six-foot fence easily.
- Do not let your dog unattended in the yard. Some dogs are escape artists and enthusiastic diggers and will find a way out if left unattended for long periods.
- Small dogs are also at risk of attacks by other larger animals.
- If you have a pool, make sure that there is an easy way for your dog to exit the pool, and knows how to do so. If that isn’t possible, fence it off and under no circumstances, leave your dog or puppy near a pool that they cannot exit from easily.
- While the puppy is small and may slip between the bars of standard pool fencing, it may be necessary to add temporary wire fencing.
- Check out the plants that you have in your garden and make sure that there are none that are toxic to dogs.
- Look for anything that your dog might be able to dig out and chew like irrigating tubing.
In addition to keeping your home safe, you’ll want to keep your car dog-proof as well. Whether you’re going on a cross-country road trip or a quick visit to the store, here are some tips to keep your pooch safe.
- Transporting your puppy in a crate secured in your car is the safest option. Driving with a dog on your lap can be both distracting and dangerous.
- Use a doggy harness to keep your dog belted up and safe. Even a minor fender bender can have your dog flying forward and getting seriously hurt.
- Make sure you consider the temperatures. You cannot leave dogs in a car in the hotter months, as the car is a giant metal oven that can quickly rise to dangerous temperatures in minutes.
- It is the cutest thing in the world, but a puppy or dog with its head out of the car can be at risk from flying objects or rubble from passing vehicles. You’ll also have to be 100% certain that your dog will not jump from a moving vehicle.
- Car sickness is common with dogs until they become accustomed to it, so be prepared and vigilant. Short, brief journeys might help your dog develop their “car legs.”
Final Thoughts On Dog Proofing Your Home
If you’ve ever had a rambunctious puppy who liked to chew on your favorite shoes or a senior dog who liked to sneak food off the counter, you know that not dog-proofing your home can lead to some messy (and costly) consequences.
But even if your dog is well trained and doesn’t typically get into trouble, there are still plenty of hazards around your home that could harm your furry friend.
From electrical cords to toxic plants, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers and take steps to keep your dog safe.
So, whether you’re a new dog parent or an old pro at this game, remember these tips to help keep your home safe and pup-proof.
And always be alert for the sneaky ways that dogs can get into trouble – they are experts at finding mischief!
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