Dogs, no matter what their age, are naturally curious. Sooner or later, something is going to catch their eye that if swallowed, bitten, chewed or scratched could damage your house or be dangerous to them. As is often the case, prevention is better than the cure and it’s important to deal with potential hazards before they become a problem.
Preparing your home for a new dog is similar to baby proofing a house in many ways, as you’ll need to remove dangerous and breakable objects from every room in order to ensure their continued safety and comfort.
Your dog will no doubt want to snoop around every electrical cord, adventure through every closet and peak under every piece of furniture. It is your job to make sure that they are able to satisfy their instincts and happily explore your house, whilst at the same time keeping them away from any tempting hazards that may be in their environment. Before you let a new dog loose in your house, you will need to do some dog-proofing. Take a look in every room of your home, and keep an eye out for these possible dangers to keep your dog out of harm’s way.
As you’ll no doubt be aware, your dog is driven by his highly developed sense of smell! As a result of this, and his attachment to you, he is likely to be drawn towards anything that has your scent. Items of clothing, shoes and even jewellery will quickly become his new favorite toy if you do not place them out of his reach.
Be sure to always keep clothing off the floor, shoes behind a closed door and other small wardrobe items in an area where he cannot reach them. Small ingestible items commonly found in the bedroom, such as hair ties and coins, should be secured in a special drawer or container.
Your kitchen is filled with countless scents, tastes and sights that will light up the senses of any dog. Inquisitive dogs can easily use their head to nudge open cabinets and drawers, which are often loaded with unsafe chemicals and various choking hazards. You can prevent your puppy from accessing cupboards by installing childproof latches, which can be purchased at your local home-improvement store. If you wish to keep your dog out of the kitchen entirely, a good option is a sturdy child gate that is tall enough to prevent them from jumping over it.
Whether or not you decide to allow your dog into the kitchen, there are many food items that you need to keep out of their reach completely. Common foods, drinks and products to keep away from your dog include medication, chocolate, alcoholic drinks, coffee grounds, cigarettes, potpourri oils, garlic and pits from fruits, such as apricots and cherries. Keep trash cans covered with a tight lid to prevent them from coming in to contact with any further hazards.
Bathrooms are possibly one of the most dangerous rooms for a dog in your home. When you think about it, this is hardly surprising, as they are filled with razors, soap, cotton balls and various other chemical products.
Everyone in your home needs to be aware that personal hygiene products are not at all safe for dogs and they need to clean up after themselves in order to prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Place all soaps, shampoos, tissues and other bathroom accessories inside a drawer, cabinet or on a high shelf to keep them out of reach.
If you have a small dog or puppy roaming your home, it is especially crucial that you keep the bathroom door closed and the toilet seat down during all hours of the day. If left unattended, small dogs can find a way to jump into the bowl and potentially drown. Furthermore, you should make sure that any dangling cords from appliances are tucked away under the sink or in a cabinet.
The Garage and Outdoor Areas
When you take a look around your garage, you’ll see a variety of items that are obviously dangerous to your dog. Rodent poison, fertilizers, gasoline, antifreeze and other chemicals should be kept locked away or stored on a high shelf where your dog has no possible way of getting to them. Some of these items have a sweet-smelling odor that attracts dogs, but will be fatal if they ingest even the smallest amount. If you have to let your dog in your garage at all- make sure that they are closely monitored at all times.
Whilst the backyard may seem like the ideal place for dogs, it is often not as safe as you’d like it to be. There are various plants that can be hazardous to pets. Some plants and flowers that are toxic to your dog include bird-of-paradise, poinsettias, foxgloves, lupines and daffodils. They can cause symptoms ranging in severity, such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes death. Take care to remove any toxic plants- and if you suspect your dog has come into contact with them consult with your veterinarian immediately. In addition, be aware of the ingredients of any fertilizer or pest control that you are using- remove anything that could be toxic to your dog, or ensure that it is not possible for him to access these areas.
You should also take the time to check for any breaks in your fence. If there are any holes or small openings which your dog could squeeze through, seal them off to prevent any escape attempts!
The Living Area
Whether it is a family room, living room or even a dining room, these cozy gathering places often have tons of blankets, pillows, cords, magazines and remote controls that could quickly become your dog’s latest chew toy. Be as consistent as possible when it comes to keeping these rooms nice and tidy. Check all of those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn’t reach for small items that they may choke on. In addition, it is wise to secure cords and wires with chew-proof PVC tube. Not only will this distract them from the cords, but it will also prevent them from getting a painful shock if they chew through the wires.
By spending some time and effort to dog-proof your house, you are providing your dog with a safe environment to happily live and play in. Keep it safe by maintaining a vigilant cleaning routine, as this will lower their risk of choking on something left behind. Whilst it can seem like a bit of extra effort, it is always better to be safe than sorry!