We all know to baby proof a house to keep a baby safe, but what about keeping your dog or puppy safe? Dogs don’t always know what is safe for them to eat, chew on, or lay on, so it’s up to you to keep them safe.
Puppies in particular tend to get into everything. Until you have your puppy trained, you will need to puppy proof your house. This goes for some older dogs too. For example, Georgia is food obsessed. If it looks like food or resembles food, she will try to eat it. I never had this problem with Belle, but I am learning what not to leave sitting around when Georgia is in the house.
How to dog proof your house
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Keep all chemicals, cleaners, and medications far from where pets can reach them.
Some things smell like food – take antifreeze, for example, a common item that may be stored in your garage is toxic to dogs. Antifreeze has a sweet flavor (I’ll take the experts word on that, I’ve never tasted it), and dogs and cats (as well as other animals) will eat it. If your dog or cat can figure out how to open cabinet doors, then you’ll even need to go so far as to put a child-latch on the doors. If your dog tends to drink out of the toilet – keep it shut so that he doesn’t drink in the toilet bowl cleaner and other less-desirable things too (Yuck!).
Know which foods that are OK for humans but are bad for dogs.
For example, did you know that onions and garlic are bad for dogs to eat? Better yet, don’t give your dog human food. Scraps from the table may seem like a treat, but often contribute to dogs becoming overweight and may upset their stomachs. And chocolate, yes wonderful, yummy chocolate, is not good for dogs. Be safe and feed them food made just for dogs. See a list of foods that are bad for dogs.
Keep your trash somewhere your dog can’t get into it.
Just because the trash is in a bag or can doesn’t mean your dog can’t get into it. You put lots of things in your trash – broken glass, tops of metal food cans, spoiled food, medications and more. If your dog can smell it, odds are he’ll get into it, causing a huge mess for you and potentially harming him.
Even if it isn’t food, but made of a natural material, you might want to keep it out of your dog’s reach.
Who would have thought that a dog would chew on leather gloves? I sure didn’t. But I walked in one day to find Georgia happily chewing on one of my gardening gloves. If I hadn’t caught it in time, I hate to think what that would have done to her stomach.
Move houseplants out of the reach of your dog.
Some houseplants are toxic when ingested by a dog. Learning which ones are safe and which aren’t is a step in the right direction, but just to be safe, keep houseplants out of reach of those dogs that chew on anything. I love plants and have a lot in our house. We haven’t had a problem with either dog getting in to the plants, but most of the plants are located on high shelves or furniture and the dogs can’t reach them.
Keep small items off the floor.
Dogs can be curious and might pick up and chew things that they shouldn’t. Buttons, bottle caps, Lego’s (yes, the nephews put them everywhere!), and other small items might get swallowed if they are on the floor where your dog can reach them. I walked in one day to find Belle throwing around and chewing on the plastic cap of a soda bottle. I quickly told her to “leave it”and took it away from her. I may have deprived her of a toy she was enjoying, but I would rather have her be disappointed than choke on it!
If you have stairs, keep the access door closed or put up a dog gate.
Many dogs like to play and when they are playing, they may not always look where they are going. My first dog, Esmie, liked to chase our two cats. Those cats were smart, and they would get her chasing them, lead her to the stairs, and the abruptly turn a sharp corner. The floor was hardwood and Esmie would go sliding down the stairs. We abruptly put an end to that trick by installing a dog gate. Just like a baby gate, the dog gate keeps your dog away from places you don’t want him in and keeps him safe. Be sure the dog gate you select is sturdy and easy-to-install. Some of the less-sturdy ones can easily be pushed over by a strong, persistent dog.
These are just a few of the ways you can help dog proof your home. Keeping your dog safe and healthy is important to all pet owners. Keep an eye out for potential dangers in your home and remove them from your dog’s reach.
Crate train your dog
In my opinion, the best way to keep your pet safe is to keep them in a crate if you aren’t around. We crate our dogs at night, when we leave the house, and during storms for their safety. I don’t have to worry about them getting hurt or into trouble when I am sleeping or away from the house. I know where they are and what they have access to. This may be especially useful when it comes to a puppy.
When I got my first puppy (male lab), I thought I did a pretty decent job at puppy proofing the house; I was wrong. One day I come home from work and my puppy ripped the bed sheets so badly, I had to go get a new one.