How to Keep Your Home Safe for Dogs

How to Keep Your Home Safe for Dogs

Until we got Lucy the Puggle Dog, I really had no idea that dogs are like babies.  You have to consider that they don’t know better and take them into account by dog-proofing your home and yard.  You totally have to start paying attention to little things you would have never thought twice about, like potentially poisonous plants out in the flower beds to grabbing fallen grapes and chocolate off of the floor lightening quick.

Doggy-proofing your house isn’t rocket science, but if your like us and just getting a dog for the first time in your life, here are some things to remember:

  1. Place cleaners, chemicals, laundry supplies, etc. in cupboards or latched cabinets.  Dogs don’t really understand Mr. Yuck stickers.  They interpret the world through their mouth and nose.  So, if it smells like lemons, odds are they will taste it.
  2. Don’t leave plates and food unattended.  Dogs can be trained, for sure, to leave food alone, but while you are doing it, you don’t want to leave packaged items or open plates within their reach.  Packaging on items can cause dogs a lot a harm {because they will eat it to get to the food} and not all human food is suitable {or even safe} for pets.
  3. Look at wires to lamps, computers, t.v.’s, etc.  As they tromp through the house, they will not consider the consequences of pulling your lamps and electronics off the shelves.
  4. Have them wear their collar and tag, even when they are inside.  If someone {say a neighbor kid?} lets your dog out accidentally, you will want them to be easily identified and returned.
  5. Never feed your dogs the following people food:  xylitol {a sweetener}, nutmeg, chocolate, onions, garlic, coffee, raw fish, apple seeds, apricot/cherry/avocado/plum/persimmon/peach stones, moldy foods, macadamia nuts {most nuts, actually}, bones from chicken or fish, grapes/raisins, alcohol, hops, or bread dough.  These items are toxic to dogs, so make sure not to leave them where a dog can get to them.
  6. Keep houseplants out of reach.  Several houseplants are toxic to dogs.  Even if they aren’t, you probably aren’t wild about having to clean up a spilled pot from a curious puppy.
  7. If you have a puppy, be religious about having kids pick up their small toys.  Dogs chew.  Small toys lead to choking or blocked up dogs.
  8. Keep trash cans in a closed closet or pantry, or get one with a lid that latches.
  9. Keep the toilet bowl lid closed to deter dogs from drinking potentially chemically treated water.

Do you have any more tips you’ve learned in doggy-proofing your house?


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  1. Robin says

    Learned a great lesson from an owner of an expensive dog. Don’t put the dogs name on the collar tag. If you put the name on the tag and someone finds the dog and wants to keep it, they already know the dog’s name. Put “needs medication” and your phone number on the tag and you will usually get a call right away.

  2. Kristina says

    Good list. The only thing I would change on your list is re: the chicken bones. Raw bones, even chicken, can be good for dogs but any cooked bone (chicken, beef, pork, etc.) should absolutely avoided due to the splintering from the heat. We regularly feed our two raw chicken (bones and all) and they love it. Though we do remove that one sharp leg bone beforehand. We also feed them sections of raw bones from our 1/4 steer we buy from a local farmer.

  3. Dale says

    I have had to dog proof the compost pile as the terrible twosome will sneak whatever they can when they are supposed to be barking at the neighbor kids. Also my border collie “Baby” will eat tomatoes off the plant along with snow peas, yellow plums and grapes. She just walks right up to the plant and starts munching. She also loves carrots, zucchini. baby potatoes, pac choy. celery and cucumbers. about the only thing she wont eat is lettuce. Good thing I have a fence around the garden.

  4. Lisa says

    I don’t know that the avocado thing is true. I heard about after I had given my dog avocado. My research only lead to the pit as a choking hazard, which would be ridiculous anyway. My beagle mix has eaten avocado with no ill effect.

  5. Kirk F says

    Great List!
    Keep Gorilla Glue away from pets as well! It foams into a cast of the inside of their stomach, which has to be surgically removed! Ugh!
    Also, my experience has been not to give chicken bones of any sort – cooked or not. Might can get away with it for awhile, but the risk is there for stomach or intestinal damage or blockage. I don’t give any of my dogs bones of any kind – have worked on perforations, blockages, peritonitis, etc. from all kinds of bones, toys, and various other objects!

    Thanks Mavis!
    KF, D.V.M.

  6. JoAnn says

    Add to #5 corn on the cob. I break my corn cobs in half to fit in the boiling pot better. One was dropped and my 13 month old Golden grabbed it before we could, and swallowed it whole! We immediately took her to the emergency vet as I know how vile these things can get if the object enters the intestines. Inducing vomiting was not an option as it could have become lodged back up in her throat and caused choking. We are now recouping from stomach surgery…a very expensive one. Good article!

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