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Dog Proof Your Home

By Wendy Rose Gould
December 6, 2018 • 5 min. read
Dogs with feathers everywhere

Whether you’ve just adopted a new canine or you’ve had your pup for a while now, it’s always smart to take the time to “dog-proof” your home. This is the same concept as preparing your space for a baby, only instead you’re examining every square inch of your abode to ensure that it’s 100% safe for your favorite fur buddy. While doing so may sound overwhelming, it’s a relatively straightforward process. Follow these steps and you’ll have a pooch-approved home in no time.

Create a Designated Dog Area

Both you and your dog will appreciate having an area they can call their own. Having a special spot designated for your dog’s bowl, bed, and toys will make your dog feel at home and give you peace of mind too. A place near a doggy door, garage or mudroom are good options and depending on the size and activity level of your dog, a crate might be a worthwhile investment as well. Dogs have many instinctive behaviors and their need for a den dates back centuries. So, it stands to reason that if you build it, they will come with tails wagging.

Invest in a Heavy Duty, Lidded Trashcan

Any dog owner knows what a delicious temptation the trashcan can be. In a pooch’s mind, it’s full of perfectly good food scraps and curious smells to dig through and figure out. In reality, the trash is actually full of potential hazards, like small bones or poisonous foods and discards. Not to mention, nobody wants to come home to all their trash strewn about. A robust, lidded trash can will save you a lot of frustration. It’s also smart to discard any temptations in this trash can while keeping paper and “non-smelly” trash in other cans throughout your home. (We’re sure your mom would tell you this is a good rule of thumb, in general.)

Protect Furniture

Something you can do prior to bringing home your pup is to start prepping your furnishings. Everything from your sofa to your floors can be protected to survive your new canine companion. Velvet and leather are ideal for preventing scratching and these materials will hold up against wear and tear and lighter colored fabrics and duvets tend to show less dog hair than darker patterns. And if you’re one of those people who leaves the toilet seat up, you’ll want to break that habit – ASAP!

Screen for Poisonous Plants

Fresh flower bouquets and living indoor plants are commonly overlooked hazards. After all, if it’s natural it should be fair game, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always true. Before bringing any plants into your home, double-check to see if they’re toxic to your dog. The Humane Society has created a PDF list of some of the more common household plants that are toxic to pets, and you can also search for specific plants via the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). And here are our top five toxic household plants that are no-no’s for pet parents.

Stock Up On Cleaning Products

It’s good to have a variety of cleaning products on standby (but out of reach, remember!) so you’re ready if and when an accident happens or if you have a last-minute guest stop by. Remove any bodily fluids quickly so they won’t soak in and smell or stain your upholstery or carpet. Then treat the affected area with a stain remover. Lint rollers are a useful tool to have on hand to pick up dog hair on your clothing or seating areas. Of course, you’ll want to vacuum and/or sweep regularly to keep all that pesky dog hair off your floor and out of your nose. If you’re potty training your pet, it’s worth considering pee pads to help the process along.

Keep Toxic Items Out of Reach

On that note, it’s important to keep any potentially toxic item out of reach from Spot. Start by keeping medicine, cleaning supplies, and makeup tucked away. If you have a really curious and determined pup, keep questionable or poisonous supplies in drawers and cabinets that are either locked or high. Second, familiarize yourself with foods that are harmful to your pet, such as xylitol, chocolate, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, coffee grounds, and alcohol. These can be kept in the house, but should be monitored and kept out of paw’s reach.

Conceal Your Electrical Cords

It’s no secret that dogs love to chew on things (that old homework excuse is proof of that). This is mildly infuriating for any owner, but it can actually be a serious hazard — especially when it comes to electric cords. Keep these concealed as best as you can, and when a cord must be exposed then secure it with a chew-proof protector, like this product from Amazon.

toxic foods for dogsRemove All Possible Choking Hazards

Dogs are active and curious creatures and you don’t want them to accidentally get into a dangerous predicament. Chewing is inevitable so start putting any plants, sharp objects, laundry detergents, children’s toys, shoes and other valuable or toxic items at least a foot above the height of your dog so they won’t be tempted to turn your treasures into toys. Or, even worse, to find themselves in a toxic situation. Install childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets and make sure all trash cans have secure lids or are in a protected area. And put all medicines in a place well protected and out of reach.

Make sure than any potential choking hazards are inaccessible. These include small objects, toy parts, bones that splinter, animal gristle or fat, fruit or avocado pits, bread, and hard candies. Anything that can be accidentally swallowed and not properly digested ought to be picked up swiftly. Make sure your pooch has something safe to play with and chew on instead, such as a durable chew toy or Kong full of natural peanut butter.

Secure Your Backyard

If you have a yard, it is a wonderful bonus for your pet but don’t forget to prepare it before your pup comes home!

  • Put up a gated fence that is high enough for your dog and ensure there are no holes or ways for your dog to escape.
  • Place a barrier around your garden and flowerbeds to keep paws out.
  • Shade is very important for a healthy pup for double-check there is a sun-free area or a dog house so your dogs doesn’t overheat or suffer a heat stroke.
  • Citronella candles can help keep bugs away but you’ll want to be sure to treat your pet with preventative heart worm, flea and tick medications also.

Make sure there aren’t any choking hazards left out in the yard, uproot any toxic plants, and ensure that any access to a pool is carefully monitored.

Keep a High-Tech Eye On Fido

Pet cams are an easy and affordable way to watch over your beloved dog while you’re away. This might be an especially nice idea when they’re young or learning to live in their new home and possibly experiencing separation anxiety. A dog cam is a great way to learn your dog’s sleeping habits and find out if they are getting into trouble. In addition to the pet cam, all you need is an internet connection and a smartphone.

In the end, remember that all these efforts are completely worth the time and cost investment. Not only will your sanity be improved, but your pup’s health and happiness will be top tier, too. You’ll be happy you pup-proofed!

Unexpected accident or illness? That’s what we’re here for! Many pet parents rely on pet health insurance to pay up to 90% of their vet bills, so they can focus on what really matters: getting great health care for their pet. Find out more by getting a free quote.

wendy gould
By Wendy Rose Gould

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been in journalism for over a decade, and has been freelancing almost that entire time. In addition to lifestyle reporting, she also works with brands to create marketing content for their websites and blogs.

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