If you’ve got children you will know that baby-proofing your home is a necessary endeavour in order to prevent accidents, but as a dog owner, did you know that dog-proofing your home is just as important?
From eating small objects to napping in potentially hazardous places, pups just seem to have a nose for trouble. Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take to stop your fur family from coming unstuck.
Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen has the potential to be the most hazardous. Dogs are known to eat whatever they can get their paws on and sometimes their snack of choice might not be suitable. Most people know that chocolate, coffee and alcohol are all very harmful to dogs but there are other, seemingly innocuous foods that could cause your pet problems too. Foods such as grapes and raisins, onions and chives, macadamia nuts and raw salmon can all be extremely toxic to dogs and should be kept well out of reach.
A good way to keep your dog safe is to invest in some child-proof latches for your lower level cupboards and drawers. Your dog will try to find a way to explore the contents of these cupboards (the smells emanating from them are very enticing) and since cleaning products are often kept under the sink, it is a good idea to make this a no go area for your dog, too.
For total peace of mind, you could consider using a stair gate to stop your dog from venturing into your kitchen altogether. Stair gates are also a good idea for those with puppies and elderly dogs to prevent them from taking a tumble down your stairs.
It might sound obvious but keeping your medicines and toiletries out of reach is essential to avoid serious harm coming to your dog in your bathroom. Ingested cotton buds, shampoo or even dental floss will see you making an emergency trip to your vet, and if medicines are consumed, the consequences could be even more severe. Keep items up on shelves and ensure cabinets are secured with child-proof latches. Remember to keep the toilet seat down to prevent your dog from drinking from the bowl – not only is this unpleasant, it could be dangerous, especially if chemicals from the last clean are still present. Another source of water that should be considered is this bath. Remember to pull the plug after your bath and before you leave the bathroom to prevent an excitable dog from jumping in and getting into difficulties. Finally, choose a bathroom bin that cannot be opened by your dog. Not only will you keep mess to a minimum, you’ll also prevent your pup from eating something they shouldn’t.
Dangers here might not be so immediately obvious but small objects such as jewellery, ornaments or your loose change are all a temptation. Tidy your bedside table and put those smaller items away in drawers or containers. Your dog may also be tempted to make your slippers or pillows his new favourite chew toy. Keep items you don’t want chewed out of reach or even consider making your bedroom a dog-free zone. The laundry bin houses a whole host of chewable treats but keep it closed to prevent stray socks being chewed or even swallowed if the opportunity presents itself. Phone chargers and bedside lamp cables may be considered fair game too, so think about tucking them out of reach or protecting them with a PVC tube.
Families tend to spend most of their time together in the living room and consequently there are often items such as phones, tablets and various chargers lying about which may, inadvertently, become chew toys. If you’ve got little ones, you’ll also be throwing the likes of building blocks and puzzle pieces into the mix, all of which could be a choking hazard for an inquisitive dog. Keep the room as tidy as possible and put your valuable items away or out of reach of your pet to avoid the inevitable.
Wooden floors are practical in such spaces, especially with dogs, but you may want to consider a non-slip rug to prevent your pet from sliding or taking a tumble when they are excitedly scampering about. Speaking of excited scampering; keep hot drinks somewhere safe to prevent injury to your dog or damage to your carpet or soft furnishings. Should an accident happen, it’s reassuring to have the right insurance in place. Find out more about our home insurance.
Although there’s nothing nicer than a bunch of fresh flowers on your windowsill, be smart about the houseplants or cut flowers you bring home. Delphiniums, hyacinths, daffodils and amaryllis are all poisonous to your dog, as are many other floral favourites. Put your pup first and consider some safer options instead.
Lastly, if your home has a fireplace, install a fireguard to protect your pet when the fire is lit and remember to keep all fire starting equipment safely out of reach.
The garden shed or garage is full of potential dangers for your dog. From insecticide and rat poison to antifreeze and spare lawn mower blades, there is plenty to worry about. It is essential to keep items like this on shelves out of reach or in lockable containers as well as taking steps to ensure items such as bikes are stored securely and won’t topple over if knocked by a wagging tail. It almost goes without saying that garden tools should be kept out of reach of pets to prevent injury.
Dogs love spending time outdoors and your garden will be one of their favourite places to explore. But even here there are things to consider when it comes to your dog’s safety. Common plants such as daffodils, foxgloves, hydrangea and lily of the valley can be poisonous to your pup, and if you’re planting bulbs in the spring, make sure you keep them well out of reach too, as daffodil and tulip bulbs are particularly toxic. If you suspect your dog has eaten a poisonous plant, don’t wait; take them to see your vet immediately.
For more information on poisoning in dogs, visit the RSPCA’s website.
Now that you’ve made your garden safe, you’ll also need to take steps to make sure it is secure. Check your fence is in good condition without any holes or loose panels that could allow your dog to give you the slip, as well as ensuring it is high enough to keep your pet contained. Certain breeds can scale heights of 6ft or more, so a small fence may not be a deterrent for an afternoon escapade.
For peace of mind in case of an accident or illness, find out more about insuring your dog with our Pet Insurance.