Just as parents ‘childproof’ their home, so should dog owners ‘petproof’ theirs. Just like infants and small children, four-legged members of the family are naturally curious and love to explore their environment with their paws, claws and mouths.
But they can’t know what is dangerous and what is not, so it’s up to you to make your home a safe haven. The following tips can help ensure that your dog enjoys a long, happy and accident-free life in your care.
How to make your home safe for your dog
- Screen windows to guard against falls.
- Don’t let young dogs out on balconies, upper porches or high decks.
- Many house plants, including dieffenbachia, elephant ear, spider plants and more are poisonous if eaten. Remove them or put them out of reach in hanging baskets.
- Puppies love to chew when they’re teething, so unplug, remove or cover electrical cords.
- Don’t leave a room where a fire is lit or a heater is being used unattended.
- Plastic bags may be fun to play with, but they can cause suffocation.
- Don’t leave small, sharp, easily swallowed objects lying around.
In the garage
- Dogs like the smell and taste of antifreeze but ingestion is likely to prove fatal.
- Tightly cover containers and wipe up any spills.
- Paint, fuel and other dangerous chemicals should be stored out of reach.
In the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom
- Never leave ovens or irons on unattended.
- Dangerous household chemicals such as bleach and ammonia should be stored out of your dog’s reach.
- Close washer and dryer doors – your dog might climb in and become trapped.
- Keep toilet lids down – small dogs can drown if they fall in.
- Make sure your dog can’t get hold of medicines, shampoo, suntan lotions and other personal care items.
In the garden
- Some outdoor plants, like ivy and oleander, can be poisonous to dogs.
- Keep your dog away from lawns and gardens treated with chemicals.
- Store garden tools and chemicals securely. Keep garden sheds locked.
- Cover pools and ponds – your dog might fall in and not be able to get out.
- Eliminate hooks or similar objects placed at your dog’s shoulder height – the collar or harness could become tangled and he/she could choke.
- A tall perimeter fence around your property will minimise the risk of your dog running out into traffic or roaming far from home.
At Christmas time
- Tinsel and icicles, Christmas tree lights and glass ornaments will be sure to tempt your pet’s curiosity – but all could be harmful if chewed or swallowed.
- Poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are poisonous to your pets.
- Raisins and chocolate are poisonous to dogs. Fatalities have been recorded when large quantities have been eaten.