If you’re planning to bring a new dog into your home, you might have started to look at your home in a new light.
Whether a puppy is joining your family or you’re adopting an older dog, there are some basic changes that you can make to dog proof your home and help him to stay safe.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself to find out how dog proof your home is, both inside and out.
Dog Proofing Home Check List
1. Are your kitchen doors dog safe?
In a lot of homes, household products with chemicals, such as bleach or kitchen cleaner, live in the kitchen. And not just these, some foods we don’t think twice about leaving in easily accessible cupboards or on kitchen counters, such as chocolate and grapes, pose a risk to dogs too.
When a home is child and dog free, it’s not really an issue. But for inquisitive dogs, these things all have potentially serious consequences if they can access.
Prit Power, Head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line told us that veterinary treatment of a dog with chocolate poisoning can cost owners hundreds of pounds.
He says, “We should be wary about giving our pets the same food we eat as even food that we would consider “healthy” is dangerous to dogs. Potentially poisonous foods include chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, corn on the cob and even avocado.
“A lot of these potential dangers are things your pet will probably ignore, but some - such as food, will always gather interest. Whether it’s up high or behind a secure cupboard door, all food should be kept out of your pet’s reach.”
So consider fitting child locks or moving the products to a higher cupboard, out of sight and out of a nosey dog’s nose.
2. Are your household bins out of reach?
In most cases, before a dog joins your home, unless there’s a designated ‘bin zone’ in your kitchen and often, bathroom, then you’ll choose a dustbin that suits your needs in both size and design.
But when you own a dog, the game changes. If you think about what household waste you put in your bin every day, for example, leftover food, cooked meat bones, cotton wool pads and tin foil, you can see the appeal the bin holds to a dog!
In some cases, it will become a game to them to work out how they can get as much as they can, as quickly as they can and this could have serious consequences - not to mention being a nightmare to arrive home to scraps of paper, odds and ends and packaging scattered around the floor waiting to be cleaned up.
Prit added, “It’s impossible to keep an eye on your dog at all times so it’s important to keep food locked away, secure the bins and remind guests not to feed your dog. Food can tempt even the best-behaved dogs so if you’re worried that they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have, take them to the vet immediately. All Direct Line Pet customers will be able to connect with a vet 24/7 through Pawsquad which is provided for free with their pet policy.”
So, do some research into what bins might best suit your home, the space available and whether you can easily move a bin to another (out of the way) area of the room. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Are there any small items that dogs may be tempted to chew?
This sounds like a fairly broad consideration, but what you’re really looking to avoid is something that may be within a dog’s reach, in any room that your dog may have access to, and is small enough to be chewed (and could be toxic) or swallowed (and cause a blockage, which could be fatal).
Potpourri is one of the most common small items a home owns that seems like great fun to dogs.
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4. Are your windows and doors safe?
Dogs have been known to escape through ground and first-floor windows, so if your dog shows signs of being overly curious towards your windows or you think a window has a weak spot, consider buying a locking system.
Typically, locking systems allow a window to be partially open and locked at the same time, which means you can have the window open a little to allow some fresh air in, but not wide enough that your dog can fit through. The locking system will also prevent your dog from being able to nudge open.
5. Are your electrical wires concealed?
If you’re bringing a puppy into your home, or your dog develops a habit of chewing, then electrical items and their wires should be at the top of your ‘let’s move this’ list.
The damage caused by gnawing through to the inside wiring of these cords can cause a mild shock, third-degree burns, or worse.
Try to move all electrical objects and loose wires out of reach and conceal floor height wires beneath carpets where possible.
6. Are your potted plants and flowers safe for your dog?
Some of our favourite flowers and plants are in fact dangerous to dogs and while the levels of toxicity vary, it’s often not worth the risk.
Daffodils, lilies, hyacinths and bluebells are all plants which put a dog’s health and wellbeing at risk.
7. If you were a dog, could you escape your garden?
Some dogs look at gardens and homes as puzzles. These dogs might be pros at escaping, or simply just nosey, either way, it’s not uncommon for a dog, even a well-behaved one, to want to explore beyond their boundaries.
Go around your garden at your dog’s height to check your fence or wall has no weak spots which could be dug under or jumped over.
Sometimes it’s simple enough to add to or replace a fence, a fence with weld wood panels might be enough to make your dog think twice, however, in some gardens, this might change the landscape and view. In which case, you might be tempted to buy some bushes or shrubs to fill the space and add some colour.
And, since dog thefts are on the rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure your garden is safe for them to roam about in without an intruder accessing to take them away. Sadly, this is not uncommon. So while you’re on your hands and knees checking your garden’s borders, make sure you and your dog are protected from the outside in too.