Dog Proofing for New Dog Owners: A Guide

Dogs are much like children: they’re funny, sweet, affectionate, and they can get into a lot of trouble in certain environments. Pet owners who want to protect their dogs can take steps to protect their pets from household hazards.

Human foods, poisonous houseplants, chemicals and even dog medicine are all a potential source of danger for a curious dog. If you’ve recently adopted or purchased a dog, here’s what you need to know about protecting your pet.  

Kitchen Dangers for Dogs

The kitchen is the biggest source of concern for many dog owners, because it’s full of foods that tempt dogs. Although dogs are attracted to (and will eat) human foods if given the chance, many human foods are not healthy for canines. In addition to human food, kitchens often contain cleaning products that are toxic for pets.

Not all dogs will get into human foods and household chemicals if given the chance, but new pet owners who are just learning their dog’s personality and behaviors can protect their dog by doing the following:

  • Buy a garbage can with a proper lid that fits securely over the trash.
  • Avoid leaving food at the edge of the counter, and avoid leaving the kitchen with food sitting out in the open. 
  • Remove foods from lower cabinets that the dog can reach, or install baby proofing cabinet locks on cabinets containing food. 
  • Put baby proofing locks on cabinets that contain cleaning products. 
  • Remove all fruit bowls and flowers from counters.

When dogs get into food designated for humans, they may have bathroom accidents in the house. Prevent these messes by keeping human food out of reach at all times.

Dog Dangers in the Living Room and Bedrooms

The living room and bedrooms are usually relatively safe spaces for dogs. However, cords, garbage cans, and toxic plants can be a threat for some dogs. Cords can provide a source of amusement for curious puppies, while garbage cans can contain any number of hazardous items that get thrown away. 

  • Replace all open garbage cans with garbage cans that have lids.
  • Tuck cords away into unreachable places, or tie up loose cords so that there is no slack in the cord. 
  • Put all toxic plants up and out of the way where the dog cannot reach them.

Not all house plants are toxic. Pet owners who don’t know which of their house plants are toxic and which are not can discuss their house plants with their veterinarian. 

Bathroom Dangers for Dogs

Bathrooms contain cleaning products that can harm curious dogs. Cosmetics and electrical appliances (like hair dryers and curling irons) are also a danger for dogs. Pet owners can keep their dog safe by putting cosmetics away in drawers and cabinets after they’re used, and by securing those cabinets with child-proof locks.

Pet owners who don’t want to use child proof locks can instead move all cleaning products and cosmetics into cabinets that are too high up for their dog to reach. 

Dog Dangers in the Garage and Outdoor Spaces

Garages contain a variety of dangerous chemicals like plant fertilizers and antifreeze. Keeping these chemicals up and off the ground can prevent dogs from drinking or eating something that could be potentially fatal. In addition, garages often contain sharp power tools and hand tools that could cause injury. These chemicals and tools must never be left alone in the yard where the dog can access them. 

As a new dog owner, you’ll get used to protecting your dog from the many hazards found around the house and using clicker training to help your dog learn proper behaviors. After a while, doing this will become second nature for you. Pet proofing your home can help ensure that your dog will stay safe and happy.