Like small children, dogs love to get into things around the house… especially with their mouths! Unfortunately for them, many of these things can be dangerous. As responsible pet owners it’s up to us to make sure our homes are as safe as possible for our furry companions. To help you do just that, check out our handy ‘how-to’ guide for dog proofing your house and garden below.
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1. Hide the garbage bin (or invest in one that is pet-proof!)
Let’s face it, most dogs are scavengers and would gladly raid your trash for tasty morsels given half the chance! Always make sure trash cans and rubbish bins are stowed away out of reach from your dog. Better yet, invest in a pet-proof trash can like the ones pictured below. They have super secure locking lids to prevent your fur-kids from getting in and eating things that they shouldn’t be.
Remember it’s not just potentially toxic food scraps that are harmful (they also pose a choking risk), plastic wrap and plastic bags are also dangerous and pose a significant suffocation risk for dogs too.
2. Dog proof your cabinets, pantry and fridge
It might seem obvious, but always make sure cabinets, pantries and fridges are securely closed when dogs are around. If your dog is particularly sneaky and has taught him or herself how to open these things, it might be time to invest in some childproof latches to keep prying puppy paws out and away from potentially dangerous items.
3. Keep your dog out of the kitchen when cooking
Kitchens can be dangerous for humans let alone dogs! Hot ovens, pots and pans can be especially dangerous for doggos (not to mention sharp knives and potentially toxic food scraps). Err on the side of caution and keep them out while you’re cooking.
4. Store food securely and keep it out of reach
Dogs are sneaky!
One of our top tips for dog-proofing your house is to always make sure food is properly stored and out of reach. Never leave food out on benches or unattended around the house as lots of foods that are safe for humans are toxic to dogs.
This goes for dog food storage too. If your dog gets into that 10kg bag of kibble, chances are, they won’t stop eating until it’s all gone. Make sure it’s properly stored and out of reach to avoid preventable trips to the vet .
5. Keep knick knacks, toys and other small objects out of reach
Dogs like to chew, and if left to their own devices will give anything a good crack if they’re bored enough. Store these things where doggy mouths can’t reach… this includes the TV remote! Not only do small parts and pieces pose a choking hazard to dogs, they can also cause gastrointestinal upset, not to mention your prized possessions will be covered in teeth marks!
6. Create no-go zones
Use baby gates and pet gates to create no-go zones for your dog. For example, block off any area which might be unsafe or where chemicals or dangerous products might be stored (i.e. cleaning products, medication, herbicides, pesticides). Make sure balcony doors are securely closed and that the railing is narrow enough that your pet cannot fall through if they were to get out.
7. Choose dog friendly houseplants
Another critical tip for dog proofing your house is to ensure that any houseplants you have are safe for dogs. The ASPCA have a handy list of toxic and non-toxic plants that you can check if you are unsure.
If you’re a succulent fan, check out our list of 9 low-maintenance indoor succulents that are safe for dogs right here.
8. Dog proof windows, glass doors and blinds
Windows are like TVs for dogs, they love them, they love to watch the world go by. Whilst windows are a great source of entertainment they can also be dangerous if your dog is prone to banging and scratching on them.
For this reason, double check that your windows are made of safety glass and block off any floor level windows if you think your dog might be prone to breaking through – and don’t be fooled into thinking that it is just big dogs that are capable of breaking windows either, little dogs are just as capable! We have a family friend whose Mini Schnauzer broke through her bedroom window once when he saw the neighbour’s cat run past!
If you’re heading out, sometimes it’s best to close the blinds to remove the temptation all-together. Watch out for dangling blinds cords too, secure them to the wall to prevent potential strangulation.
Also, if you do not have pet proof window screens, ensure any windows that your dog can reach are securely closed so as to prevent any potential escapes.
8. Electrical cables/cords and appliances
Another obvious one, dogs that chew on electrical cords and cables are at risk of electrocution – keep them out of reach (or off) and don’t leave them dangling as pets could get tangled and potentially strangle themselves. Similarly, don’t leave unnecessary appliances running unattended (like heaters or fans), as these could start a fire if they’re knocked over or something is knocked on top of them.
Furthermore, if you have a fireplace, invest in a screen and store your logs out of reach. Never leave it running unattended.
9. Dog proof your bathroom
It’s usually best to keep your dog out of the bathroom as cleaning products and chemicals are usually kept in here. But, if your dog does have access to this area, make sure cleaners and medications are well out of reach and securely stored. Make sure the toilet lid is closed too – toilet water usually contains chemical cleaners which aren’t good for dogs.
10. Keep sharp and dangerous objects out of reach
This goes without saying really.
11. Put your clothes and shoes away
Don’t leave clothes and shoes lying around. Just like small objects, clothes and partially chewed shoes are choking hazards and can cause serious gastrointestinal upset if swallowed.
Similarly, if you have mothballs in your closets, make sure your dog can’t get to them – they’re toxic.
12. Dog proof your backyard
Finally, if your dog has access to the great outdoors, make sure your fencing is secure and that there isn’t anything against the fence that your dog could use to climb on to get out. Same goes for under the fence, check for and block any gaps to prevent them from escaping and make sure there aren’t any jagged/sharp edges that might hurt your pup.
Be sure to keep your lawn mowed and garden debris to a minimum so as not to encourage snakes and creepy crawlies which could potentially harm your pet.
Similarly, be sure to store fertislizers, herbicides and pesticides (like snail bait and rat bait) well away from doggy areas and store your trash cans where the dogs can’t get to them.
Always ensure pools, spas and ponds are covered and/or fenced to prevent possible drownings and make sure your BBQ is properly stored and cleaned (including drip trays) as these can be particularly tempting for doggos!