Dogs Life at Home

How to Dog-Proof Your Home

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Have you ever stopped to think what your home looks like from your dog’s point of view? This is an important consideration when getting a new dog or a puppy. Dog-proofing your home is an exercise that should be done before your new four-legged family member arrives.

Dogs like to investigate with their mouths, so unless you want a dog mouth and a healthy dose of slobber on your possessions, you’ll want to put everything valuable out of your dog’s reach. Your dog can’t tell the difference between his toy and your shoes. You’ll need to help by removing your personal items from your dog’s reach. Close closet doors, keep drawers shut, secure the lid tightly on the garbage can, and put laundry baskets out of reach.

One particular spot of interest to your new dog is the kitchen. Be sure you’re not inviting a potential counter surfing habit by keeping food away from counter edges. My Newfoundland, who could pick treats off the counter easier than my kids, got a taste for loaves of bread. Not just one slice, but the entire loaf, could be gone in seconds. All I would find would be an empty plastic bread bag on the floor. I soon learned that loaves of bread could not be kept on the counter, but had to be placed on the top of the refrigerator.

You can also use a taste deterrent, like Bitter Apple, to make your things less appealing to your dog.

But dog-proofing your home isn’t just about keeping your Jimmy Choos out of doggie’s reach (or fuzzy bedroom slippers, as the case may be). Many things that are casually tossed around your home can be harmful to a puppy or dog. Your cell phone, tablet, TV remote, eye glasses, vitamins, prescription medications, and electrical cords are just a few household items to keep out of the reach of your dog.

35 Things To Remove From Your Dog’s Level

  • plants
  • toys
  • shoes
  • clothes
  • food, snacks
  • books
  • candles
  • jewelry
  • medicine
  • vitamins
  • pencils and pens
  • cameras
  • cell phones
  • tablets
  • headphones
  • keys
  • flowers
  • chocolate, candy
  • push pins
  • homework
  • stuffed animals
  • coffee
  • scissors
  • money
  • shoes
  • garbage
  • electric cords
  • tissues
  • detergent
  • household cleaners
  • soap
  • glue
  • knives
  • dryer sheets
  • eye glasses, sunglasses

Download our list of 35 Things to Remove From Your Dog’s Level as a Checklist.

The best way to start a dog-proofing effort is to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around, to actually see things from your dog’s perspective. The size of your dog will have a huge bearing on how high up you will need to relocate potentially dangerous items. Make a game out of it and enlist the younger members of your family to see who can find the most things that need to be moved to another location, in a set amount of time.

You may find that some things just can’t be moved out of your dog’s reach. You can manage spaces in your home with baby gates or crate your dog when you aren’t with her, so she does not have the ability to roam around unsupervised.

Keeping your dog safe in your home is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. Be sure and explain to children how putting toys and clothes away will help keep their new dog safe.

In our next “Welcome Home” blog installment, we’ll discuss setting up routines and how to feed your new dog.

Live with a dog or puppy? Share with us how you’ve dog-proofed your home to make it safe for your pet.

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT

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