If you’re thinking about getting a dog, part of your preparation has to be thinking about how to make your home safe for your new canine companion. The average home has plenty of potential hazards for a dog – even more if you take the garden into account as well – and today we’re taking a look at what some of those hazards are and how you can make them safe.
There are a surprising number of foods and ingredients that are perfectly tasty to humans but could cause serious problems for your dog. Chocolate is commonly known as a toxin for dogs (because it contains theobromine, an alkaloid which dogs can’t metabolise effectively), but there are other things kept around many kitchens that can pose a problem. The list includes onions (and other members of the allium family), which can cause red blood cell damage, grapes and raisins, avocado and macadamia nuts.
If you don’t want to be dealing with the symptoms of an upset stomach – if not more serious health problems – make sure your dangerous ingredients are kept safely out of your dog’s way. Look for high surfaces your dog can’t reach, cupboards that close securely, or even sealed containers they can’t open.
Many dogs are enthusiastic chewers, and are keen to experiment with many different substances and textures, from cardboard boxes, to toys, to your furniture. You might be familiar with this from your dog eating grass and vomiting. If your dog latches onto wires as a fun thing to chew, they could cause serious damage to your household devices, but also to themselves! From pulling heavy objects down onto their heads, to ingesting plastic and metal to fatal electric shocks, the risks are manifold.
Fortunately there is plenty you can do to make your cords and wires more dog safe. The best thing you can do is keep them out of your dog’s way: use cable ties and brackets to run them up walls, around doorways and behind furniture. This also makes it harder for a dog to gain a purchase on them and dig their teeth in. You could also paint cables with taste deterrents to put your dog off.
Most importantly, you need to recognise that the urge to chew is a deep instinct that you’re not going to be able to wholly discourage, and should find toys that allow you to redirect that instinct less destructively.
In the Garden
If you have a garden, then you have a whole other raft of potential dog hazards to worry about, from sharp garden tools, to potentially poisonous weed killers and fertilisers, to more hazardous plants!
It’s well worth trying to limit the toxic products you use in your garden – finding an alternative to slug pellets, which can look so much like tempting dog toys or snacks is vital, and keeping your tool safely locked away when you aren’t using them. It might be a step too far to uproot established plants, but you can mitigate risk by trying to block access to them, and supervising your dog when it’s in the garden and redirecting its attention away from the dangers.