Living with a dog is quite an experience — you get to play with your best friend and have a constant source of warmth and joy. However, all pet parents know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Dogs, especially young ones, are playful and mischievous; give them a few hours, and they’ll likely run into trouble if your place isn’t prepared to handle your furry pal.
All dog parents know it’s in the nature of dogs to sniff, investigate, dig, and chew on various things around them. You may have one that’s more laid-back than most dogs, but it still has those instincts and might not be that chill all the time. That’s why dog-proofing is so crucial — not only will it help save your furniture and shoes, but it’ll also keep your pup safe from injuries and health hazards.
If you want to avoid costly vet bills and home repairs, read on to learn some of the best tips for dog-proofing your home. We’ve also included a quick guide for different parts of your property!
Tips for Dog-Proofing Your Home
There are some general tips you need to keep in mind when dog-proofing your house. Here are some things you can do:
Tip #1: Have a Designated Pet-Friendly Area
Ideally, you’ll have a dedicated space for your puppy or dog wherein they can play safely with their toys. The area needs to be large enough for them to walk around and only have items they can scratch and chew freely—like their sturdy dog toys.
Having a dedicated space for your dog can help them adjust to the home, but this may not be feasible if all the rooms in the house are occupied, or you’re renting a studio apartment. In this case, you’ll just have to follow the next tips!
Tip #2: Keep Hazardous Items Out of Reach
Your dog may have the best chew toys in the world, but almost every item in the home is fair game for a curious dog’s mouth. From electrical cords to plastic bottles, your pup will likely munch on whatever it can. Your primary goal is to keep your buddy safe, so you’ll have to protect it from dangerous items.
Keep potentially hazardous items out of reach or locked up somewhere they can’t open. Here are some notable things to protect them from:
- Pharmaceuticals, either human or veterinary
- Food hazards, such as chocolate, avocados, garlic, and alcohol
- Chemical hazards, such as pesticides, detergent, antifreeze, and fertilizers
- Toys with small parts they may choke on
It’s also best to keep wires and cords out of reach or protected. Otherwise, your curious pup may chew on it and injure itself in the process.
Aside from these common household hazards, you also have to mind potentially toxic houseplants, such as aloe, carnations, and daffodils. Your favorite plant may look pretty, but if your dog accidentally ingests it, you’re due for an emergency vet visit. You can view the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants to know which plants you’ll have to keep away from your pet.
Tip #3: Keep Your Items Safe from Your Dog
While keeping your dog safe from household items is your primary concern, you also have to keep your precious stuff unharmed. Ensure that fragile and precious items, such as vases, photos, and expensive shoes, are secured and inaccessible to your pup.
Tip #4: Outsmart the Escape Artists
Dogs love exploring, and if you’re not careful, they might just go somewhere you don’t want them to. You may want to install pet gates for your stairs or locks for your cabinet doors to ensure your pup doesn’t run into trouble. Put yourself in their (figurative) shoes and determine which items and escape routes they’ll investigate.
Tip #5: Seal Trash Bins
Your trash may just be your dog’s treasure, and you wouldn’t want your pup to chew on something nasty or dangerous. It’s best to secure your bins with latches or dog-proof lids so that your buddy can’t rummage through them.
A Room-by-Room Guide to Dog-Proofing
Now that you know some general tips for dog-proofing your home, let’s get into some ways you can protect specific household areas from your curious and playful pal.
Your bedroom is usually a safe space, but it’s still best to take necessary precautions to protect your dog and your stuff. It’s best to store your laundry, shoes, bags, and small stuffed animals in places your pup can’t access. More importantly, keep your valuables (like your gadgets and jewelry) in a drawer or cabinet.
Dog-Proofing the Kitchen
Your hungry, hungry dog has a strong sense of smell and can sniff out anything it’d like to eat within your kitchen. While we never want our dogs to starve, they may ingest food that they shouldn’t.
Some common food items like garlic, onions, nuts, chocolate, coffee, and certain fruits can seriously harm your pup’s health. Make sure that they’re stored securely—ideally in sealed, sturdy containers that your dog can’t tear apart. If you have a large dog, be sure not to leave these food items on the counter. Also, make sure not to leave sharp objects or choking hazards where your dog can easily snatch them away.
The trash bin is another consideration when it comes to dog-proofing your kitchen. It’s best to seal its lid with a latch so that your dog can’t dig through it.
Dog-Proofing the Living Room
When dog-proofing the living room, keep the electrical cords protected and ensure that your dog doesn’t gnaw on them. If you have kids, make sure that they put away their toys after using them. Also, give your pup appropriate toys so that it doesn’t take its energy out on the furniture.
Dog-Proofing the Bathroom
Your curious dog may wander in the bathroom and accidentally ingest various hazards, such as shampoo, soap, cleaning supplies, and medications, so it’s best to store them in secure containers. Also, you may want to keep the toilet seat down, as some pups may attempt to drink from the bowl. Yikes!
Dog-proofing your home is sort of like baby-proofing it—you need to reconsider many aspects of your home to keep your new best friend safe and comfortable. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be too hard. Just remember this guide as you help your pup become accustomed to its forever home!