12 Common Home and Yard Pet Hazards and How Improve Dog Safety
Whether bringing home a brand new 8-week old pup or rescuing a seasoned shelter dog, new pet owners have a lot to worry about. Dog safety around the home is a critical first thought.
What kinds of things are good for them to eat and chew? What toys are safe and age/size appropriate for play? How can you best protect their dental and overall health? What is the most effective method for house and behavioral training? Where will your puppy sleep and be kept while you’re out of the house?
How do you choose the veterinarian, boarder, or groomer that best fits the needs of your pooch? What about pet insurance? What’s the best method of flea/tick/heartworm control? Are there emergency pet services nearby? What about Poison Control?
While all of the above questions are good to be thinking about, something that is all too commonly overlooked is the potential hazards in and around your home. These hazards that may pose a serious threat to your new fur-baby and dog safety in general. While it’s normal to worry about what to do if something bad happens, many people do not take a proactive approach to preventing these accidents from happening in the first place.
We know you want the very best for lil’ Sparky. That’s why we’ve put together this list of potential home hazards. You can start thinking of ways to prevent the possibility of harm coming to your pet, increasing dog safety. If something does happen, be aware of what the symptoms mean reading this dog symptoms article.
Many new dog owners do not think of this one until they see their best friend running down the hall leaving a trail from the bathroom trash in his wake. And you know Sparky’s going to be coming up for kisses with that toilet-trash mouth. This can be a humorous sight, and you may want to take pictures.
However, the truth is, trash cans sometimes contain poisonous substances, toxic chemicals, sharp objects, rotten food, biohazards, and other less than desirable items.
There are a few ways to prevent this. Some people choose to keep their trash out of reach, say, up on a countertop. Others tend to keep their trash in a cupboard they think the dog cannot open. Dogs get bored easily and have been known to be resourceful when it comes to getting to scents they find irresistible. The most effective way is to keep them in a cupboard and install child (and pet) proof locks on those containing potentially hazardous materials.
All medications should be in a high medicine cupboard that is 100% inaccessible to your pup or in a locked cabinet. Be careful not to leave bottles out on a counter or table. As mentioned above, Sparky can be quite crafty about getting into things when left unattended.
It is also a good idea to post your preferred animal poison control number. Choose from the Animal Poison Control Center, the ASPCA hotline, or your local Emergency Veterinary Care facility.
As with medications and trash, these chemicals need to be in a very high or locked cabinet or cupboard. Many people store household cleaners in the cupboard under the sink. We urge you to either find an overhead cupboard or put a lock on it.
Accidentally leaving cleaners out on the counter is an all too common occurrence. Picture yourself cleaning your bathroom, toilet brush in hand, and the doorbell or phone rings. You put the brush in its holster, set the toilet bowl cleaner on the counter, and go answer it. After all, you’ll be right back.
The five or so minutes you’ve left the cleaner unattended could mean the difference between life or death. It can take a while for new owners to get used to how curious our new furry friends can be.
Additionally, make sure to remove Sparky from any area where you are using sprays or liquid cleaners containing chemicals, as these can be damaging to their eyes, lungs, and skin. Keep them out of the are you’ve cleaned until you can be sure the cleaner has dried. Assuming a dog will not feel the urge to roll in the most dreadful of substances is a total rookie mistake!
There are literally hundreds of common house and garden plants that can be poisonous or toxic to dogs. the most common flowers are lilies, azaleas, tulips, daffodils, mums, daisies, Iris, and hydrangeas. Common household plants such as aloe and ivy, as well as windowsill herbs like lavender, parsley, mint, or chives, can also be harmful.
We recommend a reviewing a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to dogs so you can check which ones you may currently have in your home or garden. If your pooch comes into contact with any of these plants, it’s best to contact poison control immediately.
Cords from Appliances or Window Coverings
Any cord or loose string, including a leash you may have left on after taking Sparky out for a walk, can be a strangulation hazard.
Electrical cords contain the additional hazards of burns in the mouth, electrical shock, fire, or even fatal electrocution to curious pups that want to chew on them. A dog safety aspect that can be very easily prevented with good housekeeping.
To maintain a safe environment for your best friend, don’t forget to tie up loose cords and purchase specialty cord covers, spiral cable wrap, or PVC pipe to keep them out of Sparky’s reach.
Whether you have an indoor fireplace, wood-burning stove, or a backyard barbeque or firepit, you want to always make certain your pooch is out of reach of the flames. Don’t forget to screen off fireplaces and wood stoves and leash them when using outdoor heat sources.
As with fire, indoor standing water such as a full sink, bathtub, or toilet as well as outdoor water features such as ponds, pools, hot tubs, and fountains all pose a serious drowning hazard.
Make sure to keep all outdoor sources of water covered or fenced in. Restrict access to areas such as the bathroom to prevent Sparky from lapping up the toilet bowl water. It is best to avoid flush-administering toilet chemicals just in case someone forgets to shut the bathroom door.
Small or Sharp Objects
Small objects are often overlooked and left lying on the coffee or end table, such as jewelry, bobby pins, coins, and sewing materials. Of course, personal hygiene can leave nail maintenance items such as files and clippers, tweezers and dental floss, and rubber bands. These can all pose serious choking, strangulation, and internal damage risks, lowering your dog safety!
If you have children, in addition to upsetting them when they find their favorite toys mutilated, dogs can choke on small pieces as well as break off and swallow sharp plastic shards which can lacerate their digestive tracts.
Make sure your pup is restricted from areas where your child is playing. Then ensure all the pieces are picked up when they’ve finished.
As with plants, there are hundreds of foods that may be toxic or harmful to your dog. For a complete list, you can visit this site. The most commonly overlooked foods are avocados, citrus fruits, grapes and raisins, dairy, nuts, onion and garlic, xylitol (sweetener), yeast, chocolate, and beverage-based drugs like caffeine and alcohol.
Avoid leaving food out on tables and countertops where your dog can easily reach them. We know this is easier said than done, and mistakes can happen to even the most careful new pet-owner. Again, if you catch sparky with a mouthful of chocolate, it’s best to call poison control.
Hazardous Garage or Shed Materials
A garage can be a literal treasure trove of dog safety concerns from gasoline, motor oil, and paints. Then the dog safety question turns to actual chemicals including lawn food and pesticides. Hobbies have fishing hooks and lures, to small tools and drill attachments. Deadly substances such as antifreeze, de-icer, and rat poison can be desirable to dogs, they actually smell good.
While we suggest keeping your pets out of this death-trap all-together if you insist on letting them roam around while you tinker, be sure to keep all of the above-mentioned materials and substances in secure containers and cabinets.
Inadequate Fencing or Enclosures
A truly secure fence is one that cannot be jumped over, dug under, squeezed through, or unlatched at the gate by even the most determined canine escape artist. It is a good idea to restrict access to fenced in backyards unless you or another responsible human is available to supervise.
Even the most diligent pet-parent is not completely immune from human error and making mistakes. Sometimes, even though we swear we latched the back gate, Sparky finds his way out anyway. Then we have to go barreling down the road by foot or in the car searching frantically for our pet.
In addition to getting your furry pal microchipped, purchasing a pet tracker can be a life-saving investment. These nifty little gadgets can pinpoint Sparky’s exact location so you can get to him before a moving vehicle does.
Other Backyard Hazards
A responsible pet-owner will periodically walk around his best friend’s outdoor enclosure for dog safety concerns. An owner is scanning the area for sharp items such as exposed nails or screws, broken glass or plastic shards as well as paint chips, pesticides, and any trash or debris that may have found its way in.
It is a good idea to have a separate or designated area where your Sparky will do his business to prevent fecal contamination.
The addition of a furry friend to your home is a momentous occasion. Following these safety tips will help to ensure Sparky stays happy and safe in his new home environment so you can relax and enjoy your long life together.