Dog Proofing Your Home

Puppies are notorious for getting into trouble—often times the kind of trouble that can result in injury.

Older dogs should know better, but that’s not always the case. To keep your dog safe, the best thing you can do is dog proof every room.

Keep Chemicals Locked Away

The kitchen, bathroom and garage hide many potential dangers, especially in the form of liquid chemicals. “One of the main ways that dogs can hurt themselves is when parents don’t latch the doors with baby locks and dogs get into hazardous chemicals that can be found under the sink,” said Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest pet care franchise.

Another major culprit of dog poisonings at home? Anti-freeze. “Even the smallest droplets can be fatal to a dog,” Ganahl said. “Clean up any spills immediately and keep it out of the dog’s reach.”

While some chemicals might be obviously dangerous, others are often ignored by pet owners. For example, de-icing salts can cause gastrointestinal issues, oral irritation, lethargy and even kidney damage if ingested. Common household cleaners, garden herbicides and insecticides and lawn fertilizers should also be put away (preferably behind a locked door) to prevent your dog from accessing them.

Hide Chewable Temptations

Puppies are bound to chew anything they can get their teeth on, and so are many adults dogs. While you should be working with them to teach them proper behavior, it’s important that anything dangerous is also put away so Fido doesn’t end up chewing on the wrong thing. For example? “Wires can be hidden in walls that have open spaces behind them (for flat screen TVS, etc.), but cords on the floor are much more dangerous,” Ganahl said. “Never leave a dog alone in an area where there are cords they can chew on, especially if they are puppies.“

Innocent-looking items such as dental floss, string, and rubber bands can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed, so they should also be kept out of reach.

The same is true of any toy that is not specifically made for a dog, Ganahl said. This is especially true of children’s toys where parts and pieces can be chewed off and swallowed. “Sometimes even certain dog toys aren’t good for them, so test various types of toys to determine which ones will withstand your dog’s chewing,” she said.

If Your Pup Seems to be Eating Everything for No Reason…

Some dogs suffer from a condition known as Pica, which causes dogs to crave and eat things that aren’t food. This could be anything from paper (tissues, paper towels) to socks to tennis balls. “Pica is a very serious issue that can cause intestinal blockages and cost thousands of dollars in surgery,” Ganahl said. “Besides making sure that you keep everything up off of the floor your dog could get into, take your dog for a trip to the vet; there could be an important medical issue that is causing this behavior.”

When in doubt, always err on the safe side. If there’s a chance your dog might try to eat it, lick it or swallow it, put it away.

Meet the Author: Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and avid adventurer. She's gone hiking in Siberia, snorkeling in Thailand, and canoeing in the Mekong River. She also loves caves and has been known to get lost in one or five around the world. Diana's work has been published in the Discovery Channel website, Yahoo!, Popular Mechanics, and more. You can read more of her work on her website at

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