Most people know to baby-proof a house before bringing a wee one home. But, unfortunately, many new canine owners don't realize the importance of dog-proofing a house. While a new baby will be confined to a crib for about a year after coming home, a new puppy or rescue dog will soon be scampering about the house, getting into dangerous situations and eating and gnawing on things that could cause them to end up in an animal hospital.
So where should you start with dog-proofing your abode? Here are a few tips:
Many common house and garden plants are toxic to dogs, including the ficus tree and American holly. Both of these plants can cause a dog to vomit or have diarrhea. And if your dog should chew on a begonia plant, your beloved pet could suffer intense burning and irritation of the mouth and may even experience difficulty swallowing. If your dog ingests or chews on a plant and you notice that he is acting strangely, then you should take your pet immediately to your vet or to an emergency veterinarian.
- Move all houseplants out of your pet's reach.
- Remove any plants from your garden that could be poisonous to your pet.
According to PetMD, the most common type of electrical injury that pets suffer is electrocution from gnawing on electrical cords. To a new pup or a rescue dog, these cords may appear like irresistible chew toys. But unfortunately, they are very dangerous. A dog who bites down on a cord could suffer burns around its mouth or even internal injuries if the electrical jolt traveling through its body affects its lung or heart. If you discover that your pet has bitten into an electrical cord, take it immediately to a veterinarian hospital for treatment.
In addition, your pet will need to be monitored for several days afterwards because its lungs could fill with fluid, which could be potentially life-threatening.
- Apply a bitter substance designed to prevent chewing to the outside of your cords. Before you do this, check the cords carefully to make sure that the protective coating hasn't already been damaged by chewing so that you won't also be electrocuted.
- Thread your electrical cords through PVC pipes or a new garden hose to guard cords against chewing. There are also products on the market today designed specifically to protect cords from gnawing pets. These often contain a bitter taste to discourage dogs from chewing.
- Unplug cords wherever possible. That way if your dog should bite into one, it won't get electrocuted.
Child-proof caps won't keep a tenacious pup from reaching the contents of a medicine bottle as they can use their teeth to chew open these little plastic containers. Unfortunately, if your dog should ingest the contents of one of those bottles, it could lead to serious problems and even death. Even asthma inhalers can be potentially deadly to a dog. One bite on the metal canister can send the entire pressurized contents of the asthma medication into your dog's mouth and into its system. This is an extremely life-threatening situation that requires immediate attention by a vet.
- Store all medications in cabinets. While you may think they're safe on a counter or a kitchen table, some dogs will find ways to reach these intriguing items.
- Speak to your children about the dangers of leaving their asthma medication lying around. Some kids will leave these with their athletic gear or backpacks as they move from one activity to another.
In many ways, canines are just like furry children, so it shouldn't be surprising that you will need to dog-proof your home just like you would with a toddler. By taking these steps, you will hopefully be able to keep your new dog healthy for many years to come.