Ah, new pups. Furry little balls of mischief and ceaseless energy. One moment they’re innocently snoozing, melting your heart with their fluffy adorableness. The next, they are going ninja assassin on your favorite scarf, reducing it to so much designer confetti.
As a veterinary technician, I have witnessed countless precocious pooches get their little butts in some BIG trouble around their homes. Many people don’t realize just how many potential hazards await a dog in each room of the house. Unlike humans, dogs experience the world through their noses and mouths. Innocent exploration can lead to them ingesting a potentially dangerous object or substance. So, when it comes time to introduce your new bundle of fur, try taking a look at your home through your pup’s eyes.
The Living Room:
When humans congregate, we tend to leave little bits of ourselves behind. Pocket change, gum, clothing and electronic devices left on a low table or between couch cushions can seem irresistible to a pooch trying to figure out his new digs. Any of the above items can cause a life threatening intestinal blockage.
Sugar free gum contains Xylitol, a chemical toxic to dogs if ingested in large enough doses. Dogs are attracted by the sweet smell. It’s best to always keep your purse or backpack out of reach if you carry mints or gum.
A few coins may pass through a nosy pooch with little trouble, but enough change could lead to zinc poisoning which is potentially fatal. Make sure every family member knows to pick up their human debris when the new pup is on the prowl.
Dogs are in awe of our decadent human cuisine, and if YouTube has taught us anything, it’s that they will go to extraordinary lengths to make it their own. Keep pots, pans and platters of food far back on stove tops and counters away from prying paws. To keep mischievous mutts out of cabinets and drawers, purchase safety latches sold at hardware and baby supply stores.
Puppies have been known to make a meal out of more than just your groceries. The cleansers, detergents and chemicals found beneath the average sink can spell all kinds of trouble, so don’t forget to latch these cabinets, too.
Most dogs aren’t above a little dumpster diving, be sure to secure trash can lids or remove tempting bags of goodies to a safe location like the garage. Common garbage contents like coffee grounds, bones and fatty snacks can cause big trouble for little pups.
Sure, drinking from the toilet is gross, but the bathroom is home to lots more potential pup mischief. Hair ties, bobby pins, and bath poufs all seem like wonderful toys to a bored pooch; until they become a deadly blockage. Even the hair that accumulates on the floor could add up to a foreign body in your pet’s intestines, so be sure to sweep regularly.
Chewed razors or ransacked medication bottles guarantee an emergency visit to the vet, not to mention a hefty price tag.
Xylitol is also found in some toothpastes, making it as potentially hazardous as gum. Needless to say, bathroom doors are best kept closed when a nosy canine is on the loose in your home.
Our dogs love anything that carries our smell. Shoes, socks, and discarded pajamas all make for wonderful reminders of a favorite human. These items can pose a choking risk or cause a foreign body if swallowed.
Jewelry or electronics on bedside tables are also easy targets for a counter surfing pup. Tidy up potential temptations in the bedroom each morning, or keep this door closed to your pooch.
The Home Office:
When a puppy is teething, chewing on soft, rubbery toys helps ease discomfort. And some pups never grow out of this need to gnaw! The rubbery outer coating may be why electrical cords are such popular targets, but a chewed cord can cause catastrophic injury or even death. Hide cords behind furniture, tape them down with duct tape, or invest in cord keepers for every place they are visible in your home.
Organize pens, pencils and paper clips in a high, out of reach location. Pups also love a good paper shredding session; secure important documents well out of reach of eager jaws.
This is by far the most dangerous area in your home for a dog. The most noxious chemicals and dangerous items are kept here. Nuts, bolts, screws and nails may cause injuries to the mouth and esophagus, or create an intestinal blockage. Ingestion of these items may also cause zinc poisoning.
Pesticides, fertilizer, paint, varnish or gasoline can lead to vomiting or burns in the mouth. Rat poison and antifreeze are extremely deadly and require immediate emergency care if swallowed.
Dogs may explore underneath or behind parked cars, putting themselves at risk if an unsuspecting human were to put the car in motion. Garages should always be a no fly zone for prying pups.
Your home should be a safe haven for your new addition and with a little extra attention to detail and a few closed doors or baby gates, it can be just that. Put yourself at your pup’s eye view – what do you see that might draw the attention of a curious pooch? What can you do to reduce the risks? Remember, a bored dog is a mischievous dog, so be sure to engage your pooch with toys, chew bones and lots of one on one attention.