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Don’t Forget Dog-Proofing!


Purina Dog Chow LogoBringing home a new dog for the first time comes with so many new responsibilities and things to think about. Many new adoptive pet parents don’t always think of dog-proofing their house or apartment first when preparing for a new addition, but ensuring that the home is a safe environment for a new arrival is absolutely crucial.

Our friends at Dog Chow compiled a list of common household hazards and what to do about them. If you recently adopted a dog, this list can help you in the dog-proofing process:


Includes household cleaners, bleach, detergents, oven cleaners, soap and beyond. All of these have varying levels of toxicity and can harm your dog if consumed.

What You Can Do: Keep all cleaners sealed in their bottles. Store the bottles out of reach or in a latched cabinet. Remember, some dogs can open normal cabinets.


Includes automotive fluids, especially antifreeze (which is highly toxic yet tastes sweet to dogs), fertilizers, weed killers, moth balls, and more.

What You Can Do: Keep all household and automotive chemicals locked away in cabinets or storage areas. If these chemicals are in the garage, don’t leave your dog in the garage unsupervised. Also, dogs should be kept off the grass for at least 48 hours after lawn treatment is applied.

Foil & Plastic Wrap:

Materials like these often have tempting food particles or grease on them, can be shredded quickly and are easily swallowed. If ingested by your dog, these materials can cause serious internal problems.

What You Can Do: Don’t leave foil, plastic wrap or similar materials lying around the house. If you use foil or plastic wrap in the kitchen, throw it away someplace your dog cannot reach.

Pest Control:

Bug traps, rodent traps, foggers, insecticides, even your dog’s own flea medicine can cause harm to your dog. Note: insect traps may smell or taste sweet to dogs which can be an extra temptation.

What You Can Do: Store these items in a locked or latched cabinet. If you have to leave insect traps out, make sure they’re in places your dog can’t get to.


Whether over the counter or prescription, or even your dog’s own medications, drugs can cause serious problems if ingested. Even aspirin can cause serious problems for your dog. Tobacco products should also be kept out of reach.

What You Can Do: Keep all medications in sealed containers. Never self-prescribe medication. Only give drugs to your dog as instructed by a veterinarian.

Various Human Foods:

Some human foods like chocolate and grapes can be dangerous to your dog. Others, for example, those that contain a lot of fat, may cause digestive upsets.

What You Can Do: Don’t give your dog people food. Keep it out of reach. You should also take care to block access to trashcans in kitchens and bathrooms.


Wires that carry a current can electrocute a dog if chewed. Even non-connected wires are troublesome. If they’re swallowed, they can cause internal damage.

What You Can Do: Keep cords for all devices as short as possible. If you have to use extension cords, secure them to the baseboards to help discourage chewing.

Sharp Objects:

Knives, forks, paper clips and sharp bits of plastic are among the hazards often found in a family home. These can be swallowed and cause unseen harm, and a romping dog could suffer cuts or punctures if he comes into contact with these objects.

What You Can Do: Keep these items away from you dog. If you see your dog chewing such an item, get it out of his mouth immediately.

Dryer Sheets and Insulation:

Materials like these may be attractive to your dog, but can cause serious internal problems if ingested – especially insulation which is often made with fiberglass.

What You Can Do: Don’t leave dryer sheets, insulation or similar materials lying around the house. Dispose of these items in a place where your dog cannot reach. If installing insulation or doing construction to your home, promptly clean up and dispose of all scraps.

Universal Dangers:

There are, of course, many other dangers that apply to humans as well as dogs. Falls, carbon monoxide poisoning, lead paint, etc. If it can harm a person, it most likely can harm a dog.

What You Can Do: Keep your house as safe as you would for a child. And remember, keeping a safe home is a lifelong commitment and takes constant work.

It’s important for your whole family to recognize what is harmful and how to keep those objects out of reach. If you keep your dog in a safe house, the entire family can enjoy more stress-free time with your canine companion.


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