Dog Proof Your Home: Prevent Canine Household DestructionPublished November 20, 2012
Getting ready to welcome a new dog or puppy into your home requires a thorough household survey to make sure that every room is made dog proof. Puppies are known for their ability to turn your belongings into chew toys, but even adult rescue dogs can get into mischief. There’s more to dog and puppy proofing than just picking up your shoes and newspapers, so let’s go room-by-room, starting low at a dog’s eye view and working up.
The kitchen is full of potential targets, and since it’s a typical go-to canine holding space it needs a thorough safety sweep. Use child-proof locks for any cabinets that contain household cleaners, like under the sink. Take a second look at your garbage can. Does it have a lid? Is it easy to tip over? If possible, move tempting garbage and recycling cans behind a closed door. Remove dangling hand towels and tablecloths, and temporarily roll up area rugs. Consider spraying the legs of your table and chairs with a chew deterrent spray like bitter apple. Not all kitchen temptations are low; keep your counters free of paperwork and food so that your dog never learns to counter surf for goodies.
Secure any electrical cords by investing in a “cable management” kit that houses bundles of cords in a protective jacket, or use heavy tape to secure them to the underside of furniture. Dog proof further by putting decorative throw pillows and blankets with tempting fringe away. Keep remote controls on a high shelf. (Remotes are irresistible to most dogs for some reason!) Relocate potted plants, as many pups can’t resist practicing their digging skills. (Plus some plants like asparagus fern and Bird of Paradise are poisonous to dogs.) Reconsider your decorative basket on the floor filled with magazines and newspapers … not only are the contents intriguing for most dogs, but the basket itself also presents a major chewing temptation!
Keep laundry off the floor and keep shoes in the closet with the doors shut. Put your decorative throw pillows back on your bed in the morning, as the pile could become a target for chewing or elimination. Clean out under your bed, or block access so that your puppy can’t get underneath. (Some puppies like to rip up the lining on the bottom of the bed.) Keep drawers completely closed. Watch out for loose change, safety pins or medications that might have fallen out of your pockets, as a curious dog might swallow it.
You’ll have to be particularly careful if you plan to keep your dog in the bathroom when you aren’t home. Dog proof the bathroom by using child-proof locks for the cabinets under the vanity so your dog can’t get into the toiletries. Close the toilet lid and put the bath tissue in a high spot so that your puppy can’t grab it. Consider moving the bathroom garbage (which is particularly tempting since dogs are intrigued by things we consider gross), toilet brush, and plunger to a secure location like a closet. Place soap, shampoo and razors on a caddy in the shower instead of the ledge of the tub.
It’s not easy to contain the mess of this catch-all room, but it’s necessary. Keep laundry and shoes off the floor or in a secure location, and close the door on dryers and front load washers. Lock up chemical cleaners. Relocate coats hanging on hooks, and close the closet door.
You can narrow your dog’s “target zone” in your home by using baby gates to keep your dog in sanctioned spaces. There are now a variety of gates for open plan homes that have wide doorways, so there’s no excuse to let your untrained dog wander through the house! Making your home puppy proof is a challenging part of dog guardianship, but it’s a temporary inconvenience that can save your shoes, and just might save your dog’s life.