How to Dog-Proof Your Home
Our room-to-room guide to get your house in dog-safe shape.
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Adopting a new dog, especially a puppy, isn’t like bringing home a baby — it’s like having a curious toddler who’s itching to sniff, claw, and nibble their way into every nook and cranny of your home.
If you’re lucky, you may have a naturally chill dog or you may be able to crate-train them and end up with a dog who’s content not chewing lamp cords or eating the bag of chocolate chips on the kitchen table. But even with the best-behaved dog, you’ll likely need to do some degree of pet-proofing in your home, at least at the beginning.
Dog-proofing isn’t about creating impossible challenges for your dog to defeat (hey, they might just think: Challenge, accepted!). And it’s not really about protecting your property either, no matter how much you love that vintage rug. It’s about safeguarding what’s truly important: your dog.
Use this list to dog-proof your house from top to bottom — and keep your pup safe and sound.
Food is the biggie here. Keep it off the counters as much as possible, and keep cabinets closed to be sure that snooping dogs don’t get tempted. But you’ll want to look beyond food, too, as it’s not just cookies or bacon that will have your pup lunging for the counter: Dogs have been known to eat all sorts of small items like twisty ties, bread clips, and even sponges, so make sure to tuck small objects away in cabinets or drawers. And always store knives and other sharp utensils safely.
It might be a small space, but hazards abound in the bathroom. There’s a lot to pet-proof here, especially if you’ve got a mischievous dog. Keep cleaning supplies, medication, and vitamins secured away. Other common hazards in many households include hair ties and other loose accessories; store them up high and safely away from pets.
Your dog might think an open washer or dryer looks like a cozy place to curl up for a nap. So keep the doors to both shut anytime you’re not loading or unloading clothes. And stash laundry detergent (especially the pod variety) and fabric softener on a high shelf or tucked away where your dog can’t reach them.
They may just look like boring rubber cords to you, but those cords from lamps, the TV, and other electronics could very well entice your dog to get to gnawing. It is a good idea to cover or tuck them all out of sight. Move children’s toys, small valuables, and any other loose ends out of sight of your pets. While open windows are an excellent way to let in the breeze, don’t leave them open while you’re away. Dogs can (and will!) jump through screens if a bird or squirrel is tempting them from the other side.
The room where you snooze is generally safe, but loose socks can be a real hazard if you have a dog who eats everything. Put away laundry, and if you have a low dresser, make sure loose change or other small objects are contained.
To completely dog-proof your whole house, get on all fours and think outside the box! Pets can get into all sorts of things, from rubber bands to plastic bags to items that may never cross your mind. While these dangers might not be an issue for all animals, it just takes a moment of curiosity for them to cause an emergency for your pet. Get down and look at the world from your dog’s point of view to see what could be a potential hazard in your home.
There are no stupid questions...well, when it comes to your dog’s health.
Without turning your home into a circus.
Daniela Lopez is a digital media specialist and long-time contributor to The Bark.