Dogs have a talent for getting into trouble. Whether it’s chewing on your brand new shoes or curling up in your clean laundry after a mud bath, dogs will always find a way to test their owner’s patience. Dogs are naturally curious and experience the world through their powerful sense of smell. This can occasionally get them into trouble as certain dangerous items can seem almost irresistible to dogs and puppies. Dog-proofing your home is essential for your pet’s safety. The following list of common household items should be kept out of your dog’s reach at all times.
1. Human food
Most dogs are experts at scrounging a few scraps from the dinner table. Twitching noses, pleading eyes and marathon staring contests are all powerful weapons that a dog can use to win your leftovers. Whilst the occasional morsel will not usually harm your dog, there are certain foods that should never be given under any circumstances. Chocolate contains a chemical known as theobromine that is highly toxic to dogs. It cannot be broken down or digested and can cause intestinal problems, seizures, tremors and even death. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Other dangerous foods are onions, avocado, tomatoes and raw eggs. Though, there are human foods that are good for your dog.
2. Cleaning products
Sweet smelling chemicals such as window cleaner, furniture polish, bathroom cleaner and certain types of chlorine are considered delicious treats to a dog. They will lap up any spilled chemicals or those that are sprayed onto surfaces within reach. Always wipe any excess chemicals from your surfaces immediately and allow the area to dry before letting your dog back into the room. Store all chemicals out of reach in a high cupboard.
Certain types of plants can be extremely toxic if your dog ingests them. Poinsettias, mistletoe, chrysanthemum and amaryllis can cause fatal poisoning in a relatively short amount of time. Always seek medical help immediately if you think your dog may have eaten any of these.
4. Insecticide and Rodenticide
Rat, mouse and cockroach poison has a pleasing taste in order to attract whatever type of pest you are dealing with. Unfortunately, it can also attract hungry dogs. The plastic casing around the poison will not be enough to keep out a determined dog. Only place poison in places that your dog cannot access such as behind furniture, in crawl spaces or attics.
Both human and animal medication can be dangerous to your pet if they ingest a large amount. Some medications may even have a sugar coating on the outside of the pill making them seem like sweets. Always store pills and other medicines safely out of reach in a medicine cabinet or a first aid kit. Take care when throwing medicines in the garbage if your dog has a habit of stealing food from there.
Fertiliser available from garden centres often contains added insecticide and herbicide. If your dog spends hours rolling around on freshly fertilised grass, it may cause skin irritation or harm their eyes and nasal passages. Some dogs might even enjoy the taste and eat it straight off the ground. Always use organic fertiliser to be safe.
If your dog has a habit of swallowing small items, heavy metals such as coins must never be left unattended. Pennies are made of mostly zinc which can destroy red blood cells leading to anaemia when swallowed. Your dog may even have to undergo surgery in order to remove the coin.
8. Electrical cables
Tape all electrical cables securely to the wall, or collect them together in a cable tidy. You can also purchase a foul-tasting spray that will deter dogs from chewing on your cables. Take extra care when leaving your dog alone in the house as chewing through live cables can create a fire hazard and possibly electrocute your dog.
Chemicals such as anti-freeze, sink and drain un-blocker, and paint thinner may seem like awful, smelly substances to you, but they can be like honey to dogs. Anti-freeze in particular has a sweet taste and can cause organ failure and death within a short period.
Dogs cannot tell the difference between a plate full of fresh food and the garbage can as both are equally appetising. Dogs will often wolf down anything they find to avoid getting caught. This includes small pieces of broken glass, sharp bones and out-of-date products.
Keeping your dog safe from themselves is part of the responsibility of being a good owner. Despite years of rigorous training, some dogs can never seem to break the habit of eating strange items and the larger breeds are generally more prone to this. If you suspect your dog has become poisoned, rush them to a vet immediately. Bring along the bottle or packaging of the substance they have eaten to allow the vet to administer the correct emergency treatment.