11 Easy Ways To Dog-Proof Your Home

dog proof home

Dog-proofing your home is essential for your pet’s safety and your peace of mind. Doing so can prevent many unfortunate and dangerous incidents from happening at home.

Key steps include securing trash cans to prevent access to harmful items, storing food properly to avoid ingestion of toxic foods, and removing or securing toxic plants.

Additionally, managing electrical cords and securing small, breakable objects can prevent choking hazards and injuries.

Installing pet gates, keeping windows closed, using dog-friendly cleaning products, fencing your yard, securing your pool and focusing on training and behavior management can help ensure a safe environment for your dog.

This guide outlines 17 simple yet effective ways to make your home safe and comfortable for your furry friend.

1. Secure Trash Cans

dog digging in trash

It’s essential to keep trash cans out of your dog’s reach. Dogs are known for their curiosity and tendency to explore.

They are often attracted to the smell and contents of trash cans, which can contain harmful or indigestible items.

Consider using trash cans with locking mechanisms or heavy lids that a dog cannot easily open

I once caught my dog eating some spoiled meat from the trash can that I forgot to close.

Thankfully he walked away unscathed with a belly full of ‘not so fresh’ meat.

Talking about lids, always keep your toilet lid closed.

You don’t want your dog licking your face after it has just drank from the toilet bowl.

If you have a dog that can knock the trash can over to get to the contents, place the bin in a latched cabinet.

This not only keeps your dog safe but also helps in maintaining cleanliness at home.

2. Store Food Properly

We won’t hesitate to throw away food that has gone bad in the bin. But what about unfinished food or fresh food?

It is easy to leave food or snacks lying around the house without realizing that they can be hazardous to your dog.

Here are some food items that are very toxic to dogs:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Alcohol
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Caffeine

You might feel that it is fine to leave your food unattended for a minute. But your dog has been eyeing your plate ever since the aroma tickled its palate.

Here are some ways to keep your edible food safe from your dog.

Use High Shelves

Put your food in cabinets that are high up. Dogs can’t reach these places, unlike cats.

This is where I usually keep my dry stuff such as biscuits, chips, doritos, etc.

It helps me to snack less too.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Lock Lower Cabinets

Be careful when storing food in lower cabinets that are within your dog’s reach.

Some dogs are capable of opening them and getting to what’s inside.

Make sure to install a cabinet lock if you have a dog with thieving paws.

Use Strong Containers

For food you can’t store away, use containers with tight-sealing lids. These containers need to be strong so your dog can’t chew through them.

I always keep my garlic and onions in strong airtight containers at home.

Keep Counters Clear

If you have a habit of leaving your food on the counter, be careful of the ‘Counter Top Surfer’.

Most dogs might not be as nimble as cats but food is a strong motivator for them.

Don’t be surprised to find your dog eating your food on the kitchen counter.

Use a food cover if you need to leave your food items on the counter for some time.

Related Article: Guide For New Dog Owners

3. Removing Toxic Plants

dog sitting next to wheat grass

Plants are a great way to add some zen and color to your home.

However, dog owners are not aware that many common houseplants and garden plants can be toxic to dogs.

The ingestion of toxic plants can cause symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

It’s important to find and either remove or secure these plants to stop accidental eating.

Identifying Toxic Plants

Start by researching which of your indoor or/and outdoor plants are harmful to dogs.

Common toxic plants include lilies, sago palms, azaleas, and oleander.

The ASPCA offers a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to dogs, which can be a valuable resource.

Keep in mind that some plants might be seasonal.

So your inspection routine should account for changes in your garden or houseplant collection throughout the year.

Removing Or Securing Plants

If you have houseplants that are known to be toxic, the safest course of action is to remove them entirely.

But if you’re particularly fond of certain plants, you can place them in areas where your dog can’t reach them or in rooms that are always closed off.

In your garden, remove or securely fence off any plants that are toxic to dogs.

Give extra care to plants at your dog’s eye level or those that drop leaves or berries your dog could easily swallow.

Don’t freak out if you see your dog chewing on grass in your garden though. Some dogs eat grass for various health reasons.

A better alternative would be to grow cat grass at home for your dog to chew on instead. This type of grass is safe for both dogs and cats to consume.

4. Managing Electrical Cords

Dogs explore the world with their mouths and have an instinctual urge to chew. This can sometimes lead them to chew on inappropriate items like electrical cords.

This behavior is common in young dogs and even adults.

Chewing on electrical cords not only poses a risk of electric shock to the dog but can also lead to damaged appliances and potential fire hazards in the home.

Here’s how you can keep your dog safe from electrical cords.

Identifying Risk Areas

Thoroughly walk through your home and identify where electrical cords that your dog can have access to.

Common areas include living rooms, studies, and bedrooms. It is usually the TV console area that tends to have the most number of cords going all over the place.

Securing Electrical Cords

Start by concealing cords behind furniture or under the carpet, especially those that remain plugged in.

Additionally, invest in cord protectors or covers. These are readily available online and are inexpensive.

These protectors encase the cords in chew-proof material and are often designed to be unattractive for dogs to chew on.

Hiding and covering cords keeps your dog safe and extends the life of your electronics.

If you need to protect your cord in a pinch, spray some apple cider vinegar or white vinegar on it. The smell and taste of vinegar are strong enough to put your dog off.

And don’t worry, it is safe for dogs.

5. Secure Small And Breakable Objects

Regularly inspect your floors and surfaces for any small items that may have been dropped or left out.

Securing small objects at home can help to prevent choking hazards.

Curious dogs can easily swallow small items like coins, batteries, or other tiny objects.

It’s important to keep such items stored safely out of your dog’s reach.

Regularly inspect your floors and surfaces for any small items that may have been dropped or left out.

One thing that I like to do is get on all floors and just scan the area at that level. We are much taller than our dogs hence our field of vision is different from theirs.

By seeing things from your dog’s line of sight, you can start to get a better idea of what needs to be kept away.

I once fostered a dog that ate my AirPods. Thankfully he was able to pass it out without the need for surgery.

Here’s another tip.

For dog breeds with long fluffy tails such as Golden Retrievers and Huskies, anything that is fragile at their tail level should be removed.

One swipe of your dog’s tail and there goes your favorite vase or porcelain figurine.

6. Install Pet Gates

Installing gates at home helps restrict your dog’s access to specific areas.

This is particularly useful in homes with stairs, kitchens, or rooms with fragile items.

Gates can also help manage young puppies or dogs that are still in training. This provides a controlled environment where they can learn boundaries within the home.

Choose The Correct Gate

When selecting the right gate, it’s important to consider three key factors.

  • Height and sturdiness
  • Locking mechanism
  • Ease of use

Choose gates that are tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over and strong enough to resist any pushing or leaning.

The locking mechanism is also crucial.

Opt for gates that have a secure lock to prevent your dog from accidentally opening them. This adds an extra layer of safety and reliability.

Finally, consider the ease of use for the household members.

Gates that are user-friendly and have a simple latch system, make daily life more convenient.

Train Your Dog

It’s important to create a positive association with the gates for your dog.

Give treats or praise when your dog behaves calmly around the gates.

This approach eases your dog into accepting the gates and also reinforces good behavior,

Be sure to supervise your dog closely when it is near the gate to make sure it doesn’t try to jump over or push through.

Related Article: 12 Must-Know Dog Training Tips For Beginners

7. Keep Your Windows Closed

puppy at window

Many dog owners tend to overlook the dangers of opened windows in the dog-proofing process.

Whether you live in a multi-story apartment or a single-floor residence, the potential dangers from open windows to a curious or playful dog are real.

An open window can easily pose as an escape route or falling hazard for a dog small enough to squeeze through it.

If keeping the windows closed all day isn’t an option, install window grills, nettings or mesh.

Such an installation allows for ventilation and protects your dog at the same time.

8. Use Dog-Friendly Cleaning Products

Dog-proofing your home also includes being mindful of the cleaning products you use.

Dogs are vulnerable to the dangers posed by common household cleaners.

These products often contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets, especially dogs as they are frequently in close contact with the surface.

Choose Dog-Safe Products

You should carefully read labels and choose products that are specifically marked as pet-safe or non-toxic.

These products are designed to be effective for cleaning while being pet-safe.

Natural cleaning alternatives like vinegar, baking soda or mild dish soap can be excellent choices too.

It is best to avoid cleaning agents that contain harmful ingredients such as:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Glycol ethers
  • Formaldehyde

These substances can cause adverse reactions such as including respiratory issues and chemical burns.

When in doubt, always opt for the safest, most natural cleaning solutions to ensure your dog’s safety.

Safe Cleaning Practices

If you do need to use cleaning solutions that aren’t pet-friendly, it’s essential to ensure proper ventilation.

Opening windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate helps in reducing the concentration of harmful fumes.

This minimizes the inhalation of chemical odors and reduces the risk of irritation.

Keep your dog away from these spaces until the surfaces are completely dry and free from any harmful residues.

This precaution prevents your dog from ingesting any remaining chemical solution on the surface.

Make sure to store all cleaning products in secure cabinets or high shelves out of your dog’s reach.

9. Fence Up Your Yard

A well-constructed fence acts as a barrier against hazards such as cars or aggressive animals.

It also provides a safe space for your dog to enjoy the outdoors without constant supervision.

Fencing up your yard prevents your dog from wandering off and getting lost.

Choose The Right Fence

It’s important to choose a fence that’s tall and sturdy enough for your dog’s size and breed. This stops your dog from knocking down or jumping over the fences.

In terms of material, the most common options are wood, vinyl or metal.

Wood fences offer privacy, vinyl is low-maintenance, and chain-link provides visibility.

Securing The Perimeter

Dogs love to dig so reinforce the base of the fence by burying it into the ground or adding an underground barrier made of chicken wire.

Opt for gates equipped with secure latches that your dog cannot manipulate. Self-closing gates come in very handy too.

10. Secure Your Pool

dog in swimming pool

Securing your backyard pool is another way of dog-proofing your home. Dogs vary greatly in their swimming abilities and instincts.

A Labrador will feel at home in the water while a Bulldog will struggle to stay afloat.

Consider using robust safety covers and installing alarms.

A sturdy safety cover is essential when the pool is not in use. It should be large enough to cover the entire pool and support your dog’s weight.

Installing pool alarms adds an extra layer of security.

These alarms are designed to detect disturbances on the water’s surface and can alert you if your dog falls into the pool.

11. Training And Behavior Management

You can have the best dog-proofed home in the world but if your dog isn’t well trained, it can still get into a lot of trouble.

Basic obedience training involving commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘leave it’, is crucial for maintaining control in various situations.

For instance, the ‘stay’ command can prevent a dog from running into a busy street.

While ‘leave it’ can stop them from picking up potentially harmful objects.

Establishing clear rules and boundaries within the home is vital for a dog’s understanding of their environment.

Rules like no jumping on furniture or not entering certain rooms can help protect your dog from potential hazards.

Leave a Comment