How to Dog Proof Your Home

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Who here doesn’t love those adorable furballs that look at you with those puppy eyes you can’t resist? And yet at the same time, we know that getting a furry friend means that there are some parts of our house that we need to secure from them so we can keep them safe from potential hazards and other possible dangers. Dogs, after all, can be quite curious creatures sometimes, sniffing around and exploring every nook, and cranny that they find.

Dogs, and other pets, in general, can get into almost everything–from the bathroom to the office, from the kitchen and even the garbage cans. Your home might have items that seem perfectly fine and normal to you, but to your pet, they are dangerous and might cause harm.

Naturally, the first rule when it comes to dog-proofing your home is to keep small objects and other items that can be easily chewed or digested out of their way. You can either keep them up and out of reach, or store them in containers that the dogs can’t chew into or bite open.

Second, it would be good if you could set up a designated space for your dog, especially if you live in an apartment or smaller house. That way, you’ll be able to set up their bed and toys there and your dogs will know that it’s their own little place.

Did you know: Most dogs like having their own space, where they feel safe and comfortable. It’s their way of zoning out for a while, and get some rest before they’ll get back to their happy selves!

However, dogs still do tend to roam around and go from room to room, their curiosity prompting them to sniff around and even chew on whatever they see and think looks good. This need will increase, if you don’t make sure your dog gets properly stimulated and exercised throughout the day. But some dogs just can’t help themselves, or maybe they are just becoming unruly teenagers!

Check out some of the practical tips per room that you, as a fur parent, can apply as you make your home dog proof:

Living Room

Dog and owner cuddling on a couch
Most dogs love hanging out near their two-legged family, and usually they are in the living room. So the dog is too.

While it might seem like there isn’t much danger in the living room, there are quite a number of items and things to look out for when you try to dog proof your home.

Some coffee table centerpieces contain pebbles that are hard and small and can easily be swallowed by your dog. Either secure them in such a way that the dog won’t get to it, or remove it completely.

Some houses also contain potted plants that the dogs might want to play with. Make sure that the plants aren’t harmful or poisonous to the dog, and that they won’t tilt the pot and play with (or even eat!) the soil.

Cord protector
A cord protector gathers your cords and makes it easier to keep them out of sight and reach for your dog.

Keep up toys (unless they belong to your dog), arts and crafts materials (like knitting needles), and other items that they are most likely to chew or choke on. Make sure wires and electrical cords aren’t visible because chewing on a cord that is plugged to an electrical outlet can electrocute your pet. You can also opt to use some cord protectors to wrap around your wires so your dog won’t be tempted to nibble on those. These can also be used if you have other small animals running around your house, such as cats and bunnies (you might want to check out our article on how to bunny proof your home for some additional inspiration).

It is also good to put a screen in front of your fireplace (if you have one) because its dancing flames might look fascinating to your furry friends, but flames and flying ashes can actually harm them. Be sure to check that your air and other heating vents have their covers properly placed, too.

If you’re not in the room to keep a watchful eye on your dog all the time, or are even going to leave the house for a bit, it’s best to keep all doors and windows closed because something might send your dog hurtling out of your house and into the street. If your house is surrounded by a fenced yard, it’s good to let your dog out, but just for safety precautions, if you can’t keep an eye on your dog, make sure they stay safely inside.

Dining Room/Kitchen

A dog laying in a combined dining room/kitchen
While it might not seem like a place full of dangers, there’s still a risk something could happen if your dining room/kitchen isn’t properly dog proof.

No doubt, your dog will always follow its nose and find itself in the kitchen, especially when you are cooking delicious food!

Be sure, however, not to feed your dog just anything, even if you can’t resist that woebegone look in those puppy eyes.

Foods that are usually a taboo for dogs include but are not limited to the following: Chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, onion and garlic, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Before you feed your dog something other than its dog food, it would be good if you could do a quick search as some dogs can eat some kinds of food while others cannot.

Dog proof trash can
You can get a trash can with a side lock, so your dog can’t go through the trash and make a mess out of it.

Of course, it’s important to keep sharp objects away as well, such as knives, scissors, and other little things that might be easily swallowed. It would also be good to invest in trash cans that have secure locks, just so that your dog won’t get to it. (You can check out this Kitchen Step Trash Can with Secure Side Lock.)

Some fur parents opt to put a little fence or gate between their kitchen and the rest of their house as they are cooking. That way, your dog won’t get underfoot or try to nibble everything that happens to drop onto the floor. Here are some good ones we found:

Bathrooms and Laundry Area

Funny dog brushing teeth while laying down outside
While most dogs should have their teeth cleaned once in a while, they shouldn’t be allowed to do it on their own…

Obviously, items like medications, soap, tooth brushes, cleaning items, detergents, bleach, and the like are not things your dog should be sniffing around and sampling. They are most definitely dangerous if eaten and swallowed by your beloved fur friend.

Other items, like socks and smaller pieces of cloth (handkerchiefs, towels) can be dangerous too if your dog happens to chew and swallow them. As much as possible, keep your washers and dryers closed, and your baskets with clean or dirty laundry with a cover on top of them. You can check out some of these great laundry hampers:

White ABS laundry hamper with a lid
A simple laundry hamper like this one from Sterilite, may prevent your dog from chewing your laundry up.

It’s also good to close (or drain) sinks, tubs, and other containers filled with water in case a wandering dog should happen to wander in and fall into one of them. Make sure that you keep your toilet closed as well, to prevent dogs from drinking harmful chemicals.

Dogs can be quite clever when it comes to opening cabinets, so if you have one in your bathroom, you might want to put a special kind of lock. Amazon sells some cabinet locks that are both childproof and dog proof, especially for those cabinets that can be easily reached by your dog (these work great in the kitchen too!).

Bedrooms

Labrador laying on a bed with a set of headphones
Dogs in bedrooms could make a lot of trouble, especially if there’s a lot of small items lying around on the floors, under the bed, etc.

It’s no big secret that a puppy’s favorite item to chew on is its master’s bedroom slippers. Those soft fluffy things are just your dog’s comfort item to hang on to. Don’t worry, this isn’t necessarily the most dangerous item, but other things in your bedroom might be. Plus, you might not want your dogs chewing on other things, like your favorite pair of walking shoes.

Just to be sure, make it a point to always keep your bedroom floor clean and to pick up any jewelry, hairpins, ponytail bands, and other small accessories, and put them in a place where your dog can’t reach. Clear your bedside table of other items that your dog might find interesting and start ingesting. For the shoes and other items that you want to secure, buy storage boxes that your dog can’t chew on, such as these White Sterilite Storage Boxes with Clear Base.

Some bedroom cabinets contain mothballs which is a toxic hazard to your beloved pet. Make sure to keep your cabinet door closed and the mothballs out of reach. It’s also good to check if they might have wandered in and are sleeping in your closets or drawers before you shut them.

Office/Library

Employees petting a dog at an office
A dog can be beneficial for the work environment, but it’s important that you dog proof the place beforehand.

It’s always fun to do work with a beloved pup by your side. It sure takes the stress away, but you’ve got to be careful with the things you have lying around your office or library.

Did you know: According to TIME, 8 percent of all US businesses allow their employees to bring their dogs to their workplace!

Make sure to keep up small items, such as batteries, paper clips, staple wires, rubber bands, and even buttons. These are hazardous if they are chewed and swallowed by your dog. If you are also into arts and crafts make sure sharp objects (scissors, cutters, and the like) are all kept up and out of reach. Plastic bags can be dangerous and cause suffocation as well in case a dog gets tangled in them.

To get started you can check out some of these desk organizers with covers that will help you keep your items and keep them out of harm’s way from your dogs:

The good thing about making sure your home is dog proof is that it helps you accomplish one other thing: tidying up your place. Getting a dog makes you more conscious of the items that you have lying around. Dog proofing your home request that you make wiser decisions about where you put your stuff and also requires that you make an extra effort to clean and put things away as well. What’s important, however, is keeping your dog safe (as well as other important things safe from your dog) and in the end, you’ll get a neater, even better-looking, house.