Whether you’re starting to think about adopting a dog or you already have one, there are at least a couple of things we can do to make our home friendly and safe for our fur babies. Here are some tips, with a checklist, for you to make your house dog-proof.

How does your dog see your house?

Is your dog big or small, tall or short? Get down to your dog’s line of vision and see what your place looks from there: what’s reachable and what’s not, are there any obstacles, are there dangerous things within the dog’s reach, or are there any valuable things that your dog might find a little too exciting? Once you've identified some problematic aspects, remove the things your dog should not have access to. Here are some specific things you might want to double-check in every room of your house.

Living room checklist
  • If you have a fireplace, use a fireplace screen to limit access
  • Mount or anchor furniture and heavy items so there’s less of a chance they can be tipped over
  • Unplug and put away cords of the devices that are not in use or buy a cord organizer to permanently keep them out of reach
  • Use window locks or keep windows closed when your pet can access the room
  • Only keep pet-safe plants in your home (and outside if your pets go outside)
  • If you like to have flower arrangements, keep them in short, heavy ceramic vases instead of tall glass ones
  • Limit the number of decorative items and things kept on low shelves, coffee tables, and windowsills
  • Opt for decorative items (carpets, rugs, cushions, etc.) without tassels, sequins, buttons, and other small pieces a dog might chew off
  • Regularly tidy up the living room space, and put toys, books, and other items where they belong
  • If you tend to have small items in your living room (kid’s toys, Lego, puzzles you’re working on), put those items in bins, baskets, or other temporary storage so that fewer such items are available even when they’re not put away
Bedroom checklist
  • Keep drawers and closets closed, use child-proof locks if necessary
  • Place laundry in the laundry basket so that there are no items scattered on the floor and furniture; to make things easy
  • Keep items that a dog can chew on (shoes, bags, belts, etc.), as well as any small accessories, inside the closets and drawers
  • Do not use mothballs as they are toxic to pets, instead, use cedar chips
Kitchen checklist
  • Keep the cabinets with medications, cleaning supplies, detergents, household chemicals, herbs, seasonings, and spices locked. Additionally, keep all of the items inside the cabinets in bins with tight lids or otherwise unreachable
  • Don’t leave food items on the counters when you’re not able to supervise them; when reasonable, keep food items in containers with lids
  • Use child-proof locks on cabinet doors and lower cabinets
  • Don't let the garbage overflow; keep it closed trash containers with a pedal mechanism which is safer for pets
  • Install a gate to prevent access to the kitchen
Bathroom checklist
  • Keep the toilet lid closed, install a seat lock
  • Keep trash in a closed container, with a pedal mechanism
  • Put away bath toys, loofahs, sponges, washcloths, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies
  • Do not leave electric devices on the counters in the bathroom (curling irons, blow dryers, razors, etc.); unplug devices and appliances that are not in use and put the cords away
  • Keep toilet paper and paper tissues in containers with lids or closed cabinets
Laundry room checklist
  • Keep laundry in the laundry basket, don’t leave laundry scattered around
  • Keep detergents and cleaning supplies stored away, in baskets with lids or locked cabinets
  • Keep the doors of the washing machine and dryer closed
  • Do not leave electric racks unsupervised
Yard checklist
  • Once again, make sure the plants inside and outside of your house are pet-safe
  • Put away gardening tools and lawn equipment
  • Check that your fence is high enough to keep your dog safely inside the yard, check for holes and broken-off pieces, and make sure that the doors close tightly and the locks work
  • If you have balconies, terraces, and other high places accessible to your pets, use pet safety netting and gap blockers to prevent falls
  • Prevent access to the swimming pool by installing a fence, gate, and/or cover
While all of these safety measures might sound excessive, they will make your house safer for your pets, kids, and yourself. A lot of safety measures are based on limiting your pet’s access to places and things, so in addition, create “yes-spaces” for your pet where they are free to play, roam, and rest. Observe your pet and how they choose their favorite spots in the house. Turn those spots into comfortable, fun places filled with your dog’s favorite things: a soft bed, chew toys, and a plushie. This will make your house feel welcoming and pleasant for your pet to be in, so they hopefully don’t go looking for trouble in other spaces.
December 30, 2022