Just like baby-proofing, dog-proofing our homes is essential to keeping our loved ones safe. Dogs are naturally curious, and if given the opportunity, will explore any and every area of the home. By making several adjustments around the house, you can help prevent choking hazards, electrocution and maybe even the loss of your pet. Here's 5 tips to dog-proof your home.

1. Use Baby Gates or a Kennel

Let’s get real: You can’t be everywhere at once, and you can’t foresee every possible item, nook and cranny your pup might get into. To make your life much easier, use baby gates or a kennel to limit your dog’s movement and exposure to potentially harmful areas of the home. This approach is especially useful when it comes to new rescues and puppies.

2. Keep Everything That’s Not For Your Dog Out of Reach

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many household items pose a threat to your dog. Things you might not normally worry about could actually be life threatening. For example, we all know to keep foods that are poisonous to our pups out of reach—like chocolate and grapes—but did you know dog-safe foods can be just as dangerous? The internet is littered with sad stories of pet owners losing their fur babies to food packaging materials, like chip bags and snack wrappers. Moral of the story: We can never be too careful when it comes to our pets.

While the list is seemingly infinite, here are some tips for keeping common household items away from your dog:

  • Organize your home, and do your very best to keep it free of clutter (trinkets and other little decorative items are common choking hazards)
  • Consider installing child-proof latches on all cabinets
  • Always keep toilet lids closed
  • Keep alcohol and tobacco products out of reach
  • Batteries are commonly lethal if ingested, keep them stored in a firmly sealed container or drawer
  • Verify that all houseplants are pet-safe and non-toxic if ingested
  • Keep lotions, cosmetics and other beauty products off sinks and out of reach
  • Keep toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and other toiletries out of reach
  • Never leave laundry items and shoes within reach of your pup (strings and buttons are common choking hazards)
  • Organize and pick up kids' toys immediately
  • Keep all foods and food packaging off counter tops and out of reach
  • Store medications in tightly closed, out-of-reach places
  • Properly cover or fence off fireplaces
  • Give your dog chew toys to prevent them from chewing on household items
  • Replace household chemicals—such as cleaners, detergents and pesticides—with non-toxic alternatives. Naturally sourced insecticides are a good choice, as are brands like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s and Method when it comes to cleaners and soaps

3. Cover and Latch Your Trash Can

Dumpster diving for goodies can easily make your pup sick. To avoid this problem, purchase a trash can your dog can’t get into—such as a sturdy metal option, or one with a latch or lock. If you’ve got an especially curious and willful dog, choosing a trash can you can store under the sink or in a cabinet might be your best bet.

4. Organize Cables and Wires

Electrical cords and wires are some of the household’s most dangerous items when it comes to pets. From Blu ray players and televisions to lamps and computers, our homes are filled with these electrocution hazards. Properly organizing or covering cables (and electrical outlets) could save your pup a burnt mouth and a scary visit to the vet. For more tips on pet-proofing household cables and wires, click here.

5. Dog-Proof the Garage and Yard, Too

People often ignore the garage and yard when dog-proofing their homes, assuming they can easily control their pup’s access to these areas. But as seasoned pet owners know, dogs have a way of getting into almost anything at one point or another. Here’s some things you should definitely address:

  • Keep the garage floor clean and free of clutter, especially with regard to chemicals like antifreeze and oil
  • Store all chemicals and other hazardous liquids in high out-of-reach places
  • Store all tools and other sharp objects in high out-of-reach places
  • Verify that all garden plants are pet-safe and non-toxic if ingested
  • Switch from chemical-based yard treatments and pesticides to non-toxic, naturally sourced alternatives
  • Check your gates and fencing for holes your pet could use to exit the yard
  • Secure open water areas like pools and spas (these are serious drowning hazards for pets)
Corinna Henderson