Anything you consider household hazards for an infant or small child are also dangerous for your dog.
Electrical cords, plastic bags, small items on the floor, steep stairs and sharp objects protruding from walls can harm your dog.
What’s the best way to find household hazards that can take your dog’s life?
Do a "dog’s eye view" inspection of your home. Look at things the way they do. View the world from their perspective. In basic at knee height.
Get down on your knees and look under the beds, sofas and chairs. Open floor-level cupboards and check what’s in them.
Check how steep the stairs are for an animal with much shorter legs than yours.
Dogs, especially puppies, love to chew. As omnivores, they’ll eat just about anything. They can also be single-minded when it comes to getting a favorite toy from some tight space. Naturally they are inquisitive as well. An intriguing scent will have them trying to open a cupboard door to find the source, or tearing open a gift of chocolate from within its box.
Knowing these characteristics can help you see household hazards that you might normally overlook.
Check the list below of household products/hazards and see what you might be able to do to reduce or eliminate their danger to your dog.
As important as it is to know what to do during a emergency , and how to do it, it’s possibly far more important to avoid the situations that put dogs at risk. Prevention is always and always will be far better than cure.
Electrical cords present a life-threatening danger to your dog. Especially if they likes to chew, and especially if they likes to chew anything that resembles an electrical cord (like their lead, or a rope), they are at risk of electrocution.
There are four ways to deal with these household hazards. They are best used in combination.
First, keep cords out of her reach. Do not run them along the floor. Suspend them at least six inches from the floor. Your dog is much less likely to stand and chew a cord than she is to lie down and enjoy a “teething session” with it.
Second, use a bitter-tasting spray on all electrical cords that she can, or might be able to, reach. These products are nontoxic, yet make anything they are sprayed on unpalatable to animals.
I also recommend these sprays for toxic houseplants and anything else you want to keep her from chewing.
Third, unplug cords when the appliances or tools are not in use. This is the least effective of the three in terms of keeping your dog safe all the time. She may become used to chewing on a cord while it is unplugged, then one day chew on it when it’s plugged in.
Fourth, give her a few things to chew on. She’ll enjoy a squeaky toy, a tennis ball, and a cornstarch bone. Praise her when she chews on these items and she’ll soon prefer them to cords and other dangerous household hazards items.
Outdoor electrical cords are greater household hazards because typically they are left lying on the ground where your dog can easily reach them and chew on them.
Once again reduce the danger by keeping them off the ground whenever possible, spraying them with a bitter spray, unplugging them when not in use, and keeping your dog in a fenced run or tied up when you use electrical tools and appliances outside.
If you have the time for a more effective “cure,” you can train your dog not to chew, or even approach, electrical cords.
This is an attention-intensive process, as you’ll have to observe them whenever they are awake. Be alert to “quiet” times. They may simply be asleep, but they may also have found something new to enjoy.
Combine some or all of these techniques to ensure that they never succumbs to these indoor and outdoor household hazards.
Have you ever tried to separate two layers of clingy plastic, like the type your dry cleaning comes in?
They seem to stick like they’re glued together. That is the danger of these plastics when it comes to small children and your dog. Plastic bags left where they can reach them pose a household hazards grave risk of asphyxiation to your dog. You might not think they would be interested in a lump of plastic. That may be so, but what if their favorite ball rolls inside the bag. They might go right in there after it. Once in there, and the plastic settles over their snout, they may begin to panic and struggle, which will make it worse for them.
There’s a very easy way to avoid these household hazards. Immediately after use, put all plastic bags in a secure place if you want to keep them, or in the rubbish if they are no longer needed. And keep the rubbish bin lid securely fastened to the bin.
Your dog learns about many things with their mouth, or, more accurately, by putting things in their mouth. They learn about the size, shape, texture, taste, and whether they can be chewed or not. They do not learn whether they should be swallowed or not. More often than not, once the item is in their mouth, it will be swallowed.
Just about any small object is fair game for your pet. Buttons, coins, small stones, game pieces, bugs — if will fit in their mouth, it will likely end up in their mouth. The danger lies in the swallowing.
If the object is small enough, they will swallow it without choking or obstructing their airway (of course, then they might run the risk of a GI tract obstruction).
A little bit bigger, and the object may become stuck. If it’s not too big, they may be able to gag or retch it back up. Some objects, however, can lodged in the windpipe and cut off air to the lungs.
All of these can be prevented by simply keeping small objects off the floor and off low tables. Regularly check under beds, sofas and chairs for buttons, coins and similar small items. Have your children put away all toys and games when they’re done, (same with many adult items as well).
Keep dirty laundry off the floor; your dog may decide to chew on a few buttons. Keep shoes with laces off the floor or in a closet; if they swallow the laces, they could cause problems in their digestive system.
Train them not to chew stones. Also train them not to pick up items they find in the garden or during your walks. You’ll have to be very alert to this hazard. There were times that my dog had something in their mouth so quickly that I wasn’t even sure if they had picked it up.
Of course, it was always difficult to get these objects out of their mouth because they didn’t want to let them go and may perhaps mistake this for playing.
Invest a few hours of your time to check for and eliminate these household hazards. That small investment will reduce the chance that you’ll ever need to use dog first aid.