A border collie is running through a green yard on a nice day.

Your dog appreciates a warm and inviting space just like you do. It is important to build a well-rounded home base for your dog that provides for all of their canine needs. The goal should be to limit hazards and promote comfortability in the home. Dogs are curious by nature, and that can be dangerous if a home isn’t dog-proofed. They don’t need much, but utilizing your resources to create an enriching space will go a long way in fostering a healthy well-being for your pup. 

By the same token, dogs deserve a space that nurtures their curiosity and their need to feel engaged with their surroundings. Most people learn some of their first life skills at home — walking, talking, etc. — and the same goes for dogs. They will develop many of their life-long skills and habits in the home, so providing a productive environment and routine for your dog can be the base of building a strong foundation for your bond. 

Keeping both in mind, we have provided some tips below so that every dog owner can create a space where dogs are protected but can also feel not just welcome, but like they are part of the family.

Common Household Hazards for Pups

Pups are creative in their mischief, so it is important to think one step ahead of any dangerous fixations when building a safe home for dogs. 

Below are some of the most common hazards that pose a threat to your dog’s safety:

  • Cleaning products: Some dogs may be curious about the unique but strong scents in cleaning products, insecticides, and other toxic house chemicals. When these products are within reach, a dog can scratch and bite at the bottle until they ultimately spill the product and expose themselves to the toxic liquid.     
  • Sharp objects: A dog may not associate the danger of a sharp object and could step on or ingest one. Knives and scissors, along with sewing needles, clothes pins, and wall tacks, should be kept in designated spaces that a pet cannot reach. Similarly, some plastic objects can shatter when chewed and become laceration risks, so keep an eye out for signs of chewing and repair, replace, or remove objects at risk of breaking. 
  • Windows and balconies: If your dog can push open a window on their own, then that may eventually become a danger. All windows that your dog can access should have sturdy locks to prevent them from getting out. Pets also face some risk on balconies, so an owner should invest in pet safety guarding for rails to prevent them from slipping through.
  • Stairs: Especially for young puppies and small breeds, stairs can be dangerous because a dog’s little legs may not be accustomed to the size of the steps. When a dog is moving fast or not paying clear attention to their movements, they could trip down the stairs and become severely injured.  
  • Electrical cords and outlets: These are easy to get caught up in — literally. A dog could tangle themselves in an electrical cord and injure a limb, or they may decide that the cord makes a sufficient chew toy and electrocute themselves. 
  • Medication: Individual pills can be very small and hard to see, so a person may drop a pill without even noticing. These bottles also have a rattling sound that may automatically catch a pup’s ear, making the medication seem like a fun toy. These bottles are not of industrial strength, so your pup may easily chew their way through the plastic. Always keep medications in a secure container and out of reach of pets.
  • Toxic food: Many common human foods are incredibly toxic to dogs and can be fatal in large amounts. Most veterinarians recommend avoiding the temptation of feeding your pup any human food altogether because it is unnecessary to their diet and could be dangerous. Some foods that can be deadly to dogs include chocolate, grapes/raisins, onions, garlic, caffeine, avocados, xylitol sweetener, tomatoes, mushrooms, and the pits of tree fruit. 
  • Toxic plants: Caring for houseplants is a growing hobby. While they may add joy and comfort to a space, some plants should be left out of a pet’s reach. Many plants are toxic and can be deadly to a dog if ingested. Some common houseplants that are toxic to dogs include aloe vera, ivy, philodendron, sago palm, oleander, rhododendron, and mistletoe plants. 
  • Recreational drugs: 2022 marked the first year that recreational drugs — including marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and cocaine-based products — made the Animal Poison Control Center’s (APCC) list of top 10 household hazards, bumping gardening products from the 10th spot. Calls about recreational drug exposure have seen almost a 300% increase in the last five years.

Home Safety for Dogs 

All new canine parents should take the time to thoroughly inspect their home for hazards and make the appropriate changes to dog-proof the space, including:

  • Secure hazardous objects: Keep cleaning products and sharp objects up high or behind closed cabinets. These items should be diligently looked after and placed back into their designated spot after use to avoid a curious pup from getting to them. 
  • Invest in baby gates to block off unsafe areas: A productive way to limit your dog from roaming into unsafe areas of the home is to install baby gates for their safety. Most commonly, families will install a gate at the foot and/or top of the staircase to prevent a dog from accessing another level of the house without supervision. 
  • Keep electrical cords hidden: You can hide electrical cords behind furniture or buy cord covers to prevent a dog from chewing on the wires and electrocuting themselves. 
  • Secure doors and windows with sturdy locks: Windows that are too easy to push open pose a risk for curious and adventurous dogs that may want to wander about outside. Test the lock strength of all of the windows that your dog can reach to ensure that they are safe when unsupervised. 
  • Use pet-safe gardening products: For many dogs, the backyard is their playtime oasis. Gardening products like insecticides and fertilizers can be toxic to dogs, especially in high quantities. If your pup spends enough time outside around these toxic chemicals, it can lead to serious symptoms like lethargy and vomiting. Instead, look into pet-safe alternatives that won’t harm your furry friend.  
  • Pet-friendly furniture: Investing in furniture with durable upholstery, stain-resistant material, and odor-resistant fabric will be beneficial in the long run. These characteristics can prevent furniture from wearing out too quickly with four-legged friends in the house. 

Create Separate Spaces for Your Dog’s Need

Many factors make a house a home, and for many people, it’s their family dog. Some homes are even built to include the family pup. Almost half of U.S. households have a dog — 44% to be exact. 

A dog should have a separate space for eating, playing, and relaxing. Offering a pup these individual spaces is part of creating a comfortable home, allowing them to build a routine and have a sense of ownership over the actions of their day. This setup establishes clear boundaries and can influence clear behavioral cues while simultaneously preventing unwanted actions, like resource guarding. Offering separate spaces for their needs will minimize attachment to one specific object or territory and, in turn, reduce the likelihood of this behavior. 

A feeding station should be big enough for your dog to comfortably eat and drink without mixing the two. If you consistently see food in your pet’s water bowl, they are kept too close together. 

An enriching home includes a stimulating dog environment where they can play, expel energy, and gain mental/sensory activity. Interactive toys like sniffing treat toys can be a great way to provide enriching stimulation at home. 

Just like humans, dogs will pick their favorite spot in the house to relax after a long day of canine fun. Providing a comfortable dog bed can help you take control over the space they fixate on, but you can also try strategies like placing their favorite blanket in the spot you want them to lay. 

Safe Playtime at Greenlin Pet Resorts in Hummelstown

You can trust that your dog is safe at Greenlin. All of our facilities are designed with pet safety at the forefront of the layout, so they can enjoy a fun day while you enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your furry friend is safe. 

Whether enjoying dog boarding or dog daycare, we maintain low dog-to-staff ratios while keeping every guest under close supervision. Greenlin pet care specialists are also trained in pet CPR and first aid so they can effectively manage various emergencies. 

If you are struggling to establish boundaries in your home or reduce unwanted behaviors, such as chewing or jumping on furniture, our dog training courses have customizable learning goals tailored to your unique situation and your pup’s unique motivators.

We are an award-winning pet-care facility, so reach out to one of our six Central PA locations to contact us online and learn how we can help keep your pet safe …and feeling like a true part of the household!

You Can Now Book Your Pet’s Stay Online!