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Things you should consider when introducing a dog to a new home

Image of a dog surrounded by fluff from a pillow

If you are thinking about getting a puppy or even an older dog, it is worth taking a few moments to think about “dog proofing” the house to help avoid accidents for your new pet and to help keep your belongings safe.

Dogs are naturally inquisitive and like to play.  Puppies are the worst culprits, but young dogs and rescue dogs can also cause their fair share of mayhem.

Ask yourself – could they squeeze through that gap in the gate or fence?  If they fall in the pond, can they get out?

Read more: 13 hazards around the home pet owners should be aware of

Some things to consider when introducing a dog to a new home:

  • Chewing. Puppies love to chew.  Make sure they have plenty of toys and chews available that they are allowed to play with, to try and prevent them chewing on things they shouldn’t.  Try and make sure that there is nothing that could shock your dog, poison them, cause an obstruction to their windpipe or gastrointestinal tract or strangle them. Common items for chewing are shoes, socks, books, remote controls, kids toys, CDs, DVDs and houseplants.
  • Dryers and washing machines. Puppies can climb into washing machines or dryers.  Even a few minutes in either the tumble drier or washing machine can lead to severe injuries including heat stroke, thermal burns, bruising, pulmonary contusions (bruising to the lungs), aspiration pneumonia (bruising to the lungs) and head trauma.  Always check your appliance before every use.
  • Household cleaners and other chemicals. Cleaning fluids, antifreeze, and other chemicals are all sources of potential danger for your dog.  Ethylene glycol is the compound in antifreeze.  Unfortunately, it smells and tastes sweet, so dogs will drink it.  The toxic dose is tiny and even a few drops of ethylene glycol in a puddle will be enough to cause serious kidney damage and can be fatal.  The longer the delay between ingestion of anti freeze and initiation of treatment, the less favourable the prognosis. Make sure all chemicals are kept locked securely away.
  • Foods. Some dogs are quite adept at opening cupboard doors – so make sure there are no food stuffs in cupboards at their level and if necessary fit child locks.  Find out more about human foods that are poisonous to dogs
  • Rubbish bins/sacks. Great fun to tear open and have a little snack, but likely to lead to a tummy upset or worse.
  • Human medications. Assume that all human medications are poisonous to your dog unless instructed otherwise by your veterinary surgeon.  Some every day, over the counter human medications such as ibuprofen are highly toxic to dogs and can lead to kidney or liver failure and death.
  • Animal medications. Increasingly animal medications are being made palatable to make them easier to give to your pet.  The downside is that if your dog gets hold of the medication, they may eat more than they should.  Make sure you keep all animal medications safely locked away to avoid these cases of self-overdosing.

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