The responsibility of the lifetime of your dog’s care and safety is in your hands, make sure you are up to the job! Following is a list of just a few safety issues that are of utmost importance to the safety and well-being of your puppy or dog. This list is by no means self limiting, there are so many potential dangers both in the home and outside, so common sense must prevail to keep your dog safe. Most safety issues simply require just that, a little knowledge and some common sense. There is no excuse for lack of knowledge when it comes to safety issues; if in doubt, research online, ask your vet, your breeder, or even the local Humane Society or SPCA for their views if you have any questions pertaining to the safety and well-being of your dog!
- Take care when using household cleaning products around your dog. Chemicals can kill a dog quickly or slowly, and cause many needless deaths yearly. Many common household chemicals/cleaning products have an attractive smell to dogs, and some even have a sweet taste. Keep all chemicals and cleaning products stored safely away from your dog.
- Use only products that are made for dogs, on your dog. Follow all instructions carefully about how to use such products. This cannot be stressed enough!
- Just as a baby will put things in their mouth, so too will a dog. Buttons, hairpins, pantyhose, loose change, accidentally dropped pills/medications of any kind, etc…..all these things and many many more can cause serious problems or even death. Puppy proof your home and routinely be on the lookout for small things within reach of your dog or puppy, that might cause injury if swallowed. Also many normal household items can be lethal to your pets if ingested, such as cigarettes, batteries, mothballs, potpourri oils, coffee grounds, dryer fabric softener sheets, even homemade play dough and even alcoholic drinks. The list could go on and on, again common sense and supervision of your dog, as well as keeping potential dangerous goods out of your dog’s reach, will go a long way to keeping him safe.
- Never ever give your dog any kind of medication made for human use without strict authorization and permission from your vet! Many seemingly innocent humans meds can seriously or fatally harm your pet, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, cold medicine, cancer drugs, diet pills, and even some vitamins. There are others too numerous to list, so the best defense is a having a 0 tolerance to giving human meds to pets!
- Never give your dog rawhides, Greenies, or pigs ears, or even corn cobs! All of these have been known to obstruct the digestive system requiring emergency surgery, and sometimes death can occur. Pigs ears are also extremely high in fat and can cause pancreatitis which can be a life-threatening condition as well!
- Rope type toys, as well as vinyl toys, soft stuffed toys or toys with squeakers, should only be used with supervision, as pieces of string, or stuffing from inside toys as well as squeakers, can be ingested and cause potential harm to your dog.
- Reclining chairs and rockers can be very dangerous to your pet if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, please be ever so careful when using such furniture while your pets try and be close to you. Prevention is much easier than not in this case!
- Paper Shredders have become much more popular in this day and age of privacy issues, identity theft etc. Please be sure that when done using your shredder, that it is not only turned off but also unplugged, to prevent what could be a horrendous disaster from occurring should your pet get a little too inquisitive.
- Dog collars of any kind should never be left on your dog when it is alone unsupervised, even if it is loose in your home or in a crate. Dogs have been known to get their normal flat buckle collars caught in just about anything you could imagine and strangled themselves trying to get free. Even two dogs playing together wearing flat collars can be playing, and one can get a tooth caught in the other’s collar and the other dog can strangle as they both struggle to get free of each other. This scenario has happened in at least one instance, while the owners were home, in just a very few minutes, when they thought their dogs were perfectly safe and happily playing! Also, it should go without saying to never ever leave a choke collar or prong collar on a dog for anything other then training or walking purposes while you are right there….in fact for our breed I would never recommend ever using such a collar, and we would not even consider owning either one.
- Always use a collar and leash when you take your dog off your property. If your dog is not 200% properly trained to obey, then even when on your property, if it is unfenced, the dog should always be under control, on leash. If that means going out with your dog for potty breaks at 3 a.m. or in the rain, then so be it. Do not take the negligent lazy route of opening your door and watching through the window to let your dog do his business if your yard is not fenced! Never ever allow your dog to roam freely in the streets or countryside. Not only can your dog get stolen, hurt or killed (hit by car, attacked by other dogs, get into toxic substances, etc.), but your dog could also be the cause of an accident in which innocent people could be hurt or killed, and you could and should be held liable for your negligence in such circumstances. There is simply NO excuse for any dog running loose in the streets or even the countryside. If you cannot or will not choose to be a responsible dog owner, do NOT get a dog!
- Monitor your dog when it is out in your yard and do not leave it unsupervised even if you have a fenced yard. Many dogs get stolen from or hurt in the safety of their own fenced yards, and can even get into materials that may cause illness or even death, such as natural growing wild mushrooms or other toxic wild plants or weeds. Also, dogs can be very quick to dig holes under fences, or perhaps in the spring you will find that if you live in a winter-cold climate, the fence may heave on a daily basis, and every day there could potentially be a new escape hole under the fence where there was not one the day before, as the fence moves and settles with the thawing of the ground. At all times of year, daily fence checks are a must to ensure that your fence is still up to the job of keeping your dog in the yard where it belongs!
- Swimming pools can be very dangerous for dogs, who can easily dive in but cannot always so easily find a way out, and they can tire and drown very easily, and quicker than you might think. Either keep your pool safely enclosed with a locked gate, or if you are using the pool, you have the choice of putting a doggy safety vest on your dog in case you are not paying attention, or keeping your dog safely locked in the house if you wish to have a poolside snooze getting a suntan!
- Be aware of temperature dangers if you take your dog outside or in the car with you, be it summer or winter. Never leave the dog alone in the car under any circumstances if the weather leans towards being even remotely warm, or if it is freezing. Even if the windows are down, your dog can die a quick agonizing death due to heatstroke, as the temperature in a car can rise very rapidly to go well beyond the outside air temperature. In very cold weather, dogs can become hypothermic and freeze in a very short time in an unheated car, in very cold weather. If your dog happens to be wet also, being wet and cold can be even worse. In these circumstances, as much as you love to have your dog with you, he is safer at home. If your dog is in your yard with you on a hot summer day ensure that he has lots of cool fresh drinking water at all times. He must also have a shady area in the yard, or a deck to go under or dog house to go in, to get out of the hot sun. No dog should be left out for any period of time in heat or cold, a dog’s place is safe inside with you! If you wish to take your dog for a walk in very cold weather, perhaps a jacket or sweater would keep him more comfortable and safe.
- Do not allow your dog to travel with his head hanging out a car window that is on the move or sitting still. Bugs, as well as pebbles and other debris flung from car tires in front of you, have the potential to blind or otherwise injure your dog , and if the window is down too low you risk your dog jumping or falling out of the window. Also, it has been shown that dogs as well as children can lean on the automatic buttons that open and close windows, while getting their head stuck as the window closes, which can have fatal consequences!
- Salt or other products used to melt ice in winter can seriously burn your dogs foot pads. Try not to use these things around your home if at all possible. If by walking your dog on sidewalks etc you think/know that you have no choice but to walk your dog in an area where these products may have been used, wash your dog’s feet as soon as possible, or even apply some foot guard products such as creams or even booties before venturing out for that winter walk.
- Antifreeze (ethylene glycol): A very lethal substance even in very small quantities! It is usually sweet tasting and has been the cause of so many needless animal deaths, so much so that one would think it need not be mentioned, that it should be foremost in everyone’s mind, but not so. Many animals still die needless deaths due to the ingestion of antifreeze every year. Antifreeze poisoning is a very serious emergency and if you even suspect that your pet ahs had access to it, please contact your vet immediately!
- Chocolate, a delicious treat to you, is also potentially a poison to dogs. It contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic even in small doses. Milk chocolate is not as deadly as unsweetened baking chocolate or bitter dark chocolate, but is still dangerous enough to be kept totally out of your dog’s diet. It only takes a couple of ounces to possibly cause death in a small dog, and larger quantities can poison or even cause death to a medium or large dog as well. We need to be careful year round, but obviously holidays like Christmas, Easter and Halloween are times when the hazard of chocolate poisoning is highest.
- Tinsel, garland, tree ornaments, foil gift wrap and some Christmas plants are only a few of many potential dangers at Christmas time. There are many plants that are poisonous to one degree or another, ask your vet or search the internet for a comprehensive list, or perhaps your local flower shop may have such a list. As for the tinsel, ornaments etc, some or all may cause obstruction or even cut the intestines with their sharp edges, so one can never be too careful about monitoring your pet during the holiday season.
- Aluminum foil also known as tinfoil, and household plastic wraps, such as used in wrapping foods etc., are very dangerous to your dog. Tinfoil can be very sharp and cut everywhere from the mouth and throat right on down through the digestive system, cause internal bleeding, even possibly death. Plastic wrap used on meats, cookies, leftovers etc may have some food particles on it that will entice your dog to lick or even eat it . This can cause choking or obstruction of the digestive system, ending up in surgery or even death.
- Mouse or rat traps, ant traps, or bait for bugs, snails, etc may contain not just the poisons but may have sweet smelling agents to attract pests, such as jelly or sugar, that will also attract your pets. Either be sure they are kept absolutely out of each of your pets or else just don’t use them. It is not worth the risk of causing serious illness or death to your beloved pet!
- Pet Health Insurance is a must in today’s society, where it seems that pets are living longer lives due to greater health and safety issues being at the forefront, and due to ever increasing technology and knowledge about pet health. If you own a pet, you owe it to that pet to have health insurance to ensure that you can afford the necessary vet care should a medical emergency arise. There is nothing sadder or more needless than an owner choosing to euthenize their pet due to either a lack of funds, or an unwillingness on their part to pay what seems like insurmountable vet bills, in order to save their pet. With the many pet health insurance plans available today, at various prices for various coverage, nobody has an excuse any more not to provide the very best in vet care that is needed for their beloved companion.