All dog owners know of the dangers that can wait for a dog outside the home – busy streets, yard gates that are left open and allow a dog to run away or even rattlesnakes in some areas of the US. But what about inside the home? Are you aware of the hidden dangers your dog may encounter in your own house?
Let’s examine six easily overlooked hazards!
Register covers are the metal grids on top of heating and A/C vents. German Shepherds are dogs that get hot easily in the summer and they might lay on top of the covers to cool down. If your dog is wearing a collar with tags, these tags can however easily get caught in the cover. Then your dog is stuck – and usually unable to free himself again. If you are at work, he might be caught for many hours without getting free.
If possible, your pup should not wear a collar with tags inside. That way he cannot get the tags caught on anything. Other solutions are replacing your register covers with some that cannot have the tag get stuck, or using baby gates to keep your dog from laying on the cover.
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(If you have several dogs, you should not let them wear any collars at all while romping – see our last tip on that!)
Puppies love to take everything into their mouths. Unfortunately, this also includes small but very dangerous objects such as batteries. Even if you are careful to not have batteries laying e.g. on your counters, your dog could knock down your TV remote and the batteries can pop out.
Batteries contain a caustic substance that is very harmful for dogs.
Chewing and ingesting it will cause burning of the mouth, esophagus and skin on the dog’s face. The best way to keep your dog safe is to place a piece of tape over any battery holder (such as on your TV remote), so that even if your dog was to knock it down, they won’t fall out.
Nearly all “traditional” puppy toys that are sold at pet stores are way too small. Look at the toy and your dog’s snout. If you can think of any way that the toy could completely fit inside your dog’s mouth – don’t give it to him. Even if your dog won’t swallow the toy whole, it could get stuck at the roof of his mouth.
Bigger is better when it comes to dog toys – go for the biggest and most indestructible toys you can find!
This does not only apply to dog-specific toys of course – if you have kids, you need to keep their toys away from your dog as well.
Accessible trash cans
“Someone’s trash is someone’s treasure” unfortunately holds true for dogs! They love to dive into our trash cans and look for spoiled foods or containers that they can lick clean.
You should never keep an open trash can in a home with a dog. Ideally, your trash should have a lid and be kept in a place that is inaccessible to the dogs, such as a pantry or laundry room.
Your dog is likely to eat something out of the trash that could really harm him. This could range from toxic foods such as chocolate or macadamias over trying to lick cans with sharp edges or even swallowing paper towels that were used to clean with.
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There is no point in trying to teach your dog to leave an open trash can alone – chances are that as soon as you leave the house, your dog is going to be drawn to it. Keep a lid on the trash and keep the can away from your dog.
Anything with stuffing
German Shepherds are dogs that often love to de-stuff toys. While it can look funny how they wildly tear into them, be careful: Ingesting the stuffing can lead to internal blockages and subsequent expensive surgeries!
This does not only apply to stuffed animals though. Couch pillows and even comforters can become the victim of a dog’s de-stuffing efforts. If you have in the past witnessed your dog tearing the stuffing out of items, make sure to keep them out of his reach.
The last item on our list may be the least obvious one. If you own several dogs, they should ideally not wear collars when playing together (especially if those are loose-fitting). Collars can easily get caught on dogs’ teeth or claws.
If one of your dogs was to get stuck on the other dog’s collar, the pups usually panic, making it very difficult to untangle them. They often get injured in the process in addition to being highly stressed out. When your pups are about to wrestle and romp, remove the collars before they get started.
The Bottom Line
Most dog owners are very proactive and well-informed about the hazards outside of the house, but not inside! Be aware of the hidden dangers that can be found inside your home.
Young and energetic dogs are likely to steal toxic foods from the trash, get caught in each others’ collars while wrestling, chewing batteries or swallowing stuffing of toys and pillows.
Register covers can get the tag of your dog’s collar stuck and lock your dog in place, with him unable to free himself. Make sure that your home is safe for your dog even after his puppyhood. Proactively securing everything goes a long way towards ensuring a long and healthy life for your pup.