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It is our hope that education, preparation, and some patience will go a long way toward making your relationship a meaningful and lasting bond.  It is also very important to make your home safe for your new pet, especially if adopting a puppy. They can get into things that you would never think possible! Check out these links to help you pet-proof your home: Puppy Proofing Tips.


Dog proofing - before you let your dog loose in your home or yard, check the following safety hazards. 

  • Poisonous plants - our non-exhaustive list of poisonous plants for cats, many of which also apply to dogs
  • Medicines - ibuprofen, in any dosage, is toxic to dogs
  • Keep toilet lids closed (dogs will drink the water which contains chemicals and fecal matter)
  • Make certain they cannot get in the fireplace
  • Open stairways (dogs and puppies are at great danger in a home with a 'half wall' or even open rails on an upstairs room. They can easily fall through or jump over a half wall, plunging to the floor below! Take precautions!)
  • Human food (especially chocolate) and accessible garbage (especially any kind of bones - bones can either splinter and perforate the stomach or intestines, or form an intestinal blockage)
  • Needles and/or thread; knitting and/or crocheting materials
  • Rubber bands (which can wrap around the intestines)
  • Plastic wrap or bags (the dog can eat, or strangle, or suffocate on)
  • Styrofoam (especially packing "peanuts") which the dog may eat
  • Cigarettes (dogs may eat)
  • Cellophane (turns glassy in the stomach and can cause internal lacerations)
  • Christmas tree needles, tinsel, and decorations
  • Keep your workshop off-limits (dogs will jump at moving objects such as drills and power saws - may also swallow screws, nails, wire, and other small parts)
  • Cleaning products and other chemicals
  • Fences that have loose posts or are easily escaped from
  • Compost or other waste material (may contain toxic molds)
  • Litter box (both litter and waste may be of interest to curious dogs)
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a car
  • Do not transport your dog in the back of a pick-up truck, unless in a travel-approved kennel. Do not tie them down in the back.

Emergency Numbers: Keep the phone numbers of your vet, an emergency 'after hours' clinic, and a local poison control center, posted by your phone. The number for the National Animal Poison Control Center is (888) 426-4435 

Outdoors: When allowing your dog outside, make sure your yard is secure. Also, monitor weather conditions - extreme temperatures (heat or cold) are difficult for all pets but especially bad for dogs and older animals (see our article on heatstroke). Keep in mind that dogs are escape artists because of their size and can hurt themselves easily if left unsupervised outside. Leaving your new dog outside all of the time by itself may also have an impact on your relationship with them or lead to behavioral problems. As the dog gets older and you want to let them roam the yard for longer periods of time, consider purchasing a doggie door to facilitate re-entry into the home if the dog tires of being outside or weather conditions change. Pet doors also allow a fire escape and can assist with housetraining. If you cannot install a pet door, read out article on winter/summer outdoor safety for dogs.


Kids & Pets

Click HERE for a downloadable and printable .pdf version of this flyer to discuss with your kids! 

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