Many of the top causes of dog injuries (swallowing foreign objects, fracturing teeth, or lacerations) can all be experienced at home - according to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. When you bring a new dog home, it is similar to when a new baby or child enters our door. It is important to take a good look at your surrounds and identify potential threats to your dog's health. Most problems can be easily and cheaply fixed, though depending on the structure of your home, additional safety measures may need to be installed.
Indoor Air Quality Matters
The EPA warns that indoor air quality in American homes is often worse than the air outside. This is owing to a variety of factors, including pressed wood furniture, toxic cleaning solutions, fireplaces, etc. Soft furnishings, meanwhile, can contain flame retardants which are harmful to human and pet health. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has found that these chemicals - found in carpets, computers, foam furnishings, and building materials like electric wires and cables - can impact the immune system, lead to cancer, and affect endocrine, thyroid, and neurologic function (to name just a few health effects). To improve indoor air quality, use natural cleaning products, steam vacuum instead of using bleach or ammonia, consider replacing old furniture, and use a HEPA filter to remove fine particles from the air. Be aware of habits such as burning candles as well. Scented paraffin candles are harmful to your respiratory health. Replace them with naturally scented soy candles with wooden wicks that emit a delicious crackle as the wax melts.
Proper Storage is Key
As mentioned above, dogs can swallow dangerous objects and chemicals. Dogs are curious, especially when they are puppies, so keeping small items and dangerous chemicals out of their reach is key. Something as simple as as sponge or plastic item can become lodged in their digestive system, sometimes requiring surgery for removal. Any room your pets have access to should be clear and uncluttered. Ensure that children's toys such as building block pieces are stored away. Keep cleaning products, sponges, and rags nicely stored behind a child-proof storage unit. Do the same outside, keeping gardening equipment and chemicals stored in a shed or outdoor storage unit.
Outdoor Safety Matters Too
Dogs spend plenty of time in the garden running, sniffing, and rolling. Many gardens, however, can contain highly toxic plants that seem innocuous so replace these with non-poisonous plants. If you have a pool, make sure it is surrounded by a secure fence and (if possible) covered with a safety net. You can also install a cheap alarm that will immediately advise you if something or someone has fallen into the pool.
These are just a few ways to keep your dog safe. In addition to the above, ensure there are no structural issues in your home that can cause injury. For instance, severe level changes between rooms and high staircases can be injury risks. Level up rooms with a small rubber connecting ramp if necessary and install baby gates at the top and bottom of steps so that your pup doesn't suffer a fall.