Dog Owner's Guide

Preparing your home for your new dog

Confinement

Prepare an enclosed area for your new dog and make sure it is an airy place with sufficient light and safely enclosed so that your dog cannot slip out or jump out of the area. Ensure you provide food, water, a comfortable crate for him to sleep in and suitable toys. Lay out lots of newspaper to toilet train your dog. This is the first area your dog should be put in once you bring him home.

If you let your dog run around freely the minute he reaches home, he may get too excited or overwhelmed. Also, if your dog goes to the toilet in your house, you will be inclined to immediately place him into his confinement area and he will take it as a punishment. Your dog's confinement area should be somewhere he feels happy and comfortable in, not a punishment tactic.

Once you feel your dog is accustomed to the new scents and sounds of your house, let him out under your supervision around the rest of the home. Let him explore gradually. It is not uncommon for your new puppy or dog to have "accidents" around the house, if he has not been toilet trained before. Be patient and praise him when he uses the newspaper correctly. Also take him out for regular walks and never leave him unsupervised when he is outside his confinement area.

Poisonous plants

Dogs love chewing grass and plants but many household or ornamental plants can be harmful to dogs. If you have many potted plants inside your home, you may want to consider changing their placement before bringing your dog home. One option would be to use hanging baskets for your potted plants so that your dog would not be able to get to it. If you have a garden with a plot of plants you do not want your dog to get to, you should consider putting up a dog proof fence around the plot. This way your dog can play in the garden safely and your plants will not be ruined as well.

Common house/garden plants and flowers that are harmful to dogs:

  • Dumb cane
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Elephants ear
  • Philodendron
  • Snake plant
  • Tomato Plant
  • Aloe Vera
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Morning Glory

Household chemicals and medication

Keep all household chemicals like bleach, detergent, insecticides, plant food, and fertilizers away from the reach of your dog. Do the same with any medication (cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins, and diet pills), creams or ointments in the house. Even though these products may be sealed tightly in their containers, most dogs have sharp teeth that can easily puncture through plastic. Ingesting these chemicals can cause your dog to get seriously sick and may even cause death. Place these items on a high shelf or in a locked cupboard. Dogs have also been known to eat rat poison carelessly placed around by their owners and this causes serious health complications as well.

Toys and fragile items

Toys with small parts like plastic eyes can cause a choking hazard for dogs. A playful dog can easily shred a soft toy and if the toy contains a squeaking device, it could be swallowed accidentally. Be careful of balls as well. If the ball is too small for your dog, he could swallow it and this will cause choking or an internal obstruction. In fact, most toy related accidents are due to owners not picking the correct sized toy for their pet. Choose toys carefully, just like you would do for a child.

Food and food disposal

Chocolate, raisins, nuts, onions, garlic, mushrooms, raw eggs and various other common foods fit for human consumption are dangerous to dogs. Poultry or fish bones are also dangerous as they can be easily shattered into sharp pieces and puncture your dog's mouth, throat or stomach. They also pose a choking hazard. Coffee and tea contain caffeine and tannin, which are toxic to dogs. Seed and pits from apples, apricots, cherries, and plums contain a chemical that can cause cyanide poisoning in dogs. Alcohol can make dogs go into a comatose state or even cause death. If you have a cat living in your house as well, make sure your dog does not eat cat food, as it is too high in protein and fats.

Make sure leftover food is cleared quickly and placed into securely tied garbage bags. Dogs love to rummage through the garbage so place garbage bags in a trash can with a tight lid. Dogs who rummage through garbage run the risk of ingesting poisonous substances or cutting themselves on sharp objects like glass or the edges of tin.