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Humans aren’t the only victims of tragic mistakes at home. Oversight and neglect are often the cause of a beloved pet being seriously hurt, lost, or killed. Veterinarians who aren’t able to save a dog that’s gotten into something poisonous or been hurt in an accident usually say that it could easily have been avoided by being more attentive and careful. Caring for a pet means keeping them safe both inside and outside the home, and using common sense. Ultimately, it only takes a little care and well-considered safeguarding to keep the family dog healthy and happy. For most people, dogs are members of the family. Treat them like any other family member and you’ll enjoy many happy years with your furry friend.

Fluids and Medications

Poisoning is one of the most common of all pet-related accidents. Dogs can be amazingly adept at getting into cleaning fluids or prescription bottles within seconds. Carefully secure all fluid and medicine containers, and make sure they’re carefully locked away out of reach. If you have guests, be sure to remind them to take great care with any substance that could poison a pet. There are a surprising number of substances that can cause problems, including insecticides, household plants, and cleaning products. Find out what could harm your pooch (chocolate, for instance, is a dangerous substance for dogs) and take steps to keep it out of harm’s way. 

Decide Where Your Pooch Can Go

If your dog is particularly rambunctious, or you have rooms in your home that contain a wealth of breakable items, you might need to take steps to block access to those areas, especially when they are home by themselves. To set boundaries while you’re away, purchase baby gates to block access to staircases or rooms, especially in places such as the kitchen. If your dog’s food and water bowls are located in the kitchen, make sure you keep hazardous products or dangerous items out of reach by storing them on higher shelves in the pantry.

Traffic Troubles

A confused and frightened dog who’s outside his boundaries is likely to bolt into traffic where anything can — and does — happen.  This is most likely to happen with a brand new rescue, an untrained puppy or in a new environment such as a daycare, friends place or a establishment that has a lot of stimuli that the dog is not accustomed to (think moving to a new city, area of town, busy street/main drag). 

A speeding car can cause a disaster in a matter of seconds. That is why it’s so important to have a sturdy, reliable leash that’s always in your control. Being diligent about keeping a dog from escaping is the best way to prevent your four-legged friend from being hurt or killed by a car.

If your door is open, make sure the screen or storm door is securely closed and locked to prevent a dog from nosing its way outside.  Also, consider training your pet to stay indoors and that an open door is not an invitation to go through it- unless permission is granted.  Don’t delay if your pet is hit by a vehicle. Internal injuries can kill a dog quickly; even if everything seems alright, get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Gone for Good

If you allow your dog to be outside alone, make sure he’s on a strong leash line that’s securely anchored at the other end, and always make sure the leash is clipped to your pet’s dog collar, harness or both. Don’t allow small children to let the family dog outside without adult supervision. A gate left open in the backyard could provide an easy escape route that can lead to tragedy. If your backyard is fenced in, ensure that there are no loose boards or enough space under a chain link fence that a dog could dig out. A dog should have a microchip and collar with an ID tag with your contact information. And remember to have your pet neutered to alleviate the desire to escape- unneutered male dogs are the ones most commonly killed from jumping out car windows into moving traffic! 

Doggie Messes

Doggie urine, fecal, or vomit messes aren’t your dog’s fault, and they may not rise to the severity of a tragedy — unless it happens on a rare Persian rug. Make certain you have the right cleaning equipment on hand, taking cost and ease of use into consideration. For example, if you have an older, heavy and bulky vacuum cleaner, consider purchasing a lightweight model with attachments to allow easier portability and greater access to hard-to-reach areas. 

Dogs are smart, but they’re still animals that rely on their owners for safety and responsible care and to understand them in a way that makes them calm and feel seen. Keeping harmful materials locked away, preventing inadvertent egress, and making sure your pet is well identified are all hallmarks of a caring and diligent owner. 

Disasters are preventable, but so too is setting up your home environment to be pet safe, here’s how: 8 Ways to Pet Proof Your Home

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