How To Stop Puppy Biting: Training Puppies Not to Bite
How to Keep Your Dog from Being Exposed to Household Poisons
Keeping your dog from being exposed to household poisons is a big responsibility, especially if you have a curious dog. Make sure all medications, household products, and pesticides are locked up securely at all times. Note what common foods are poisonous to dogs and make a list for reference, talk to your kids about the dangers, and store food properly. Make sure to dog-proof your trash, buy safe houseplants, and keep your pet busy with toys and chews. Brush up on basic training and crate your dog when you leave the house, if necessary.
Locking Up Chemicals and Medications
Keep medications secured.Make sure to secure all medications in a medicine cabinet or high cupboard. This should include anything from prescription pills to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Even a small dose of medication could cause symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, stomach and intestinal ulcers, kidney failure, or cardiac distress.
- To prevent any accidents (e.g. your dog jumping to eat a pill you drop on the ground before you can stop it), take your medications when your dog is out of the room and be sure to close pill containers firmly after use.
Store household products in a separate, locked area.Household products with harsh chemicals should be kept as far as possible from your dog, preferably in a room it does not frequently enter (e.g. the garage or laundry room). Make sure that these products are placed in a closed closet or cupboard, and that they are firmly sealed so that they do not leak or spread. Products to be especially vigilant about are:
- Paint thinner
- Bleach and other cleaners
- Pool chemicals
Beware of pest-control products.Keep pest-control products like rat poison and insecticide away from your dog, as both can be toxic. If possible, avoid using these products inside your home. Instead, opt to use live traps placed in areas that your dog can’t reach.
- If you do use pest-control poisons, place them only in rooms closed off to your dog (e.g. by means of a baby gate or locked door) and store them securely with other harmful household chemicals.
Protecting Your Dog from Toxic Foods
Write a list of dangerous foods.Many everyday foods that we eat can be harmful, and even lethal, to dogs. Make a comprehensive list of “never” foods and hang it on a wall or on the refrigerator, so that the entire family knows to keep them away from the dog. These foods include:
- Alcohol, which can be life-threatening even in small amounts.
- Artificial sweeteners (e.g. xylitol)
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Onions and garlic
Talk to kids about the dangers of “never” foods.Kids, especially very young ones, will think little of sharing their favorite snack with the family pet, so it is important to talk to them honestly about the dangers involved. Make sure that children understand the difference between human food and dog food. Convey the consequences of feeding your dog the wrong foods gently but firmly.
- For instance, say something like, “We can’t feed the dog chocolate because it will get very, very sick if it eats it”, and prompt your child to repeat it back to you (e.g. “Can you tell me why we aren’t going to feed Rover chocolate?”).
Use locking containers to store dangerous foods.Any foods that can be dangerous to dogs should be kept in locking containers that they cannot open. Most store packaging can be chewed through easily if your pet gains access to it. Tupperware with airtight seals and snap-lock latches can be purchased at department stores, or online.
Store dangerous foods in the fridge or high cupboards.To make sure your dog can’t get to foods that are toxic to it, store them in the fridge or in a high cupboard. This will remove the opportunity and temptation for your dog to eat them, and provide peace of mind when you leave the house. To make things easier, clearly label all containers.
Keep your dog out of the trash.Make sure that your dog can’t gain access to the trash by purchasing a dog-proof trash container from a hardware store. Common trash items like food scraps, fruits pits, or chicken bones can be both inviting and toxic to your dog. Look for a model with a tight-locking and a sturdy enough base to prevent your dog from knocking it over.
- Look for a garbage container that is also charcoal lined, to prevent the temptation of food smells.
Preventing Accidental Poisoning
Keep your dog busy with toys and chews.Visit a pet store to buy your dog puzzle toys and chews to keep it busy and out of trouble. Puzzle toys are hollow toys to fill with treats, which your dog must work to get at for at least a few hours. Chews will also appease your dog’s natural instinct to chew things, which will make it less likely to get into poisonous household items.
- Opt for dental chews like Nylabone, which will clean your dog’s teeth and gums while it chews them.
Buy dog-friendly houseplants.Note that many household plants are poisonous to dogs, so be careful before purchasing any for your home. Visit the Humane Society website at for a comprehensive list of common plants that might be toxic to your pet (e.g. poinsettia and elephant's ear plants).Opt instead for a plant proven not to be poisonous to dogs, such as:
- Lemon button ferns
- Spider plants
- Areca palms
- Baby rubber plants
- Ponytail palms
Make your own household cleaning products.Many commercial cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to your pet, even just by inhalation. To keep your pet safe and healthy, make your own cleaning products using non-toxic ingredients like baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. Using homemade cleaners will also save you money on cleaning supplies.
- For instance, mix 3 cups of warm water with 2 tbsp. of lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of baking soda for an all-purpose cleaner.
Master basic training.To keep your dog out of danger, make sure that it stays well-behaved. Your pet should respond to the basic five commands: "Sit”, "Stay", "Lay down”, ”Heel”, and "Come here”, and it should obey promptly when given them. If you and your dog need to review these steps, visit the American Kennel Club website at for more in-depth training information and helpful videos.
Crate your dog if it misbehaves.If your dog does not behave while you are out of the house, prevent dangerous misbehaviour by crating it during your absence. Crate training is meant to regulate your dog’s behaviour and should not be treated as a punishment. Continue crating your dog when you go out until you see signs that you can trust it to behave while alone in the house (e.g. it seems calmer and more obedient).
- If your dog has been exposed to poison, call your veterinarian immediately.
- For 24/7 assistance, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-213-6680. (Note that charges of US will apply for each incident.)
- You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.
- For those living in areas where marijuana is legal, it is important to note that even if it is ok for you, it is dangerous to your dog in all forms.
Video: How To Crate Train a Puppy - Crate Training a Puppy
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