Pet-proofing the outside the your home
Bringing your new best friend home is such an important event. Let’s take some time today and talk about getting ready for the big day.
Maybe you already have your new friend home and have experienced some problems. If so maybe this column will help prevent other things from happening.
You may think that pet proofing the outside of your home is only necessary when the weather is warm, but it’s important all year long.
Since this is the first time your new family member has been to his new home, he will find everything very interesting and very tempting.
Remember if you adopted from the Verde Valley Humane Society you will have a little extra time since your new best friend will be going in to be spayed or neutered before he goes home with you. Take advantage of this time, you’re getting ready to be very busy.
Of course you will be going to out to buy food, a collar, a leash, dog bed, dishes and toys, but have you thought about how safe your home really is?
It’s not as easy as just taking your newly adopted dog home from the vet. There are some preparations other than shopping that need to be done before his arrival.
You want to make sure that he will be safe at all times, so you may have some work to do. With my husband and I already having two dogs we thought our home was dog proofed.
We found out very quickly that it was safe enough for older dogs but our new puppy Tianna made us quickly take a closer look.
This reminds you of having a new baby, doesn’t it? It’s sort of the same scenario with animal child and human child. Safety first is the motto.
This week we are going to begin by checking over things outside the home. Let’s begin with gardens and flowerbeds; do you have them at your house?
If you have either one there are some things you will need to make sure of. Even if your dog doesn’t have access, no matter how hard you try to keep him out, he will find a way to get in there if he wants to.
If you were a dog could you think of a better way to spend the day? It would be great digging in the freshly tilled dirt and eating whatever could be found.
What a terrific way to have a good time while mom and dad are at work. Time flies when you’re having a good time, now doesn’t it?
If you have plants in your yard are they toxic to animals? If you aren’t sure, take a piece of the plant over to the local Nursery or look it up in the internet.
If it is toxic you’ll either need to remove it or transplant it to a location where your pet can’t get to it. Better to be safe than sorry they say.
If you have any plants that you value, it may be a good idea to move them to a safe location.
I remember how my beautiful Bird of Paradise looked before my dog Honey decided to trim it up so nicely for me when she was a pup.
All that was left was the base above the roots coming out of the ground. I had to repeatedly tell myself that she was just a puppy and didn’t know any better.
Give your new friend an adjustment period before he is scolded for chewing up your prized plants.
Let the little guy learn the rules of the outdoors before temptation is placed within his reach.
I also had to remind myself of this advice; it would have been very easy to get upset with her. I had babied the plant for years.
Do you have a vegetable garden that the dog will be tempted to tromp around in? This is something to think about before the warm weather arrives.
Just because vegetables are edible doesn’t mean the plants are. Remember we eat what comes off the plants. Many plants can cause your canine friend abdominal distress.
Tomato plants are a great example of this. They are members of the nightshade family and are toxic. We learn something new every day, don’t we?
Dogs love digging up any soft ground and that means a garden is almost impossible to resist.
Since a dog has no idea what the garden is he will use it just like any other area outside. Urinating and defecating will just be a normal thing to do while he is trampling down the plants.
Urine burns grass and it will kill your plants. Feces will contaminate your food, so maybe it would be a good idea to put a fence around the garden to eliminate your dog’s access to the area.
If time is of the essence you could put up an inexpensive wire fence until you can get the job done the way you want to.
If you have flower gardens this brings on other possible problems. How do you rid your flower bed and garden of pests?
What type of plant fertilizer do you use? Are the chemicals you use toxic to animals? These are imperative things to research before bringing your new friend home.
Take a good look around your yard. Are there any holes that need repaired or areas where your new friend can dig out?
Many dogs like to “tunnel” their way out under a fence or a gate. Since one of my dogs is small, she can wiggle out between the gate posts. At our house we placed big decorative rocks in possible areas of escape.
Do you have a pool or hot tub? If so using the cover is a “must” until you find out exactly what your dog will and won’t do.
It’s recommended that you cover them even when you don’t have animals so this should be a given.
If you have steps leading up to a hot tub they are pretty tempting to climb since the dog can’t see what’s inside without climbing up to have a quick look.
We went to my daughter’s house down in Glendale for Christmas Eve. She has a beautiful fenced in pool area out back.
The area is very secure but things can and will happen. Even during the colder weather your still have to pay attention to what is going on outside with your animals.
All of our dogs had an entry to the pool area since there is also a large play area. The experienced dogs just stayed away from the water, but not the newbie.
Of course it was not the same for our newest arrival, Tianna. As we sat by the pool area she was the one that had to investigate and see what was down in that huge hole.
All at once there was splashing and gasping. Tianna had decided to take her first swim. We all panicked as she was pulled from the cold water.
Would you believe that after that horrible experience she continued to venture out to the pool? Curiosity just got the best of her.
She wasn’t allowed back outside unless we had her on a leash. She scared me so much that it didn’t matter if she could swim. I wasn’t taking any chances.
A pool is even easier to get in since the animal can just jump in. We’ve always taught our dogs the way out of the pool just in case they would accidentally fall in while we were working or not outside.
Next look around and see if there is anything else you don’t want destroyed. Garden hoses, sprinkler heads, shoes, drink cans, towels, toys and BBQ items are often the target of a chewer.
Make sure you check to see if all of your drip system buried. We learned that one the hard way too. You would be amazed at how much rubber tubing can need to be replaced.
Things that we just take for granted to be in a certain place may wind up buried, destroyed or just plain eaten.
A skewer from the kabobs last night or a turning fork could cause grave injuries to our pets. You’d be amazed at what a dog can find in just a matter of minutes.
Now that the yard and garden are taken care of, let’s move out to the garage. Make sure there are no spills or car drippings that your dog may decide to lick up.
Antifreeze is one of the most common poisonings for all animals. I’ve been told that it has a pleasant taste, what were they thinking on that one?
Makes you wonder who does the tasting, now doesn’t it? Why would they make something like that pleasurable for anyone to taste?
Try to use a less toxic brand of antifreeze that is made with propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol just in case your best friend accidentally gets into the garage.
It’s actually a good practice to keep your dog out of the garage if at all possible. There are so many hidden hazards that you may not catch him fast enough and he will find something that can endanger his life.
Once all have the precautions have been taken, sit back and enjoy your new family member. You are about to receive a lifetime of unconditional love. Please provide that for him.