Puppy Safety

What you need to know to protect your puppy.


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D - Doors. Just like appliance doors, household doors pose a potential hazard for a puppy. Puppies can move so quickly and are so small that its easy to catch an unwary pupor its tailin or between a door. Keep doors closed (especially doors to forbidden areas, such as basements and garages), and make sure everyone in the house uses caution when entering or leaving. A free-spirited pup may scoot through an open door and be injured or killed in traffic.

E - Electrical cords. Puppies love to chew, especially when teethingits one of the things they are good at. However, if your pup chews the wrong thing, it can be seriously injured. The electronic equipment in your housefrom televisions and stereos to computers and fax machinesall have electrical cords that are enticing to your pup. If it chews the cords and bites through the insulation, it can burn its lips and tongue. It may also receive an electrical shock, and some shocks can be severe enough to cause heart failure in puppies. Unplug devices when they aren't in use, or invest in cord covershard plastic tubes or shells that you run the wires through to keep them away from puppys busy little mouth. This is where cratetraining comes in handy-keep pup safely crated whenever you are away from home.

F - Fences. A good fence can ease your mind when pup is outside. Check your fence before you bring your puppy home to make sure there are no loose boards, pickets or connections. But, remember, a good fence is no substitute for a careful owner. Don't leave your puppy alone or its sure to find a way to wriggle out from under the fence. Most dogs are ingenious when it comes to escaping.

G - Garage. For a pup, the garage is a fascinating place, full of unusual and interesting-smelling objects. But the garage is also full of dangers. Chemicals, such as antifreeze and industrial cleaners, are often stored in the garage. Clean any car fluid drips immediately. Tools, including saws, sharp nails and screws can cause cuts. Make sure the garage is off limits to your puppy.

H - Houseplants. Houseplants can be lovely to look at, but puppies rarely stop to admire the decor. If theres a houseplant within reach, chances are good your pup will have a taste. However, plants have waged a long war against the herbivores that eat them, and have developed a dazzling array of defenses. Cactus spines, for example, will prick the nose of a too-curious pup. Other defenses are more subtle, for instance, plant toxins. Some, including digitalis glycosides, found in lily of the valley, disrupt heart rhythm; others, including alkaloids, found in tulip bulbs, short-circuit the nervous system. If you aren't sure about whether your houseplants are a hazard, check out A Pet Owners Guide to Common Small Animal Poisons, found on the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

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