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Information Connection: Keep Your Dog Safe

All Pet Articles

10 Tips for Dog Safety

By Dr. Debra Primovic,

If dogs are man and woman’s best friend, why aren’t we doing more to protect them?  

Here are my top tips to keeping your dog safe:

  1. Poison-Proof Your Home. Check your home for possible poisons and toxins that your dog can get into. Common toxins include antifreeze, rat or mouse bait, slug bait, and insecticides. Make sure you keep all drugs and medications out of reach. Even household items can be toxic--such as the new “Gorilla Glue.” This glue is activated by water and expands to more than three to four times its volume and can expand to fill the entire area in which it is confined. When it hardens, it is rock hard and a pet is unable to eliminate it. If a pet eats it, the glue can expand it its stomach causing a life-threatening problem that requires surgery! 
  2. Plant-Proof Your Home. Plants are an attractive part of home decorating. However, plants can be toxic to your dog. Be careful what you bring in, and monitor if your pet is getting into it. Ingestion of almost any plant can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea in most pets. Easter lilies are especially toxic and can cause fatal kidney failure.
  3. Check Collars, Tags, and Microchip. Check your dog’s neck at least once a week to make sure the collar is not too loose or too tight, and it is still there. A pet can easily lose his/her collar and his/her “identification” along with it. This is especially important in pets that are growing, but also in pets that are on a diet to lose weight. When you check the collar, make sure there is a tag that is easy to read. Tags can fall off. Consider having a microchip placed for permanent identification.
  4. Keep Dogs Supervised. The safest approach for dogs is leash walks only! This way, you can not only monitor what they are getting into but also watch their urine and bowel movements for abnormalities. The next safest things for dogs are fenced-in yards. Monitor your yard and fence frequently for problems such as loose boards, open trash, and other dangers. Keep your dog inside in extreme cold or hot temperatures.
  5. Don't Let your Dog Ride in an Open Truck Bed. Dogs that are allowed to ride in open bed pick up trucks frequently become victims of trauma. Sudden starts, stops, and turns can toss your pet onto the highway where it can get hit by oncoming traffic. It is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die this way each year. Leashing your pet in the back does not protect it as many dogs have been strangled when tossed over the side. If your pet needs to ride in back, let him or her ride in a crate safely secured to the cab.
  6. Keep Head and Paws Inside. Dogs love to stick their heads out open windows. However the wind, insects, and debris in the air can hit your pet. Many pets are taken to emergency hospitals after something hits their eyes or face. Many dogs have also been injured during accidents when a sudden start or stop has thrown them, causing crippling or fatal injuries.
  7. Pet-Proof Your Home. Prevent common accidents in your home by pet-proofing! Protect your dog from electrical cords. Remove access to children's toys, strings, or small objects that can be chewed on or swallowed. Gate or fence water bodies like pools, lakes, ponds, or canals. Don't allow pets near automated garage doors.  Small dogs can be crushed under reclining chairs and rockers. Keep paper shredders turned completely off or unplugged when not in use, as some pets will stick paws or tongues in the feeder or have hair caught in them, causing very serious injuries.
  8. Know What to Do and Whom to Call. Find out if your veterinarian performs emergency work after hours and locate your closest emergency hospital. Know the numbers and directions, just in case you need them. Call when you have a pet concern.

Two more tips, from the editor:

  1. Beware of Predators. Don't leave small pets in your backyard unsupervised. Predatory birds such as owls and hawks can easily stun and carry off a cat or small dog.
  2. Beware of Aggressive Dogs. Many people have pit bulls for "protection," although they have no clue how to properly manage the animal. Other people have Dalmatians for reasons that have nothing to do with the temperament or characteristics of the breed. And so it goes with many other breeds. The combination of inappropriate selection and improper training is often compounded by abuse and little or no restraint. When agitated, these already stressed out dogs can jump fences or break leashes, and may cross the street to attack your dog (or you). Note where such animals are kept, and alter your walking route to avoid them.

About the Author

With her columns, dog safety expert Dr. Debra Primovic has helped thousands of dog owners protect their dogs from harm’s way. To keep your best friend living longer and stronger, check out’s 8,000+ veterinarian-approved articles at:

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Dog Quotes
  • The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
  • Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
    -Ann Landers
  • If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
    -Will Rogers
  • There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
    -Ben Williams
  • A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
    -Josh Billings
  • The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
    -Andy Rooney
  • We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
    -M. Acklam
  • Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.
    -Sigmund Freud
  • I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
    -Rita Rudner
  • A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
    -Robert Benchley
  • Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.
    -Franklin P. Jones
  • If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
    -James Thurber
  • If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise.
  • My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.
    -Joe Weinstein
  • Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul -- chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!
    -Anne Tyler
  • Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
    -Robert A. Heinlein
  • If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
    -Mark Twain
  • You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'
    - Dave Barry
  • Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
    -Roger Caras
  • If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.
    -Phil Pastoret
  • My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am.
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