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- Know your plant names and which are toxic. Check out my post at Organic Journey Online, Dogs and Plants: What is Safe for Them?
- Keep your fence in good repair to avoid escapes and injury.
- Clear out heavy underbrush to diminish the chances of snakes or rodents making homes there.
- Remove thorny vines, plants and bushes.
- Be aware of wildlife and your dog's risk. For instance, Oliver, my Papillon, is a likely target of the Barn Owl that lives in a nearby wooded area. My veterinarian has suggested I do not use our Invisible Fence for him, but always take him outside on a leash or with close supervision. Likewise, the local bear population is quite active right now, so Tanner and Xena, my Retrievers, must be supervised when outside after dark.
- Water and its inherent danger can come in many forms. Check out my post on water safety and also learn more about how to teach your pup to swim at Swimming Isn't Just for Lab Lovers. If you live on a waterway or have a swimming pool or spa, be sure your dog knows how to swim if he has access to it. Teach him how to get out safely, practicing from different locations to assure he knows how to reach the exit point. This is especially important for smaller dogs that can only exit at very shallow areas. Be aware, too, that natural waterways carry other dangers such as snakes, gators and shells that can cut feet. Maintaining a clear water line will help minimize critters, but you must also be sure to teach your dog to swim with supervision only. Even with my pool being right outside the back door, Tanner knows he must wait permission to swim. He plays on the pool deck for several hours a day, but is well aware that he must follow my rules. This may save his life one day.
- Know your dog's ability to open gates. If you have one, be sure it is secure. Likewise, if you have a fence, can Fido jump it? Think about whether a bit of encouragement on the other side might give him more energy to make the big leap? They can surprise you sometimes. I probably don't even have to mention that they can also dig under your fence. Dogs have been known to dig under and get stuck. Keep your eyes open for trouble spots.
One last note: If I've struck a chord here, check out my earlier post on Dog Proofing Your House.
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