By KERRI WIEDMEYER, DVM, WVRC

Getting a new puppy is a very exciting time in anyone’s life!

It can be such a fun time with much to consider and learn: when to vaccinate, how to train them, what to feed them, etc. But before you even bring that bundle of joy into his or her new forever home, you may have to do some puppy proofing.

Environment

It is very important to make the puppy’s environment safe, and it is similar to baby proofing your home. Use baby gates to keep the pup in or out of rooms. Hide electrical cords, and keep them out of reach. Consider crate training your puppy to keep them both safe and as a potty training tool. Puppies should never be left unsupervised with toys or bones as they may choke or swallow them. Puppies may also try to chew or eat non-edible items in the house, such as clothing items, furniture, carpet, etc. Proper training is very important to avoid such problems.

Toxins

Foods. This is not an all inclusive list, but these are some of the more common foods that are either toxic or cause problems in our pets

  • Chocolate and coffee can cause GI upset, arrhythmia, seizures, potential death
  • Grapes/raisins can causes kidney failure
  • Xylitol products (sugar-free gum and other sugar-free products) can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure
  • Macadamia nuts can cause lethargy, lameness, CNS depression
  • High fat foods can cause GI upset and pancreatitis
  • Fruits with pits can cause GI obstruction
  • Chicken/turkey bones can cause possible GI perforation and upset
  • Moldy garbage can cause GI upset, tremors, seizures
  • Onion/garlic can cause anemia

Medications/Drugs. Alcohol, marijuana, over-the-counter human medications and prescription medications should never be given to dogs or cats without consulting a veterinarian. Also, animal medications should never be given to an animal that they are not prescribed for as this could result in unforeseen complications or illness.

Household products. Once again, this is not an all-inclusive list, and these are items that commonly are ingested, as they may taste good.

  • Rat poison. There are several different kinds: Anticoagulants can cause bleeding, Bromethalin can cause severe neurologic problems
  • Cholecalciferol can cause Vitamin D toxicosis
  • Antifreeze can cause kidney failure
  • Household cleaners (effects vary depending on the product)

House plants: All plants should be investigated if your pup is going to be around them. This is just a short list of common plants.

  • Sago Palm can cause GI upset and liver failure
  • Oleander, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Milkweed (can be toxic to the heart)
  • Rhododenrons can cause GI, cardiovascular and neurologic signs
  • Araceae family can cause oral irritation, GI upset, rare respiratory disease

As stated above, these lists are the most common items that we see causing problems. If there is any concern about something a new puppy gets into, please contact your veterinarian to be certain. Now that you have a better idea of how to maximize the safety of your new addition to the family, do not forget to have fun and enjoy every minute with your new puppy!

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