Making your home dog friendly
If you're thinking of getting a dog, it's important to make sure you provide for all their needs. There are some simple steps you can follow to create the perfect home for your dog no matter where you live.
When it comes to keeping them happy, where your dog lives is just as important as their food or exercise routine. Dogs can live in lots of different environments – some might live in flats, others houses where they have free access to the garden, some may live outdoors in kennels and some have outdoor runs. No matter what your dog’s living situation, as an owner you need to make sure you’re meeting all of their welfare needs.
Your dog's home – the basics
To start with, there are a few things that are an absolute must for every dog no matter where they live:
- Comfort. You need to make sure that wherever your dog lives, they have a nice comfy bed to sleep on. This should be somewhere quiet they can relax with space to stretch out or curl up.
- Shelter. Your dog should always have somewhere they can go to get out of the wind, rain and sun!
- Food and water. Your dog needs constant access to fresh clean water. This shouldn’t be too close to their bed in case they knock it over or get their bed wet! They’ll also need regular meals throughout the day, but this will depend on your vet’s advice and how you feed your dog.
- Temperature. You need to make sure that wherever your dog spends their time is the right temperature for them. Dogs can quickly overheat and suffer from heatstroke in warmer weather, so try providing things to keep them cool such as a pool and plenty of shade. On the flip side of this, dogs can get very cold as temperatures dip so they may need extra blankets or appreciate central heating during cold spells.
- Exercise. Your dog will need plenty of exercise every day, both indoors and out! Along with walks, they’ll need playtime, ideally in a secure area outdoors (whether this is a garden, run or secure dog park).
- Entertainment. Wherever your dog lives, you need to make sure they don’t get bored! Make sure they have lots of safe, dog specific toys. You can also entertain your dog with games like hide and seek and playing fetch.
- A safe place. All dogs need somewhere they can feel safe and can escape to when they want to relax. This could be a crate, their bed or another quiet corner of their home. It’s important they have somewhere they can go where they won’t be disturbed.
- Poisons and hazards. This probably goes without saying, but it’s important to keep your dog safe by removing any poisons and hazards from around their home. You should also make sure any poisonous plants are removed from outdoor areas they have free-run of.
Dog proofing your home
If your dog lives in your home with you, there are a few things you’ll probably want to do to ‘dog proof’ your home and make it safe for them. If they have free access to the garden, make sure fences and gates are secure. Make sure any poisons and hazards are out of your dog’s reach and your garden is perfectly dog friendly. If you have a pond in your garden, make sure there is a secure cover so that your dog can’t fall in or drink pond water.
Keeping food out of paws' reach
Dogs can be very clever when it comes to getting treats! If they smell something they like, some dogs will stop at nothing to get to it – and this includes our human food. Make sure food is kept well out of your dog’s reach and that there’s no way they can get into cupboards or even the bin! If you’ve got a particularly smart pooch, child safety locks can be very useful to stop them getting into the fridge or cupboards.
Lock away cleaning products
Some of the cleaning products we use can be really harmful to our dogs. It's important that you store anything that could make them unwell somewhere secure your dog will never be able to get to. Ideally, this should be in a locked cupboard or a room your dog doesn't go in (such as the bathroom), or will never be in unattended.
Baby gates are great for setting boundaries for your dog and teaching them which rooms they can and can’t go in. By putting baby gates between rooms, your dog can still see you so they tend not to get worried about being left alone. It’s also a safe way of keeping them out of certain places in the house.
Pick up valuables
Some dogs like to nibble on whatever they can get to. Make sure you put away anything you don’t want your dog to accidentally mistake for a toy (such as shoes, children’s toys, even the TV remote!). It’s best to put these things on high shelves or in cabinets with child-proof locks on.
Tidy away cables
Sometimes, it’s best to treat your dog as you would a baby. By this, we mean making sure any potential dangers are safely out of reach. Keep cables and wires up high if you can, or use cable covers around them to stop your dog accidentally nibbling through the live wires.
Your dog's home – our top tips
- Make sure your dog has a warm, comfy bed.
- Keep poisons and hazards safely out of paw's reach.
- Make sure your dog has lots to keep them happy and occupied when they can't play with you.
- Set boundaries from the moment you get your dog.
- Regularly treat the home for fleas.
- Keep to a routine – dog's love consistency!
- Give your dog the opportunity to run and play off-lead in a secure, outdoor area.
- Your dog's needs may vary depending on their age or breed. For specific advice it's always worth contacting your vet.
Our vets have put together a list of some common poisons and hazards around the home so you can keep your pet safe.
Your dog will have difference exercise needs depending on their age and breed. Read our handy advice as a starting point.