How to Prepare Your Home for a Labrador Retriever

Get your home ready for your new Labrador Retriever by dog-proofing it. Preparing a home for a new Labrador Retriever requires just as much diligence as it does to child-proof a house for human kids. By dog-proofing your home and yard, you keep your pet safe and healthy.

Neutralizing poisons

One of the greatest dangers to Labrador Retrievers is poison. Keep common household poisons away from your Lab, by moving them to higher shelves, putting baby locks on your cabinet doors (yes, Labs can figure out how to open cabinets), moving your plants from the hearth to the mantle, and making the garage a dog-free zone.

If you dog, gets into any of these items, immediately follow the directions we provide. Some of the most common poisons dogs ingest are the following:

  • Antifreeze: It leaks onto driveways, smells and tastes good, and can quickly kill your dog. Induce vomiting and take your dog to the vet or emergency pet care center immediately.

  • Rat poison: Induce vomiting and take your dog to the vet or emergency pet care center immediately.

  • Insecticides: If your dog has insecticides on his skin, wash his skin with water and vinegar and take your dog to the vet or emergency pet care center immediately.

  • Chocolate: Some dogs can take chocolate, but it is highly toxic to many dogs. Induce vomiting and call your vet.

  • Lead: If your dog ingests lead by eating lead paint, for example, induce vomiting and give your dog a laxative if it has been over two hours since the lead was swallowed.

  • Human medications:

    These may be helpful to humans but are bad for dogs:

    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, or Midol) is particularly dangerous. If your dog swallows ibuprofen, induce vomiting and take your dog to the vet or emergency pet care center immediately.

    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also dangerous for dogs. If he swallows acetaminophen, induce vomiting and call your vet.

  • Poisons or inedible substances in the garbage: If you don't know what your dog has eaten but he's acting as if he is poisoned, take him to the vet. If he has eaten spoiled food and is vomiting, call your vet.

  • Common household and garden plants. The Humane Society of the United States has a listing of common poisonous plants.

    Household cleaners:

    • For soap or bleach, induce vomiting and call your vet.

    • For ammonia, give your dog a spoonful of vegetable oil to block absorption of the ammonia and take your dog to the vet immediately.

    • For furniture polish, induce vomiting or use a laxative if the polish was swallowed more than two hours before and take your dog to the vet immediately.

    • For any other cleaners, call a poison control center and do what they say.

If you don't know what your dog has swallowed but he's showing signs of poisoning, such as severe vomiting, diarrhea, muscle trembling, and increased salivation, immediately take him to your vet or emergency pet care center.

If your Lab does ingest something harmful call your vet immediately or call the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Spotting other dangers

Labrador Retrievers can get into a world of trouble. The trick to protecting them and your house is to figure out what they might want to get into before they do. Want to know what's going to catch your Lab's eye? Crawl around on all fours and pay attention to what you see. The following are just some of the possibilities.

  • Places to get stuck: For example, a hole in the underlining of your box spring.

  • Electrical dangers: For example, a tangle of electrical cords and cables behind your couch.

  • Falling objects: Look for Wobbly or unsteady furniture, low-hanging table cloths or runners, or anything else that if pulled could send knick knacks or furniture itself tumbling over on your Lab.

  • Dangers in the yard: Look for dangers in your yard, such as holes or gaps in the fence, wobbly woodpiles, and unstored garden supplies.

Swimming pools can pose special dangers to Labs. Labs love water, but if they don't know where the stairs are, they can run out of steam before they find the way out and drown.

Preventing damage

The best way to protect your belongings is to put them away and out of reach of your Labrador Retriever's exuberant attention. Shoes? In the closet. Kids toys? In the toy box. For those items you can't put away and close the door behind — like drape hems, chair rungs, and so on — consider spraying them with a dog repellant, such as Bitter Apple, a harmless concoction that most dogs find utterly, well, repellant.

A mature Lab is less likely to chew things up than a puppy. Nevertheless, all dogs are different; don't assume that you don't need to prepare your home just because your dog is older. A dog of any age can get himself into trouble or even hurt.

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