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How to Prepare Your Home for a Yorkshire Terrier

Get your home ready for your new Yorkshire Terrier by dog-proofing it. Preparing a home for a new Yorkshire Terrier 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.

Yorkshire Terriers will explore — by chewing, sniffing, tasting, pulling at, and bouncing around — anything that catches his eye. Your Yorkie needs clear, consistent boundaries not only to stay in your good graces, but also just to stay safe.

A mature Yorkie 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.

Neutralizing poisons

Keep common household poisons away from your Yorkie, by moving them to higher shelves, putting baby locks on your cabinet doors (yes, Yorkies can figure out how to open cabinets), moving your plants from the hearth to the mantle, and making the garage a dog-free zone. Figure out where the chemical hazards are in your home and take steps to eliminate them.

  • Cleaning supplies under sinks and in lower cabinets.

  • Personal hygiene items in the bathroom (hair-care products, perfume, medicine, and ointments).

  • Motor oil, antifreeze, and car-care products in the garage.

    Be especially careful with antifreeze. A thimbleful of antifreeze is enough to permanently wipe out a pet's kidneys in one hour. If you suspect that your Yorkie drank some antifreeze, go to the vet immediately.

  • Laundry detergent and bleach in the laundry room.

  • Fertilizer, insect killer, and other dangerous chemicals in your yard.

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

If your Yorkie 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

Yorkies 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 Yorkie's eye? Crawl around on the floor 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 Yorkie.

  • 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 and ponds can pose special dangers to Yorkies. Though most Yorkies can doggy paddle, they usually don't have the stamina to escape the pool and drown. Ponds are a danger to Yorkies because the algae that may grow there could be toxic.

Preventing damage

The best way to protect your belongings is to put them away and out of reach of your Yorkie'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.

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