• Open cabinets: Can contain caustic cleaners
  • Accessible garbage pail: Can contain bad food, bones and plastic wrap that could be swallowed
  • Overhanging pan handle: Can be pulled off of stove
  • Open oven doors: May be very hot
  • Knives, skewers: Can be licked or swallowed
  • Plastic bags, wrap and aluminum foil: Can be swallowed if they taste like the food they were wrapped in
  • Plastic canisters: Can form a deadly airtight seal if a puppy gets his head stuck inside

What to do

  • Close cabinet doors, install childproof locks (if the puppy can open them) and store caustic cleaners in high cupboards.
  • Place the garbage pail under the sink or on the counter. 
  • Don’t leave wrappers or implements where puppies can reach them. 
  • Don’t let the puppy under your foot when you’re cooking!

Dining Room

  • Swinging door: Can swing shut on a tail, or worse, neck
  • Hanging tablecloth: Can be pulled down (along with what’s on it)

What to do

  • Remove or prop open swinging doors. 
  • Go without a tablecloth for a while, or keep him out of the room when you eat!

Family Room

  • Fireplace without secure fire screen: Can burn puppy
  • Uncovered electrical outlets: Can shock if licked
  • Electric wires: Can shock if chewed through, or can pull lamps and appliances down when pulled on
  • Unattached bookcase: Can be pulled down on top of a puppy
  • Sewing or knitting basket: Can contain pins and thread, both of which can cause serious problems if swallowed
  • Craft kits: Can contain glue, beads, strings and other objects that are dangerous if swallowed.
  • Open stairway: Small puppies may not be ready to negotiate steps.

What to do

  • Get a good fire screen and don’t let the puppy loose around a fire. 
  • Cover electrical outlets and hide as many electric cords as possible. 
  • Place hobby and sewing baskets out of reach. 
  • Place a baby gate in front of stairways. 
  • Don’t let the puppy play unsupervised! A playpen or exercise pen is a good place to keep him when you’re distracted.


  • Toys: Can be destroyed and some parts can be dangerous if swallowed
  • Coins: Pennies are especially dangerous if swallowed because they are made of zinc and can cause zinc toxicity.
  • Open closets: Don’t blame the puppy if he chews your shoes!
  • Diaper pail: If swallowed, diaper material can cause impactions or bowel obstructions.
  • Blinds with long cords: Can choke a puppy if the puppy catches his head in them

What to do

  • Don’t leave toys, coins or diaper pails in reach. 
  • Close closet doors or place shoes on racks. 
  • Cut the loop in the cords for blinds, leaving two long pieces, or hang the cord out of reach. 
  • Place a baby gate in front of children’s rooms that may not be clean enough.


  • Pills: Puppies can chew through childproof caps and can overdose on normally safe medications and react adversely to some human medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, even in small doses.
  • Toiletries: Toothpaste, razors, hair coloring, suntan lotions, deodorants and rubbing alcohol must all be kept out of reach.
  • Drain cleaners: Drain cleaners can be deadly if swallowed and can cause severe irritation on contact.

What to do

  • Close the bathroom door! Even so, keep everything out of reach in medicine cabinets or cupboards.

Laundry Room

  • Detergents, bleach and lye: Some powders can burn eyes and throats, and bleach can be blinding or fatal.

What to do

  • Place everything up high. If possible, close the door or use a baby gate in front of it.


  • Antifreeze: Just one lick of antifreeze containing ethylene glycol can kill. Propylene glycol is less toxic. With either, clean up any spills.
  • Gasoline, diesel, oil, kerosene, brake fluid, carburetor cleaner, windshield fluid, paints, paint thinners, acetone, mineral spirits, wood stain, furniture polish, used oil, batteries, glue: All can irritate skin and may be toxic if swallowed.
  • Tools: Heavy tools can fall on a puppy.
  • Car: Puppies may fall asleep under a parked car and not move when it starts.
  • Garage door: Puppies may try to run through at the last second, resulting in breaking their back.
  • Nails, tacks, and screws: May be deadly if swallowed
  • Herbicides, rodent poisons, slug bait: May be enticing to eat but deadly if swallowed
  • Fertilizers: May be deadly if swallowed

What to do

  • Keep the puppy out of the garage! The only exception is if you make a puppy-proof area from which the puppy cannot escape.


  • Decks, balconies, and upper level open windows: May have open sides that a puppy can fall from
  • Unsealed deck wood: Pressure treated wood contains arsenic; if not sealed regularly it can leach out and be toxic, especially if licked.
  • Open doors: Can let your dog get loose and be hurt; may also be caught by the wind and slam on the puppy
  • Glass doors: Running into a glass door can cause neck injuries.
  • Weak fence: Every time the puppy finds a way out it teaches him to keep on trying harder next time.
  • Unfenced pool: Unless he knows how to get out, he can fall in and drown.
  • Cocoa mulch: Has a chocolate taste but contains toxic theobromine
  • Nut trees: Swallowed nuts may need to be surgically removed.
  • Tree limbs: Falling limbs can crush a puppy.
  • Pointed twigs or sticks at eye level: Can poke a running puppy in the eye
  • Predators: Small puppies can be viewed as prey by coyotes, mountain lions, alligators and large birds of prey. Neighborhood dogs may attack a puppy, and people may steal puppies.
  • Wild animals: Poisonous snakes, snapping turtles, giant marine toads and stinging insects may injure a puppy in self-defense.
  • Poisonous plants: Learn what poisonous plants are in your area and keep the puppy away. For a list of plants poisonous to your pet, check out these resources on common poisonous plants.
  • Treated lawns: Keep the puppy off freshly treated lawns.

What to do

  • Place barriers or temporary fencing, even chicken wire, in front of open high places. 
  • Seal deck wood. 
  • Make it a rule that doors are either shut firmly or held open with a doorstop. 
  • Place decals on glass doors at puppy level. 
  • Fix any weak spots in the fence. 
  • Teach your puppy to swim and how to get out of the pool. If he cannot swim, fence the pool off.
  • Remove cocoa mulch. 
  • Remove rotted branches, or place temporary fencing beneath them and nut trees. 
  • Remove or fence off poisonous plants.

Remember: If a toddler could get into it, it’s child’s play for a puppy!