Every good dog owner considers dog safety a priority. Here are 7 Dog Safety Facts that every dog owner should know.
1. Most Common Dog Poisoning Cases are From “People Food”
You and your family might enjoy spoiling your family pet by giving them people food. In fact, this can often escalate when dogs learn to beg for it from children or certain people that give them people food more often.
However, this is a huge mistake. Even if the “Human Food” isn’t poisonous, it encourages people to give the dog food more often. Additionally, this trains the dog to think “It’s okay to eat people food.”
Here’s the facts…
Most “people food” is generally not safe for pets. Yes, some of it is very safe. Your pet can have some of the same foods that you eat. But many foods that people eat are dangerous and even deadly to your dog.
Among the most deadly are chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, xylitol, anything with caffeine, and nuts. This is just a few items that are toxic to dogs.
In addition to that, most people eat food that is even bad for them. Foods with high amounts of saturated fats, trans fats, processed/concentrated sugar… all of these are bad for your dog as well.
In fact, since your dog is probably smaller than you are (and has a different metabolism and digestive system), all of those bad foods are even worse for your dog than they are for you! Now, time for the next dog safety fact.
2. An Estimated 2 Million Dogs are Stolen Every Year in the U.S.
It is a fact… Dog theft is a massive problem in the United States. Approximately two million dogs are in some way stolen every single year. This makes dog theft one of the most concerning dog safety facts.
There are many reasons people steal dogs. Some people think they are “saving” the dog from a bad dog owner. When in fact, many times the dog is perfectly happy (and in better care to be honest) with their owner. Sometimes, when a dog is “rescued” by a dog thief, the dog ends up in a shelter somewhere on the waiting list to be killed.
For example, I take road trips with my dogs. My dogs enjoy the beach, camping, and playing around river streams. I love taking my dogs on trips with me. However, dog safety is a huge concern that is always on my mind.
If you’ve ever taken your dog on road trips, you will know that not every place you stop welcomes dogs. In fact, most don’t welcome dogs at all. So if you need to stop to use the bathroom (can’t drive 8 hours without using the bathroom), you can’t take your dog inside to the bathroom with you. Therefore, you have to leave your dog in the car.
I have a very special method. I call it the “two key” method. I find a place that isn’t very busy. I park as close as I can to the place of business. I leave my car running with the air conditioning (properly working) turned on and windows up. I put up sun blockers in the windows. Then I take the spare key inside with me and leave the car locked. Also, on road trips, I keep several frozen bottles of water in the back seat with my dogs.
So, it’s a running, locked car, with the air conditioning blowing and the sun blocked. Dogs have cold water and frozen water bottles in the seat with them. Additionally, I’m gone for up to 10 minutes (I set a timer). I can unlock the car with my spare key when I come back.
Here’s the problem. Maybe you’ve heard that states are passing laws that if you see a dog in a car, it is legal to break out a window to “save the dog”, even if the car is running. People try to steal dogs from cars all the time.
Let me tell you. If someone tries to “save my dog” from the ENVIRONMENT THAT SHE RIDES IN WITH ME ALL DAY, all they are going to do is scare my dog, potentially injure her with glass (if they break the window), and help her get hit by a car as she runs off.
The dog safety issue is not that the dog is going to die of heat stroke, or somehow make my car drive off. The dog safety issue is that some people are crazy and illogical. Someone is going to harm my dog trying to save it from it’s perfect life with me. Personally, I know people that try to “save dogs” from owners by stealing them. It’s not okay unless the dog is actually in danger from neglect or abuse.
People… It’s a fact… My primary dog safety concerns always have to do with people. The worst of these dog safety facts seem to involve other people that think they are pet advocates. Both people that are malicious and people with good intentions tend to cause issues.
3. About 40,000 Pets Die Every Year From House Fires
I found this to be a very interesting dog safety fact. Mostly due to the fact that many of these fires are started by the pets themselves. However, you can’t blame the pets for starting house fires. You have to blame the owners for not taking precautions. If a two year old child was to start a house fire, you wouldn’t blame the child would you?
With that said, let’s go over a few dog safety tips that help prevent dogs from starting house fires.
Buy knob covers or locks for your stove. There are some stoves that come with knobs that make it hard to accidentally turn already. If you have one of these already, it should suffice. The problem is, sometimes a pet accidentally bumps the knob just enough to turn the stove on or for it to start leaking gas. Basically just enough to cause an accident. This can be prevented with some simple stove knob modifications.
Don’t leave candles or other open flames unattended. This should be obvious. However, if for some reason you absolutely have to leave your open flamed grill or candle for a few minutes, bring your pet with you. Pets are often curious about fire in the same way they are curious about all new things. Open flames are dangerous and should be treated as such.
Unplug electric cords that are easily accessible to your pet. If something must stay plugged in, child proof it so your dog can’t mess with it. Exposed cords or cables often attract pets to play with them. Pets often enjoy chewing on wiring. So don’t leave the wires exposed.
Confine your pet to safe areas while you are away from home. This is especially true for younger pets that like to play more. If you make a safe area for them to stay in while you are away from the house, this can help keep them from getting into all sorts of trouble. Not only will it keep them from starting fires, it will also keep them from eating something they shouldn’t.
Pet-proof your house the way a parent would child-proof their house. This will help keep your dog safe in your home. Now for the next item on the list of dog safety facts.
4. A Dog Can Die of Heat Stroke in as Little as 10 Minutes
Depending on the conditions, a dog can die of heat stroke in as little as 10 minutes. Dogs don’t sweat the way we do. Dogs can only sweat through their paw pads. Most of their internal cooling comes from panting, which can only do so much to cool their body temperature.
Certain breeds, like huskies, have a much more difficult time staying cool in hot environments. Huskies can endure extremely cold temperatures. Some can handle as low as -75° F (which is pretty amazing). However, a husky can have a heat stroke in what we would consider mild weather, or “a nice day” outside.
Dogs should never be left in a hot car. In some states, it has been made illegal to leave your dog alone in the car. This has made it very difficult for some people that take road trips with their dogs. However, with proper preparation and safety considerations, you can make road trips with your dogs easy. Although it’s important to keep in mind that a dog in a hot car can die in a matter of minutes.
In hot environments, pet owners should always make sure their pet has access to water. Dogs should always have access to shelter from the sun and water. Personally, my dogs are “inside dogs” and go outside regularly. But I always try to make sure they are safe and healthy.
5. Approximately 200 Dogs Die from Intentional Poisoning Annually
This is one of the saddest dog safety facts. Although the number is fairly low compared to the others on this list, the fact that it’s intentional is just horrible. An estimated 200 dogs die every year from some sort of intentional poisoning.
The majority of the time, someone is setting out antifreeze for their neighbor’s dog to drink. Now even though this is a horrible thing to do. I would like to point out that, in my opinion, a good dog owner doesn’t let their dog wander around on it’s own. You would never see me letting my dog roam the neighborhood unsupervised.
With that said, it is preventable. Yes, it is awful for those people to poison their neighbor’s pet, but it’s also horrible to let your pet roam freely in your neighborhood. The only time my neighbor’s ever see my dog is when she’s with me.
6. Heartworms Can Be a Foot Long and Can Live in a Dog’s Heart for 7 Years
I found this dog safety fact to be interesting, yet alarming. First of all, heartworms are not a myth. The fact that some people think that blew my mind. Dogs are the most natural host for the heartworm. So all dogs are at high risk. Heartworms take approximately 6 months to go from larva to a mature heartworm. After that, they can grow to be one foot long and live in your dog’s heart for up to 7 years.
All dogs should be on a heartworm prevention medication. The reason for this is because prevention is easier than treatment. If your dog gets heartworms, it is a very long, painful, expensive process to get rid of them. And it doesn’t always work. Even if you get rid of the heartworms, your dog’s health and quality of life may never be the same afterward.
7. Dogs Die All the Time From Being in Truck Beds
Open truck beds are definitely not a safe place for your dog. Actually, dogs die all the time from being in truck beds, and in a number of different ways I might add.
In addition to your dog falling out or jumping out of the truck, your dog isn’t protected from weather elements. If it’s hot outside, the metal of the truck bed could burn your dogs paw pads. Additionally, dogs have heat strokes all the time in truck beds.
Think you might tie or leash your dog in the back? You think that might help keep them safe? Think again! Here’s another dog safety fact for you. There are often reports of dogs being flung over the side just to hang by their necks and die. It only takes a small bump and a few seconds.
If you absolutely have to put your dog in the back of your truck, put it in a dog crate and make sure you stop to give her water regularly.
Final Thoughts: Dog Safety Facts Every Dog Owner Should Know
There are a number of different factors that can affect your dog’s safety. With the right knowledge and some preparation, you should have no problem keeping your dog safe.
With that said, some of you might be wondering why we didn’t discuss microchipping your dog in this article. For my current thoughts on dog microchipping, read the article Can a Microchip be Removed from a Dog?
Did we miss something in this article? Are there any dog safety facts that you feel are more important? Please feel free to give us your thoughts and input by leaving a comment below!