Puppy and dog safety

Your pup is an intelligent and inquisitive little thing. He has thought about teething on all manner of items in our household that are at puppy level – low to the ground. We have done our best to correct unwanted behaviours (like chewing on furniture, books, electrical cables, phone chargers, shoes etc. with a quick “Uh Uh” and providing a diversion with one of the appropriate chew toys or treats).


Car travel

If travelling in the car puppies and dogs must be secured. There are several alternatives – a harness or crate are the safest options for taking your puppy home. Once your dog is older, a cargo barrier in a station wagon can be used to secure your dog.

NEVER leave your pup in a car unattended. Even on a cool day, your car heats up quickly and dogs can die very quickly from heat stress.

Dogs and kids

From birth, your puppy has been handled daily by our family. Our pups are also handled by and socialised with children. Regardless, your pup (and indeed all dogs) and young children should never be left unsupervised while they are together. It is important for children to know how to handle puppies securely and gently to prevent injury (to either the child or the puppy) and to learn to read dog body language cues that they are tired, not wanting company or are needing time out.

We recommend the information presented on the Liam Perk Foundation website.


  • Teach your children to read the signs of a tired puppy that walks away to a quiet corner – the crate can be a good refuge for puppies with very young children
  • A puppy that is annoyed will first retreat, then may growl
  • Never punish the growl… want to find out why? The Liam Perk Foundation page explains this very well via the link above
  • Squealing is excitement and reward for a pup so when a child gives a normal response to something they don’t like (puppy scratching or nipping) the pup’s normal thought response is “that got a response – I should do that again!” There are good teaching resources for kids here “Be a Tree”… a safe response for kids who feel threatened or anxious around dogs – even small puppies

The growl is an important communication tool for a dog – if ignored, the may escalate his communication to get his message across. This may be a nip or bite. Parents will notice the nip when the child protests but may have missed the other warning signals the puppy tried to give. Bite prevention tips are discussed here. Even a Labradoodle, renowned for their sociable temperament can be pushed to his limits.

Puppy proofing

To keep your pup safe, you either need to “puppy proof” your pup’s new environment or consistently correct unwanted behaviours. Some things to think of (both dangers and things that might cause heart ache if chewed) include:


  • Your favourite shoes and other footwear – thongs are cheap but it is annoying when one is destroyed…so never let them chew them
  • Books – the spine is great for teething but teeth marks make books and magazines hard to read
  • TV, electrical and computer cables – put them up out of reach or unplug when not in use (saves energy too!)
  • Toilet – put the lid down and keep toilet paper rolled up (you’ve seen the Kleenex advert on TV with a paper trail through the house)
  • Cords from blinds – entertaining but pets can also get tangled in them
  • Electrical cords if pulled will lead to accidental breakages or injury (eg from a lamp, kettle, toaster…)
  • Poisons, chemicals, medicines, disinfectants (eg Dettol) and cleaning products including some natural oil based products such as Tea-Tree oil – keep them out of reach
  • Insecticides, sprays, mouse, ant and cockroach baits or traps – ensure these are all inaccessible and don’t use them if you don’t need to
  • Some foods are poisonous – never feed your pup or adult dog these foods: chocolate, onions, grapes, sultanas, kernels of stone fruit, apple core pips macadamia nuts, ham and ham bones (including bacon)
  • Xylitol found in some peanut butter, packet cake mix, chewing gum and toothpaste (and other human foods) is TOXIC to dogs. Ingestion is a medical emergency


  • Garden plants – they are entertaining to chew because they often move so either fence them off, supervise and teach your pup not to chew and dig (this will take time) provide alternatives (you may even set up a designated digging place)
  • Know what plants are poisonous to pets RSPCA Guide to Toxic Plants
  • Cane toads are poisonous – don’t let your pup chew or lick them and know how to administer first aid
  • Weed killers, snail bait and fertilisers (including natural products like blood and bone or Dynamic Lifter) can be toxic to your pup
  • Buckets for animal drinking water or just buckets that might fill with rainwater can be potential drowning spots as a pup will go in head first and be unable to turn around
  • Stairs – install gates or mesh wire to prevent balcony or stairwell spills
  • Swimming pool fence – can your puppy get under it… you’d be amazed? Also perimeter security (fences) – check there are no little escape hatches