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Creating a dog-friendly home

Published March 2023

Did you know that some household items, including certain plants and foods, are toxic to dogs? 

There are many things to be aware of, so it’s important you know the dangers to ensure your home is a safe and nurturing environment.

We have put together some useful tips on how to create pet friendly homes to keep your dog and family safe. 


  1. Washer/dryer: Close the door when not in use and ensure it’s doggy free before switching on.
  2. Dog food: Ensure all dog food and chews are stored away to avoid temptation.
  3. Cooking: Keep your dog out of the kitchen when cooking to avoid tripping and spilling hot food on them.
  4. Rubbish bin: This is full of interesting smells, so keep closed at all times.
  5. Child-proof locks: Child-proof locks can double as dog-proof locks. Invest in a few to keep areas protected for a dog friendly home.

Some foods which are bad for dogs include:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Garlic, onions and chives
  • Avocado
  • Corn on the cob
  • Artificial sweetener (Xylitol)
  • Cooked or small bones

Tip: Get on your hands and knees to see things from a dog’s eye view and identify potential problems. 


  1. Bed: While the bedroom can be one of the most popular dog areas in the home, it can be a risk if you have allergies. Dogs can leave dander on bedding, which is shed from their bodies and causes allergic reactions. This could worsen your symptoms.
  2. Loose change: Put your change somewhere safe. Coins made of zinc are toxic to dogs.
  3. Children’s toys: These can be a choking hazard, so tidy away.


  1. Toilet: Toilet cleaning products are toxic, so keep the lid closed at all times.
  2. Medicines: Keep these on a high shelf or locked away to protect your pooch from swallowing potentially poisonous medication.
  3. Toilet roll: It can cause a real mess when puppies get hold of this. Keep these locked away in a cabinet if possible.
  4. Cleaning products: Lock all products away and out of reach, as these can be very dangerous for dogs to ingest, and can cause skin irritation too.

Living Room 

  1. Chewable dog toys: It’s good to have plenty of dog toys to distract dogs from chewing on anything else.
  2. Furniture: Apply deterrent spray to stop chewing. These are made with liquids that taste bad to dogs but are completely safe.
  3. Houseplants: Avoid toxic houseplants, such as: Philodendrons, Mistletoe, Lilies, Poinsettias, Aloe Vera and Cyclamen.
  4. CDs/DVDs: Keep out of reach! Discs can be chewed into sharp pieces.
  5. TV/Stereo: Unplug when not in use to protect dogs from nasty shocks.
  6. Wiring from TV etc: Tack onto the wall or cover with a protective sleeve to prevent chewing. 

Tip: Don’t forget to shut interior doors when you’re taking your dog for a walk. An excited, muddy dog doing a full lap of the house on your return can make a lot of mess!


  1. Fence: Fix any holes to stop escape attempts. If your garden isn’t fully fenced, never leave your dog alone.
  2. Pond: Make sure there is a way for dogs to get out, such as a ramp or a shallow edge.
  3. Garden plants: Avoid toxic plants such as Dieffenbachia (dumb cane), Philodendrons, Poinsettias, Azaleas, Daffodils, Tomato plants, Foxgloves, Yew and Hydrangeas.
  4. Rubbish sacks: Keep out of reach to avoid nasty spillages.
  5. Cocoa mulch: Use bark with your soil instead as cocoa mulch is toxic to dogs when swallowed.
  6. Garden chemicals: Use only pet-safe slug pellets, pesticides and fertilisers.

Tip: Make sure your dog is getting the right amount of exercise. This can limit behavioural issues as well as curb excess energy.


  1. Spilled oil: Clean up any spillages to avoid accidents and dogs trailing mess around the house.
  2. Paints and chemicals: Keep out of reach as they can be toxic to pets.
  3. Sharp objects: Keep all saws, screws and other sharp items out of reach from your pup. It’s best to regularly check your garage for any loose nails or blades lying around.

Allergy-proof your home

Follow these tips to help minimise allergies and ensure a dog friendly home:

  • Designate dog-free areas of your house, especially bedrooms.
  • Open windows for at least an hour every day.
  • Regularly vacuum carpets with a high-filtration (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.
  • Install flooring that is easy to clean, carpets that can be washed regularly or hardwood flooring.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding regularly.
  • Always wash your hands after stroking your dog, using antibacterial soap.
  • Bathe your dog in non-soapy water, at least once a week.

For more information, have a look at a range of tips in our pet guides. Once you’ve created a dog-friendly home, protect yourself from unexpected vet bills too, with Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies today.

This Money Talk post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.