HomeDog CareSmall Dog Safety Tips: 6 Things Every Chug Parent Needs to Know

Chugs are playful, friendly, and curious—that’s why we love them! But sometimes, their insatiable desire to explore can get them into trouble. They can get lost, chew something poisonous, or get into a fight with an unfriendly dog.

Here are some ways to keep your chug safe, while still giving him the freedom to play and get plenty of exercise.

safety first with this dog and owner on a mountain

Leash safety

A leash can save your chug’s life! You can pull him back away from a speeding car, and prevent him from wandering around and getting lost.  

Choose a leash in the right size. Small dogs like chugs need a thinner and lighter leash. If he likes to run ahead and pull at the leash, it’s better to get a no-pull harness.

Never jerk at a leash or drag your dog with it. That can cause injuries, especially for puppies or senior dogs who have more fragile bones. That’s why it’s important to get your chug used to a leash, and following simple orders like “sit” or “stop”.

If you go on evening walks, get a leash or harness with reflectors.

Dog Park Safety

Choose a park with designated areas for small and big dogs. Some of them even have special hours for small dogs—which is also a great way for him to make new friends.

If your chug tends to get nervous or overexcited easily, avoid peak hours when it’s most likely to be crowded with both pets and their owners.

Some dog parks allow you to remove the leash within the designated area. Only do this after your chug is fully trained. Even then, keep a close watch. Observe the other dogs to catch any aggressive behavior that may lead to a fight.

Invest in a good Dog Tag

A dog tag includes all the information that a person may need to contact you if your dog gets lost. Sadly, one paper that was published in the Journal of Preventative Veterinary Medicine said that only 1 out of 3 pet owners actually use dog ID tags.

Get a good tag that won’t get lost easily. If your dog is microchipped, he should also have an additional dog tag that has the microchip company’s contact information.

Some states also require that your dog wears proof of vaccination. It is also a requirement of some dog parks.

Have an extra set of dog tags in case they get lost, and check dog tags periodically to see if the engraving has worn off and needs replacement.

Dog-Proof your Home

Taking care of a dog is just like taking care of a baby or toddler. You have to remove choking hazards, keep potentially toxic substances out of reach, and lock any places where he can climb in and get trapped.

  • Store ingredients and food well. Some very common ingredients—garlic, grapes, chocolate, nuts—are actually dangerous for dogs to eat. Store these in cabinets or tightly sealed jars. Keep any leftover food out of reach. Read more about unsafe foods on our Feeding page.
  • Use safety locks on low kitchen or bathroom cabinets. This is very important if you store household cleansers, laundry detergent, and other toxic substances. Even a cleaning rag or sponge can become a choking hazard, if your dog decides to chew on them.
  • Place safety gates. Is there a room that has a lot of small or sharp objects? For example, your craft room or workshop, or a child’s playroom strewn with lego pieces or doll accessories. Install a safety gate so your chug can’t go in.
  • Close the toilet lid. It’s easier than trying to explain to your chug that the toilet bowl is not a giant drinking bowl. 
  • Organize your cords. Curious puppies may chew on the cords of your appliances. You should also make sure that all chargers are out of reach.
  • Use non-toxic cleansers or insecticides. They may kill bacteria and unwanted pests, but they may contain chemicals that irritate your dog’s skin or trigger respiratory problems. If you must use them, keep your dog out of the room and open the windows for ventilation.
  • Know which plants are toxic to dogs. Some plants and vegetables are toxic to dogs  (ex: poinsettias, lilies, elephant ear, tomatoes, onions, etc.) Make sure indoor plants are not within reach, or that any outdoor plants are fenced off.
  • Store medications in a child-proof container. Your dog may think that those colorful pills are dog treats! Keep jars in a high cabinet or a drawer. If you use a pill box, make sure that it’s child-proof and keep out of reach.

Teach safety habits

It’s harder to break a bad habit than to train your dog to obey commands and not do anything that can endanger his safety and health.

  • Teach basic commands like sit, stop, stay, heel, etc.
  • Do not allow your dog to drink from puddles or any other unknown containers. He should learn that he can only drink water from his bowl.
  • Do not give your dog scraps from the table. He will get used to begging for (or even stealing) “people food” –which is bad for his diet, and also increases the risk of accidentally ingesting toxins. Train him to eat only from his bowl, or treats/foot that you personally give him.
  • Do not condone or encourage behavior like jumping on the table, chewing on socks or toys, or chewing on plants.

Prepare for Emergencies

  • Have a first aid kid for small cuts and scrapes.
  • Save your vet’s number and clinic hours.
  • Know the contact numbers of 1 or 2 other animal clinics in the area, which you can contact if you can’t reach your vet.  For easy access, store this information in a mapping app.
  • Make a back-up plan. If you don’t have a car, know how you’ll be able to bring your dog to a vet if there is an emergency.

These precautions can help your chug stay safe in every situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’ve got all bases covered.