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Dog Safety at the Lake

Your dog is part of the family. When you first brought your puppy home, you quickly learned the process of puppy-proofing your home. However, guests are very common at lake houses. If you don’t personally have a pet and invite friends with their pet to stay at your lake home, you may not be familiar with the basics. If your guests don’t have pets, they may need to be educated on puppy safety in the home. In addition to the basics inside of the home, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind to keep your dog safe at your lake home and on the lake.

Puppy Proofing Your Lake Home

If you are a parent, you know how your kids can get into just about everything. Your furry friend is similar in this way. It is safe to assume nothing is safe when it comes to what your pets can get into. It is very important to keep this in mind rather than taking the wait and see approach. It is surprising how quickly a puppy can find an item, get it in its mouth, and swallow it before you have a chance to stop it.


  • Grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate, and coffee can be toxic to pets. It is important to keep these items safely out of reach.

  • Be mindful of food droppings or scraps on the floor. Sweep often! If you or a family member drops something, make it routine to pick it up.

  • Your garbage is a source of all kinds of smells and temptations! Keep your garbage securely covered or placed in a cabinet.

  • Even though cleaning supplies may not seem appealing, they can be toxic so keep these products out of paw’s reach.

  • Don’t assume it is safe to feed the dog. Always ask the owner before feeding their dog. Some dogs are allergic to chicken, diary, eggs, or other foods.

Living Room

If it is wood or cloth, be prepared for it to become a chew toy. Be mindful of what you leave laying around just in case.

  • Keep all electrical cords up and out of reach.

  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, place a protective screen in front of it.

  • Pick up small objects and keep out of reach. Your dog just might swallow hair ties, coins, ear plugs, pins, paper clips, rocks, and even socks.

  • Keep indoor houseplants, like pothos, out of paw’s reach.


  • The simplest approach is to keep the door closed.

  • Close the toilet lid to prevent your pet from drinking toilet water.

  • Keep the toilet paper out of reach to prevent shredding of the roll.

  • Use a garbage with a lid to prevent shredding of the toilet paper, discovering mystery chew toys, or swallowing an object.

  • Keep medicines, household cleaners, soaps, etc. out of reach.


  • Electrical cords and curtain cords should be kept out of paw’s reach.

  • Be mindful of what is on your nightstand.

  • Don’t leave socks, underwear, or other chew toys laying around.


  • Be careful when opening doors to make sure your pet doesn’t unknowingly escape. Make sure to caution guests and ask them to be mindful of your pet.

  • If your puppy goes for shoes, consider a shoe rack or something to elevate shoes off the ground.

  • Don’t leave any boot sprays, protectants, or other products by the door.

  • If there is rain or snow in the forecast, keep a towel by the door so you can wipe wet paws and any water/snow your puppy brings in with them.

Puppy Proofing the Outdoors

When you let your dog outside, there are some factors that are within your control while others are not. Keeping your pet on a leash or fencing in your yard are two great ways to increase your control over the environment while respecting your neighbors. When you go up north, many owners like to let their puppy run free. Please use caution and keep an eye on your pet. Also, be mindful of the other animals in the area. Coyotes and bobcats have been spotted in the area over the years.

In the Yard

  • Keep your dog away from harmful plants. Coleus, begonias, daffodils, azalea, lilies, tulips, and hydrangeas are common around the lake and poisonous to dogs.

  • Don’t forget their ID. Whether you have a collar with an ID tag or a collar with the microchip information, make sure your dog is wearing it especially when traveling.

  • Keep your pet away from mouse poison, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, etc.

  • Watch the mulch. Puppies love to chew on mulch pieces!

  • Clean up after your pet and always have bags with you. Whether it is in your yard or on a walk, pick up after your pet.

On the Lake

  • Always supervise your dog. Don’t leave them unattended by the water.

  • Make sure you have trained your dog with a reliable command that will get them to return to you when by the water.

  • Teach your dog to swim. Dogs don’t automatically know how to doggy paddle. Drowning is a risk. If your pet is going to be near water, make sure they are prepared and know what to do. You can introduce your pet slowly in swallow waters to help them get comfortable and learn to swim.

  • Invest in a life jacket for your pet, especially if you have a puppy or an older dog. Also, if you are headed out into deep water or on a boat, it is a good idea to wear a life jacket. Dogs who love water may just jump in unexpectedly!

  • Keep your dog hydrated, especially on hot summer days. Bring plenty of safe water for your dog to drink and don’t let them drink from the pool, lake, etc. Pool chlorine and other chemicals can make your dog sick. Parasites and bacteria from fresh water could also make your dog sick.

  • Beware of algae blooms. Blue-green algae develops in fresh water during warm weather. If the water looks green or has slime, avoid exposure.

  • Keep an eye out for fish and other animals. Fish that wash up on shore may look like a treat to your dog but can contain parasites and bacteria.

  • When by the lake, it is great to know CPR for adults, babies, and dogs.

  • Take breaks. If your dog loves the water or is obsessed with retrieving toys from the water, they may push it too far and become exhausted.

  • Check the water quality and temperature. If it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your pet.

Seasonal Tips

  • Fireworks are common at the lake during summer. If your dog is going to be at the lake, especially in July, know your dog and take the precautions you need to.

  • With Whitewater & Rice Lake located near the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit, you may want to take your dog for a hike! During hunting season, some of the state forest land may be open to hunting. If it is hunting season, consider buying your dog an orange protective vest.

  • When the days get shorter, you may find yourself walking your dog at night. Make sure you have the right gear (ex: headlamps, reflective vests, flashlights, etc.) so that you are visible to drivers.

Memories at the lake last forever! The lake can be an endless source of fun and exercise for your dog. These are just a few tips to keep your dog safe at the lake and in your lake home.



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