Other Living-Space Hazards
In addition to the previously mentioned household dangers, your home probably contains other threats, such as electrical cords; power cords to computers; squeeze-in spaces; dropped paper clips and push pins; rodent and roach poisons; kitty litter “prizes”; and teetering objects that could fall. You must be ever vigilant to watch out for these and other attractive dangers, like coffee tables. If your Chi gets up on one, don't startle her and make her jump — she could break something.
A very common and often tragic home hazard is the electrical cord. For whatever reason, puppies find the texture of an electrical cord irresistible. If the lamp were turned on (with power flowing through the cord) and your Chihuahua chewed through the protective coating and hit live wires, the shock would be enough to kill a puppy or dog. If the electrical cord doesn't have a current flowing through it and the Chi partially chews through the cord, your little dog has now created a fire hazard for the next time the light is turned on.
Ways to prevent cord problems include covering the cords with a rug or heavy plastic protective strips commonly used for computer cords. Applying a bitter-apple-flavored gel or another chewing repellent to cords can also help — unless your Chi enjoys this flavor, and then you're back to trying to cover the cords. Additionally, you can unplug the cords when you are not in the room and wind them around a chair leg or the lamp itself. You can also keep your Chi out of this particular room or let her safely relax in her crate when you can't watch her every move.
Ingestible dangers found in living areas of your home can include rodent, roach, and ant poisons. These poisons in particular are left in areas that a Chihuahua might be able to access — at the base of windows, behind furniture, or against walls. Rodent poisons cause fatal hemorrhaging; pesticides can cause neurological death. They're nasty any way you look at them.
Many ordinary houseplants can cause illness, particularly in a small dog. Most of these plants cause irritation in the dog's mouth, but some can be poisonous. For a complete list of poisonous houseplants and their toxicity, visit the ASPCA's National Animal Poison Control Center Web site (online at www.aspca.org). In case of emergency, you can also call the center at 1-888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.
If you're accustomed to using these methods to keep your home pest-free, you will have to rethink your strategies. You cannot have these poisons out if you have a puppy or dog in the home. It won't be a matter of if your Chi will investigate and potentially ingest a fatal dose of these poisons; it will be a matter of when. And don't think you can substitute a mousetrap; this could kill a curious Chihuahua, too.