Other Living Spaces
Almost every area of the house includes items that could be harmful to your dog. One of the most overlooked dangers that can be found in almost every room is electrical cords. Chewing through a lamp cord or a computer cable can potentially give a puppy or adult dog a lethal electrical jolt. If the shepherd chews partially through the cord when the item is not turned on or plugged in, the situation can become a fire hazard when power is restored to the object. As a preventative measure, cover cords and cables with protective plastic designed for this purpose or make sure the cords are completely hidden behind furniture or under rugs.
Other dangerous items include plug-in air fresheners. Not only could your shepherd get a shock by licking or trying to pull this item out of the socket, but eating the toxic chemicals in the plug-in is also hazardous. Dogs are also attracted to scented potpourri and candles. Ingestion of these items could cause serious illness, not to mention danger to the home if a candle is lit.
Your home office can pose a variety of hazards. Dropped staples, push pins, and paper clips are items that a shepherd might try to eat, thus cutting up his mouth, or to swallow, potentially causing extensive internal damage. Keep these items in drawers and make sure the floor is clear at all times. Also, make sure your office trashcan is not accessible to your shepherd.
Is it dangerous for your shepherd to eat “snacks” out of the cat's litter box?
The danger is not so much in the fecal matter itself but in the litter. Some litters contain chemicals to control odors and bacteria, which your shepherd would ingest if he picks anything out of the cat's box. Keep the litter box in an area that makes it easy for your cat to access it but not your shepherd.
If you have an insect or rodent problem in your home, be very careful about the chemicals you use to treat the situation. Ant killer, mouse poison, and roach motels are highly toxic. They also seem to be irresistible to dogs of all ages, perhaps because of their sweet odor or taste. Do not set out any bait in areas where your shepherd can get to them. Keep in mind that the shepherd is physically strong and even stronger willed. She will move filing cabinets and furniture to get to something she finds interesting.
Batteries can also be tempting chew items, and they are poisonous. Dispose of all sizes of spent batteries appropriately. Keep fresh batteries in closed drawers. If you keep nine-volt or larger batteries, remember that these will give your dog quite a jolt if he tries to chew on them. And be sure to put away items that contain batteries, such as remote controls and battery-powered portable radios and CD players.
Closets and Kids' Rooms
There are lots of things in your closets that your shepherd could find and chew on. Shoes, clothing, linens, and stored items like photos are prime candidates for your dog's unwanted attention. Most of these items aren't dangerous for the shepherd (except for the possibility of choking); however, the damage can cost you a small fortune — or it can cost you your memories. To avoid these problems, simply keep the closet door closed, as well as the door to the bedroom. Don't store anything poisonous (such as mothballs) in the closet either, just in case your shepherd figures out a way to get in.
Children's rooms also contain a variety of items that your shepherd would love to access. The only thing a German shepherd may love more than the kids themselves are the toys that they play with and conveniently leave strewn around the room. A kid's room is a chewing wonderland. Action figures and dolls with small parts can present choking hazards; children's art supplies, like markers, crayons, and paints can make a dog sick (and create quite a mess); and breakable items can leave shards of plastic or glass on the floor or in the carpet if tampered with. The good news is that children may be more motivated to pick up their toys if they know that the dog could get into them, but keep the bedroom doors closed as a precaution anyway.
Odds and Ends
Dogs of all breeds seem to be attracted to wooden items, such as windowsill, chair legs, table legs, and cabinet corners, to name a few. To prevent even the first gnaw mark on your furniture, cabinetry, and windows, consider using Bitter Apple spray or gel, or another foul-tasting, nontoxic product specifically designed for this purpose. Hopefully, your shepherd will be repelled by the first taste and learn that these areas are off-limits. These sprays can also be effective on pillows, hand towels, and other items a dog might steal for chewing.
Don't forget to check your home for plants that are toxic, too. Aloe vera, amaryllis, azalea, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, English ivy, hydrangea, Kaffir lily, philodendron, and poinsettia are just a few plants commonly found in homes that can cause anything from minor irritation to severe illness in dogs. Keep these plants (and any nontoxic plants you don't want your shepherd to “prune”) out of reach or outside of the home.