Dogs and fish can live together in relative harmony, but there are a few steps you’ll have to take first to make this possible. Read on to find out the best ways to dog-proof your fish tank so that having a dog doesn’t prevent you from keeping fish.
In this article, you’ll learn a few basic steps every dog owner should take to keep their canines out of their fish tanks and pets as happily and healthily as possible.
Although perhaps not as likely as cats, dogs can cause problems with aquariums.
They’re likely to be just as intrigued by a beautiful collection of colorful fish as you are, so it’s essential to take a few precautions to dog-proof your fish tank before introducing your furry friend to your finned ones.
Keep your fish tank out of sight
Your dog may enjoy watching your fish swim back and forth in their tank like a human. While this may be calming for people, it will likely excite your dog.
If your dog gets excited, curiosity may lead them to jump at, nose, or knock over the tank. The easiest way to avoid this issue is to dog-proof your fish tank by keeping it out of your dog’s line of sight.
Place it somewhere high enough or in an awkward corner so your dog can’t see it. If that doesn’t work out, you can also use a blanket or a homemade cardboard cover to block the fish tank from view when you aren’t around to watch it and your dog.
Tire out your dog
A tired dog is less likely to cause problems when left alone, including with a fish tank. Anyone dealing with an energetic breed or a dog with separation anxiety will be familiar with these techniques.
Especially in the first few days and weeks after bringing the fish tank home, take your dog for long walks, play with them often, and maximize the time you spend together doing activities. This will leave your dog too tired while at home alone to get into trouble with your fish tank.
Put a lid or other cover on your fish tank
A lid is probably a good idea for your fish tank regardless of whether you have a dog; it will prevent more active species from jumping out of the tank and endangering themselves.
To dog-proof your fish tank, a lid is essential. You can use mesh or wire to cover a fish tank, but you’ll want a solid lid for your dog. The idea is to help prevent interesting and tantalizing fish smells from reaching your dog’s nose. Dogs are attracted to smells more than colors or noise, and a fragrant fish tank will pique their curiosity. Covering it up will minimize these attractive scents and possibly prevent your dog from taking too much interest in your fish tank.
Watch your dog carefully
No matter how calm or well-behaved your dog usually is, don’t leave them with your fish tank unsupervised, especially when you first bring it home. After a while, your dog will likely get used to the tank and be able to lay calmly on the living room floor like before, but in the beginning, you’ll have to keep a close eye on things. The first few meetings should be short, with your dog on a leash.
Afterward, you should always be in the room with your dog and the fish tank. Watch your dog’s body language. Is your dog tense? Does your dog stare at the tank? And are your dog’s ears pricked or relaxed?
This will help you gauge your dog’s response to the tank and let you know when you might need to remove your dog from the tank before things escalate.
Take extra precautions when you’re away from home
Again, no matter how chill your dog usually is, it’s impossible to know how they’ll react to a new fish tank, especially when they’re left alone with it for the first time. If you’re leaving the house, separate your dog from the tank if possible, close the door to the fish tank room, or set up a baby gate or other barrier.
Take steps to dog-proof your fish tank
As discussed above, you can also block the fish tank from view with a blanket or other cover. It’s also essential to ensure your dog is fully engaged while you’re away, as a bored dog is more likely to be intrigued by the fish tank. Provide your dog with toys, puzzles, chews, or their favorite distraction, so they’re fully stimulated and not tempted by the mystery of the new fish tank.
Dogs are highly adaptable creatures who can adjust to living with just about other pets or people. As with any change in living situation, there will be a period of adjustment for you and your dog when you first bring home a fish tank. With a few careful measures, though, there’s no reason you, your dog, and your fish can’t peacefully cohabitate.
David Thomas has been keeping fish since he was a child. His first tank was a goldfish tank; since then, he has kept over 10 different tanks. His favorite tank now is his 100-gallon freshwater tank with Tetras and Rasboras.