Today a flyball teammate posted on a link on our e-mail list to a very sad story about a puppy licking an ordinary home paper shredder with tragic results (Here's the link, but please do not read the story if you are very sensitive--take my word for it. I'll save you some wondering and tell you that the dog had to be euthanized.) Another teammate followed up with a story about a well-known, older agility dog who also had such an accident years ago. That dog survived, but he had to be taught to eat and drink all over again and was unable to be active or go out into the heat because the tongue is a dog's way of cooling itself. That dog had apparently been around the paper shredder many times before without incident, and for some reason one day he licked it. And if all that isn't enough, a veterinarian on our team said she has heard many such stories involving puppies and adult dogs alike.
To be honest, I had never thought of our paper shredder as a dog hazard before. Needless to say, I will be making sure that it is never left in "auto" mode when we are not actively using it, and preferably left unplugged as well. I'm imagining I'm not the only one who has overlooked this potential home hazard when "dog-proofing" a home. So if you've never thought of it, please do. And pass the tip along--I'm going to mention it tonight in my puppy class.