Puppy-Proofing Your House
Bringing home a new puppy is a fun and exciting time, but it’s not without its need for prep. As a new dog parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure all of the areas of your home are safe for your puppy to play in or restricted to them. Since puppies are known for their curious and adventurous nature, it’s important conduct a thorough, room-by-room inspection of your home, removing potential hazards as you go. It’s actually a good idea to get on your hands and knees to see your home from your puppy’s perspective!
With the peace of mind that comes with puppy-proofing, you and your new pet can better focus on getting to know each other. Bonus: You’ll likely save some of your belongings from mouths seeking to satiate their teething desires! Use this guide to get started.
How to puppy-proof your house
While all new puppies should be supervised and not left alone, the following areas should be puppy-proofed before you bring your pet home:
Common areas (family rooms and dens): Common areas can be tricky due to the range of items they can contain. Be aware of these potential hazards:
- Stairs or balconies can be of particular concern for young and eager puppies. Keep your pet from falling with an appropriately sized dog gate, doggy door or indoor pen
- Wrap exposed wires or cords with cord covers and put away wires whenever they are not in use
- Hide restricted-access items—litter boxes, for example— in a closed-off room that only the other pet can get to. In this particular case, a cat door too small for your dog to fit through can be the solution
- Keep all plants off the ground and out of the reach of your puppy. And be aware that certain common varieties, including azaleas, daffodil bulbs and daylilies, are poisonous to dogs., Keep these and other poisonous plants out of your home altogether.
- Keep sharp and breakable items off tables and out of the reach of your pet
Kitchen: Your kitchen can be home to a variety of dangers, so be extra vigilant as you puppy-proof this room. Items that should be kept in high, out-of-reach cupboards, the refrigerator or behind cabinets with childproof locks include:
- Dangerous foods such as chocolate, onions and grapes (a list of common food dangers can be found here)
- Vitamins, supplements or medications
- Cleaning supplies
- Sharp knives and other kitchen utensils, as well as breakable items such as plates and baking dishes
- Trash, which should be contained behind a closed pantry door, in a childproof trash can or stowed in the garage where your puppy can’t get to it
Additionally, aim to keep your counters clean of food spills and crumbs that may entice puppies into becoming a “counter surfer” as they investigate the smell.
Bathrooms: The bathroom can be a surprisingly hazardous area for your puppy. A couple tasks to complete include:
- Stow medications, dietary supplements and antibiotics in a hard-to-access medicine cabinet or drawer with a childproof lock
- Store cleaning supplies in an inaccessible locked cabinet
- Keep trash behind a locked cabinet or in a childproof trash can
- Ensure your puppy avoids drinking from the toilet and ingesting chemicals by putting a child-safe lock over the lid
Bedrooms: Some pet parents use their bedroom as a safe haven for a new pet. Keep your puppy from getting into trouble by:
- Putting all small or sharp objects—like jewelry—in places your puppy can’t reach or in containers they won’t be able to get into
- Wrapping exposed cords or wires in cord covers to keep your puppy from biting them or playing with them
Outdoor areas: One of the greatest joys of puppy parenthood is playing outdoors together. But, you might be surprised by how fast little legs can carry a puppy into trouble! Puppy-proof your yard by:
- Picking the appropriate pet door that can safely allow your puppy access to a limited outdoor area when necessary
- Ensuring your yard is free of hazardous plants, shrubbery and toxic pesticides
- Keeping outdoor play areas and dog houses in a pesticide-free spot that is shaded on warm days and has access to sun on cold days
- Providing a safe, properly fenced-in area for puppy playtime
- Watch for digging or signs of damage to your fence so you can correct the behavior and fix the items for your pet’s safety
How to keep pets out of a room
Try as you may to puppy-proof your entire home, there are some times when it might be necessary to keep your dog out of a room entirely. During the holidays, for example, certain holiday decorations, including the tree, can be tempting and dangerous for puppies to play with. This is when a dog gate, doggy door or indoor pen can come in handy.
At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for our pets, and while love and affection is up there in terms of puppy priorities, so is appropriate puppy-proofing. Follow the steps above to get started on building your pet-safe abode and visit our new puppy guide to find the best products and tips to keep your puppy as safe as possible.