Congratulations! You’ve opened your house and heart to a new puppy. Now what? If you haven’t already, you need to puppy-proof your home. Puppies are as curious and mischievous as toddlers, and because of that you need to make your house a safe place for your puppy to grow and thrive. If you are a soon-to-be puppy parent, take time to puppy-proof before you open your home.
Potential Puppy Hazards
Chew hazards. If it can be chewed, it probably will be! A favorite purse, pair of shoes, remote control, book or, well, just about anything you don’t want destroyed—in the beginning, it’s best to pick it up. At some point you can re-introduce items to the household.
Keep trash under cover. Because a puppy’s olfactory senses are more finely tuned to his surroundings, so that delicious-smelling trash will lure him in and he will knock it over to get to the goodies within. Put trash cans under cupboards, in a back room, or put on a secure/locking lid. It will make your life easier and your home cleaner and less smelly!
Check the cords. You may have grown immune to the electrical cords that snake around behind the television, the computer and other areas in the house, but it’s all new to your puppy. Protect her from accidentally getting shocked or burning her mouth or worse—causing a fire in the home—by stowing the cords. Use cord covers and deterrent spray to deter her from chewing a cord.
Human or pet medications. Medications should be out of the reach of a curious puppy. Keep in mind that if you have cats in the house, they may knock items off a counter and into the puppy’s reach. So, keep all medications in a cabinet with the doors securely closed.
Plant life. Give your home a once-over for poisonous houseplants. Many houseplants are beautiful but can cause serious illness or injury. If your puppy eats a houseplant, he may suffer stomach upset, diarrhea or worse – organ failure. Plants such as lilies, poinsettias, sago palm, succulents, castor bean, crocus and the American yew are among some of the poisonous plants found in homes.
Household poisons. Floor cleaner, dish detergent, steel wool pads and laundry soap can cause illness or injury to your puppy. Keep all household cleaners, glue, detergents, automotive chemicals and any potentially toxic items out of reach of the puppy. Also, antifreeze is harmful and potentially deadly and is attractive to dogs because it has a sweet taste. Keep all household chemicals in a cupboard that is securely closed. Or switch to dog friendly cleaning products that don’t have potentially toxic properties.
Get on Puppy’s Level
You may want to crawl on the floor and throughout the house to see what items are eye-level to the puppy. You may need to cap unused electrical outlets and pick up items that are puppy-level on the bottom of a living room table, for example.
Can your puppy scramble up onto the couch, then over to an end table that may have a bowl of candy or a tablet or computer on it? If your puppy climbs, will he be able to get safely down? Remember, many puppies are clumsy; he may get onto furniture by sheer force of will or luck but getting down could lead to him harming himself—or getting into items you picked up off the floor thinking they were out of harm’s way.
Puppy Safety Tips
Here’s a quick checklist of items throughout the house to consider puppy-proofing:
Doors. Make certain doors are always latched securely behind you.
Household fragrance items. Pick up candles, potpourri and other household decorations.
Cords. Bundle electrical cords.
Kid toys. Children’s toys may not be safe for puppy’s teeth and may present choking hazards.
Food. Grapes, chocolate, and other human foods can be toxic, don’t leave human snacks lying around.
Screens. Keep all low, long windows closed, as a puppy can easily run through a screen door or fall out a screened window.
Garbage. Secure and regularly empty all garbage cans.
Closets. Keep closet doors closed, so your puppy doesn’t get in and chew your shoes.
Toilet. Puppies love drinking from the toilet bowl, and both cleaners and the depth of water can pose problems.
Personal care items. Keep cosmetics, toothpaste, deodorants, shampoos, etc. out of reach.
Household chemicals. Keep these products locked safely away.
Yard. If you have a fenced in backyard, check that there are no escape routes or holes in the fencing.
Swimming pool. If you have a pool, make certain it is fenced off and the puppy cannot get to it.
Puppies are a joy, even though they are a bit of work when you first adopt them. Keep them safe, give them love, keep them healthy and they will be companions for life!
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.