Are you ready to bring your puppy home? Have you puppy proofed your house yet? Just like if you were bringing home a new baby, your house needs to be safe for your new puppy. Oh yeah, puppies are cute and cuddly, but they are packed full of trouble.
It doesn’t matter if you are in a house or apartment; these puppy proofing tips are essential to keep your puppy safe!
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Anytime we bring in a new foster puppy, I always nickname them “trouble”. Why? Because puppies are constantly looking for things to test with their mouths, sniffing out the best-tasting shoe, figuring out what all those wires are hanging just waiting for someone to play with. Puppies are curious, just like a baby, they use their mouths to explore.
I highly recommend baby gates to block off areas of the home you can supervise your new puppy. We place a baby gate at the stairway so our foster puppy can’t sneak off and have a potty accident.
In fact, anytime I am not able to watch our foster dog, he is either in his crate or on a leash tethered to me. It’s the only sure way to keep him out of trouble.
Start by laying down and/or crawling on your hands and knees on your floor, what do you see? Search for anything small, wires from TV, phone and chargers, TV remote, shoes, kids toys, pens, gum….
The list can go on forever, so here is a puppy proofing your house checklist:
As much as we have gone wireless, you will always have some electrical items to plug into the wall. Check to make sure no cords can be reached by your playful puppy. You can purchase electrical covers or make your own out of PVC piping.
True story… I was working in my home office one day and our foster dog Maggie was quietly laying on her dog bed in front of my desk. All of a sudden I looked over and she was chewing on a cord, I jump up as quick as I possibly could and took away the cord. What was she chewing on? The cord to my sons $200 pair of headphones. Seriously, there are 3 other cords hanging in the same area that is easily replaceable with $10 and she had to pick the $200 un-repairable headphone cord. Okay, rant over, LOL. But seriously, it happens when you least expect it. So keep those cords out of reach!
If your trashcan is not under a cabinet, make sure it has a secure lid. This includes trashcans in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, anywhere in the house. The trash may smell terrible to us, but your puppy is going to want to investigate and will find something to chew and eat, possibly poisoning him or choking on it.
For some reason we’ve had several dogs that like to steal tissues from the bathroom trash. While the tissues may not be harmful there are many other items that end up in the bathroom trashcan that can be toxic or a choking hazard to your puppy.
You would be surprised at how many plants can be harmful to your puppy.
The ASPCA has a great Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List. Check to see if you have any of the toxic plants in your home, if you do, consider placing them on a high table or giving them to a friend without a dog.
Yes and no. There are many human foods that are great for your puppy, but there are also many that can be toxic. We have put together a great list of good and bad foods for your dog. You can download the free cheat sheet here, and then read Can I Feed My Dog People Food?
It’s important to know that many of our sugar-free foods contain Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. You can find Xylitol in chewing gum, peanut butter and more… read the labels of your food and keep them far away from your puppy.
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It is NOT okay for your puppy or dog to drink toilet water. Not only is it unsanitary and but toilet bowl cleaner or tablets are toxic if your puppy drinks it. So keep the bathroom door closed or make sure to keep the toilet lid down. Our dogs don’t drink from the toilet, but we never use toilet cleaner tabs just in case.
Just because a medicine bottle is child-proof doesn’t mean it’s puppy proof. Your puppy will chew the lid off in minutes and before you can realize it, he’s eaten a bottle of pills and you are running to the emergency vet. Keep all over-the-counter and prescription medication in a high cabinet far away from puppies and kids!
We all like a clean house, but many of the chemicals we use can be toxic for your puppy. Keep soaps, bleach cleaners, drain cleaners secure under a cabinet. Install cabinet locks if you have a puppy that knows how to open doors.
Do you have a recliner chair? Be super careful putting down the recliner!!! I’ve heard horror stories of puppies and small dogs getting caught under the recliner and getting severally hurt.
Puppies and small dogs can fit through small railings. Check for all small openings and think about reinforcing these areas with something to keep your puppy from falling.
Check your backyard for any hazardous plants or chemicals. Inspect your fence for any small areas a puppy can squeeze through. It’s best to never leave your puppy alone outside even if you do have a fence. Keep a close eye on him as he explores his yard.
Also, consider the grass, do you have your lawn serviced for weeds or put fertilizer down to get a lush green lawn? Even though companies advertise that their chemicals are pet and child safe, they are still chemicals and are you willing to take that chance.
I will be totally honest, I never really thought about it being an issue before, but the more research and stories I hear, we stopped having our lawn serviced several years ago.
So now that we covered every hazard I can think of, go and enjoy your new puppy! They grow up so fast (thank goodness), so take in all the puppy kisses and fun you can get over the next several months… and keep your puppy safe! Being aware of all the dangers for your puppy doesn’t stop with one quick run through of the checklist. Make sure your home is safe everyday for your puppy, he will be a puppy
P.S. If you haven’t downloaded our free Dog Health Record printable yet do it NOW!
P.S.S. Has your puppy chewed up anything of importance? I would love to hear your mischievous puppy stories, please comment below and I promise to respond…
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.