How to Puppy-Proof Your Home

Puppy walking through living room at home.

There are few happier days in life than the moment you bring home a puppy: the excitement, the wagging tail, the kisses, and snuggles. When you’ve found the right one, it’s an instant love connection — that pup becomes a member of the family, someone you’ve committed to protecting and keeping healthy.

For most animal lovers, it goes without saying that puppy-proofing your home is a smart and easy to keep your curious best friend safe. With just a few small investments or changes, you’re sure to start your new relationship off right.

Indoor pet safety checklist

Doggy danger can be found all over your home, so it’s important to take the time to walk through each room and envision what could go wrong now that you have a puppy for a roommate.

Here are a few things to do and places to start inside your home.

Puppy proof your living areas and bedrooms

  • Your new little friend is going to want to chew on cords. Be sure to wrap exposed wires, and use outlet protectors to keep your pup safe from electrical shocks.

  • Puppy proof fences are also an important item to buy when getting a puppy. Use baby gates to block off staircases until your pet is comfortable climbing up and down safely

  • Boxwoods, lilies, and hydrangeas are a few of the plants and flowers that are very dangerous to dogs. If you have some inside, be sure to keep them high enough from the ground that your puppy can’t access them.

Keep a clean kitchen

  • Never leave food unattended. “People food” is not always good for your furry friend’s tummy, especially: baked goods, avocado, grapes, pretzels, raw meat, and dairy products.

  • Use a garbage can that requires you to push a button for it to open or store it behind closed doors (under a cabinet or in a closet). This way, your dog can’t knock it over and get into your unwanted leftovers.

  • Keep the floor well swept, ensuring dirt, dust, and leftover food particles are not lingering around.

Watch out for these bathroom concerns

  • Just as you protect your children from prescription medicine, you also need to protect your animals. Be sure medication is securely stored away in cabinets that are out of reach.

  • Cleaning supplies, in general, are mixed with a lot of chemicals. Think of how much bleach is in your toilet bowl or shower cleaner. You certainly do not want these bottles stored away in a cabinet that’s low to the ground. They can be easy for your dog to access, spill, and consume.

  • No, the toilet bowl should never be considered another water dish. Ever. Be sure everyone in your household keeps the toilet seat down. If your pet drinks toilet water, it could be consuming unwanted toxic chemicals — or worse, it could be at risk of contracting E. coli.

Outdoor pet safety checklist

From playing fetch to sunbathing and even rolling around in the snow, your new pet is going to love spending time outdoors. So, it’s essential to puppy proof your yard and be mindful of potential concerns you may encounter on your property or in your neighborhood.

Puppy proof your yard

  • If you happen to spend time in the front yard, always be sure your pet is on a leash. Traffic can be found in even the quietest of streets. You don’t want to risk your puppy running into the road while making a sudden dart after a rabbit.

  • Fenced in backyards are incredibly helpful when you bring home a puppy. If your property has a lot of outdoor open space, you may want to invest in a puppy proof fence — assuming you own a home and don’t rent. Whether it’s a wood, chain, or an invisible fence, these options will make it easy to keep your puppy within boundaries. You don’t want to have to go searching for your pet if it ran off too far, nor do you want another critter approaching it.

  • As we talked about earlier, be aware of the kinds of plants you have growing outdoors, and take necessary measures to keep your puppy safe. Maybe it’s relocating the hazardous plant or removing it altogether. Whatever you do, be sure it’s out of reach from your pup.

Keep your garage organized

  • Store your antifreeze, any paint cans, or other dangerous items up high in the rafters when possible. Leaks and spills are common ways for your pet to be exposed to hazardous chemicals.

  • Pets are more sensitive to carbon monoxide than people are. If you ever needed another reason why you should never idle your car in the garage, this is it. 

  • Lastly, you need to consider the temperature. Your dog can quickly and seriously overheat if it sits in the garage for too long, especially during summer. Heat exhaustion can happen much faster inside of a garage than it would outside on the porch.

Understand your neighborhood

  • Dogs will sniff, lick, and bark (among other things) when being introduced to new animals and people. Just as you get to know your neighbors, you should also get to know their fur babies and learn more about dog breeds and their temperaments.

  • When walking through parks, be mindful of any garbage that is laying around, especially sharp items or half-eaten food.

  • If you approach another dog’s poop, be sure your pet does not ingest it.  Eating random feces is a serious health hazard that may result in parasites.

What to buy when getting a puppy

After you’ve found the perfect colored collar, that cute little food dish that’s the perfect height off the floor, and the most cushioned dog bed, it’s time to think about what items you'll really need. Think flea and tick medication, a healthy brand of dog food, maybe even a puppy gate or crate to keep the little guy or gal contained for some of the day. You’ll need toys, treats, a harness or leash for walking. Then there’s shampoo and cleaning supplies, and possibly puppy pads for potty training.

Believe us, you’ll want to have everything necessary on hand before bringing your new loved one home. It’s going to be pretty tough to leave your dog behind once it comes home.

Preparing for accidents and emergencies

No, we’re not talking about carpet stains or ruined shoes. We’re talking about an upset tummy or injury, because no matter how great of a job you do on puppy-proofing your home — accidents happen. That’s why a 24-hour emergency vet should be near the top of your puppy-proofing list. While some things can wait until your normal vet opens, there will be instances when you need to seek care immediately.

Having a dog-proof house will make your new furry, family member feel right at home. It will make for a safe environment that’s fun to explore. And best of all, you won’t have to worry about much. Well, at least not as much. Though cute, puppies are (as we said) curious. So chances are puppy-proofing your home will not be a one and done ordeal. But at least you have a template for success so you’re ready to make new changes when they’re needed.

Photo by Kate Gu on Unsplash

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