If you want to keep both your new pup and your belongings safe and sound, then you're going to need to invest a little time & effort in puppy proofing. Let's take a look at where to start, and how to get it right......
Puppy proofing your home before your new pup arrives will make those early days, and weeks, a whole lot easier and less stressful for everyone.
Puppies are babies, but they're much more mobile than human babies and they're fully equipped with sharp teeth, sharp nails and a strong, desire to chew everything in sight!
Your new pup will be curious about his new environment and will want to explore everywhere. He's hard-wired to do most of this exploration with his mouth (after all, he doesn't have opposable thumbs!) and his motto will be 'everything is edible until proven otherwise'.
It doesn't take much imagination to figure out how that's going to play out in your average family home... so puppy proofing is highly recommended.
When you start to puppy proof your home, concentrate on the rooms that your puppy will have free access too first, as they're going to take the most work. But once you've puppy proofed those areas, don't forget to move onto the rest of the house.
Puppies move fast and in a busy home it's easy to lose track of your furball for a few minutes - and that's often all it takes for a pup to find something forbidden or dangerous (and often both). In fact, your home is a minefield for your puppy, and it's up to you to protect him from himself, as well as protecting your stuff from him!
Don't panic, I'm joking... but only just. I've found that it's best to move everything small, portable or breakable to a height that your pup won't be able to reach. If it's stuff you don't use a lot, put it away in closets or drawers (closed firmly) for now. You can always get it back out later.
Here are a few examples of things you need to move/lock away....
This isn't a comprehensive list because every home is different, but it gives you an idea of where to start.
But, what about the stuff you can't put out of sight/reach? That's a bit trickier and you can't really puppy proof your home by emptying every room of it's contents!
For table legs, sofa corners and so on you can use a spray such as Bitter Apple - puppies and dogs don't like it's taste (usually!) and it's a decent deterrent to some pups. If your pup is one of the ones who doesn't seem to mind the flavor, you can try alternatives such as hot sauce or vinegar... but obviously these don't work well on soft furnishings/drapes etc.
The best thing you can do is to supervise your puppy very closely whenever he's out and about (even in a room that's been puppy-proofed). And a firm 'No' and then redirecting his attention to something that's not off limits is the best correction.
Chewing is a normal canine behavior and ALL puppies do it, but it is a habit that can be discouraged if you follow a few simple steps and are consistent. Check out my How To Stop Puppy Chewing page to find all the tips, advice and information you need to deal with it.
Getting all the cords and wires out of your pup's reach can a challenge - and you'll probably be surprised just how many there are to deal with.
Television, DVD, X-box, table lamps, telephone, phone charger, PC, laptop charger, Scentsy air fresheners, washing machine, tumble dryer, the cords on curtains or blinds... the list of items that you need to tackle goes on and on.
There are a few ways to deal with this problem, and you may need to use several of them at once...
even if you've bundled, wrapped and protected every cord you can find, you still need to supervise
your pup and be ready to correct him if he tries to pull on them or chew
them. The dangers of electrocution or injury still exist, and a
puppy's sharp little teeth (coupled with endless enthusiasm for his
task) can chew through just about any type of protective cover you can
buy or make.
When it comes to small items/chemicals/clothing etc. it makes sense to put them into drawers, cupboards, closets and so on. But remember, puppies have a highly developed sense of smell, are very curious and are smarter than you might expect.
To keep your little guy's nose (plus jaws, paws and other assorted parts of his body) out of your hiding places, I'd recommend using child-proof products that are specifically designed to keep drawers and cupboard doors firmly closed!
Don't think that putting clothes into a laundry basket, magazines into a basket, or candies into a bowl are going to prevent your pup from getting to them. He is perfectly capable of destroying the container to get to the items he's after - and won't hesitate to do so.
Puppies aren't likely to stick their paws into electrical sockets, or look for something sharp to poke in there either. But these can still prevent a risk and socket covers can make sure your pup doesn't have access to the electrical current (you may have to replace these if they get chewed on, so watch for signs of wear and tear).
If you have plug-in air fresheners, phone chargers or other items attached to wall sockets, don't forget to remove them. Your pup could poison, electrocute or otherwise hurt himself if he chews on them.
*There may be a $65 charge for this service, but your pup's life is definitely worth that!
There are tons of everyday human food items such as chocolate, alcohol, certain fruits and nuts, vitamins etc. that can be toxic to dogs - and a small puppy is at an even greater risk because of his size (and propensity to eat stuff he shouldn't!)
Plus there are also several flowers, plants and shrubs that are poisonous - both indoors and out, so you need to be on your guard and supervise constantly.
Of course accidents can happen, even when you're careful and it's always better to be safe rather than sorry, so it's a good idea to have the telephone number of your local Poison Control Center next to the phone (if you have kids, this is probably already in place!).
Now that you've dealt with the inside of your home, your efforts need to focus a bit further afield. Let's start with the garage.
Of course, chances are you don't intend on letting your pup spend time in your garage, but he may not have got that memo! Two minutes in your average garage could be fatal to a puppy, there are SO many things to hurt him. For example
The best thing to do here is to make sure that your garage door is always closed very firmly, and that you supervise your pup closely whenever he's anywhere close to that door.
Many new puppy owners don't realize how dangerous anti-freeze is to dogs - even a few drops can kill. And it's by no means the only toxic item in your home.
Last, but not least, when you want to puppy proof your home properly don't forget your yard/garden.
Your little guy will be spending time out there, and it's more likely that he'll have short periods of being unsupervised outdoors than anywhere else in your home, so it's very important that this area is as safe as possible too.
To your puppy, your back yard looks like heaven... all that open space, tons of enticing smells, lots of different sounds and a whole bunch of interesting 'stuff'.
If, like me, you live in the country he's also likely to come in contact with all sorts of bugs, snakes, toads and other wildlife plus see livestock, farm machinery and so on. If you live in the city, then he'll see (and hear) people, sirens, traffic, bicycles and other assorted urban landscapes.
Of course, most of these things will be outside your yard but that doesn't mean your pup won't want to see them all up close and personal!
Here are some things to think about when you're trying to make sure your yard is safe for your pup/dog....
Good fencing is a must! Privacy fence helps as your pup can't see through it, so he's less likely to want to chase that cat, bike... or cow.
Many plants are poisonous to dogs.. others can cause stomach upset, irritated skin or other issues. Some of the most common plants that cause problems include Daffodils, Lillis (of many varieties), Azaleas, Buttercups, Foxgloves, Hyacinth, Geraniums, Holly, Peonies,Tulips, Aloe Vera Plant, many varieties of Ivy..... the list goes on.
I can't possibly print the names of all the dangerous ones here, so to get a comprehensive list check out this page ASPCA Toxic Plants List
Garden chemicals can kill. It's not just the plants in your yard that can be a problem, remember the insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers I mentioned in the section on puppy proofing your garage? Well, they're dangerous when in your yard too!
Eating rocks, gravel, dirt or sticks can hurt your pups mouth and could cause intestinal blockages (which requires surgery), the same goes for ingesting bits of toys, furniture, hoses etc.
Water can be hazardous... swimming pools, paddling pools, lakes, creeks and ornamental ponds are all a drowning risk. Depending on how small/young your pup is it might only take a few inches to be deadly.
NO Tie-Outs or Chains, Please! The risks of strangulation are too great and there are a whole lot of other reasons why it's a really bad idea too.. including heatstroke, hypothermia, aggression towards other dogs, loneliness, anxiety, boredom and more.
Puppy Drowning. Don't make this mistake.....
My middle daughter knows the pain of losing a pup in a tragedy that takes only minutes (or less) to unfold. Last summer she visited a friends house and her little Doxie rescue ran outside through the doggie door (my daughter didn't know there was one!)
That pup was always at her heels, so it only took a minute for her to realize Scarlett was missing ,but that was all it took..... she had fallen into the swimming pool and drowned.
In spite of mouth-to-mouth and a 4 minute speed-drive to the veterinary office Scarlett didn't make it, and my poor daughter was heartbroken and devastated.
A horrible, horrible lesson to learn but if it can save just one visitor to this page from going through the same thing then sharing it won't be in vain.
Hopefully this page has given you the help you need to puppy proof your home effectively, and to keep both your new pup and your worldly goods safe.
You'll enjoy your new family member all the more when you know you're prepared for his arrival, and taking the time to puppy proofing is only part of that preparation. To find out what a new puppy needs to be healthy, happy and safe visit my What Puppies Need page.
After all, forewarned is forearmed :)Home <<< Back To Top