10 Ways to Puppy Proof Your Home
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Before you get a new dog, you'll want to puppy-proof certain areas of your home to keep them safe.
Just like curious kids, puppies have a tendency to get into things that can be unsafe or unhealthy for them, whether it’s chewing on your shoes or getting tangled up in electrical cords. Before you bring a new puppy home, it’s important to “puppy proof” the areas of your house where the puppy will spend their time. This will ensure your new dog is safe and happy, even when you’re not around to supervise.
Block Off No-Go Zones
If there are areas of your home you don’t want your puppy to go, it’s worth investing in gates (indoors and outdoors) to block them off. Products like this Step-Through Pet Gate adjust to fit different doors. It also includes a handle that lets you pass through easily while preventing curious pups from getting into mischief.
Elevate Your Plants
Puppies will often chew on anything within their reach, so it’s a good idea to pick up plants that are on the floor and move them to a higher place. Ingesting pieces of any plant can upset your pup’s stomach, and there are a number of common houseplants that are actually toxic to pets. For more information, the ASPCA has a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to dogs.
Hide or Cover Electrical Cords
The last thing you need is for your new puppy to chew on an electrical cord, potentially hurting themselves and damaging your electronics. My cat used to do this when he was a kitten, so any cords I couldn’t remove or hide I covered with inexpensive split tubing to deter his antics.
Keep Trash Covered
Garbage cans have lots of smells that puppies can’t resist. To keep them from rooting through your trash and ingesting something dangerous, you may need to upgrade to covered waste bins. Not only will a covered trash can keep your puppy out of trouble, but it can also help to minimize garbage odors in your home. Win-win.
Put Away Bags and Shoes
Having a puppy is all fun and games until you come home to find they’ve ripped apart your favorite pair of shoes! In all seriousness, everyone in your household should get into the habit of putting away shoes and bags in secure locations. Not only can ingesting foreign material be harmful for pets, but purses often contain medication, gum and other substances that are toxic to your dog.
Educate Yourself on Toxic Foods
Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you know that avocado, onions and garlic are dangerous for them as well? Before you bring your new pup home, educate your whole family on the ASPCA’s guide to foods that are toxic to dogs. The reality is, most of us end up feeding our dogs table scraps at one point or another. And when you know what foods are harmful to dogs, you can potentially save yourself an emergency trip to the vet.
Put Cleaning Supplies Up High
Many households store cleaning supplies under the kitchen or bathroom sink, but these spots are easily accessible to curious pups. If possible, relocate your cleaning supplies containing harmful chemicals to a higher spot that pets can’t reach. If there isn’t another storage spot, you may want to purchase some cabinet locks to keep your puppy out.
Invest in a Crate or Pen
You can’t monitor your puppy all the time, and you can keep them safe when they’re unsupervised with the help of a crate or play pen. Many trainers recommend using a dog crate at night and when you’re at work. But if you want your pup to have more space to play, a play pen gives them room to walk around while still keeping them out of trouble.
Clean Up the Floor
When was the last time you cleaned under your sofa or bed? Puppies love to investigate these tight spaces, and if there are stray objects like coins or paper clips lying around your dog could potentially ingest them and choke. So while it may not be a fun chore, it’s important to deep-clean your floors before you bring home a new dog.
Secure Doors and Windows
By the time my puppy was six months old, she had figured out how to open lever-style door handles. One time she actually let herself out of the house! Puppies can be quite clever, so it’s a good idea to properly secure doors and windows in your home. You can use door lever locks, hook-and-eye latches and other baby-proofing products to help keep your puppy safe.