Puppies are a fun and loving addition to almost any family. They bring overwhelming exuberance and joy, but they also bring a great deal of responsibility. Curious by nature, puppies can both create and get into a lot of trouble. New pet owners must be prepared for this curiosity by making changes that will make their home a safe environment. To do that, they'll need to remove, secure, or store anything that a young canine can get into. This is known as puppy-proofing one's home. Puppy-proofing is needed in any room that is accessible to one's pet. Not only should it be done in every room in the house, but people who live in a home with a yard should also ensure that it is a safe place for their pet to explore.
The process of puppy-proofing one's home should begin before the new addition to the household arrives. Starting in the kitchen, one should check cabinets or anything that a puppy can nudge open for poisons or caustic cleaners that can be deadly. Make sure that all items are in containers with lids, and get into a habit of closing them securely when not in use. Ideally, the safest option is to secure low cabinets with a child-safe lock to avoid accidental ingestion should a lid be left off or not properly closed, or move dangerous products higher and out of a puppy's reach. Garbage cans, particularly the kitchen garbage, are another issue, as they represent a choking or suffocation risk. Buy covered trash cans for both the kitchen and the bathroom, which are most likely to contain items that are dangerous for your puppy. Because an open toilet seat can easily drown a puppy, family members should get into the habit of closing the lid to their toilet after using it. In addition to keeping the toilet closed, the washing machine, clothes dryer, and even the dishwasher should be kept closed at all times.
Because some puppies enjoy chewing, securely cover any electrical wires such as those to computers, televisions, and lamps to help prevent your pet from electrocuting or choking itself. Store shoes in closets as well. Keeping small items and toys off of the floor and stored in a toy bin will prevent pets from choking on them, chewing and destroying them, or injuring themselves on them. In general, any small items that can be swallowed, such as batteries, should be kept in a safe location.
At some point, puppies will make their way into the garage, even if they generally aren't allowed. This area is filled with hidden and visible dangers that can severely injure a young dog. Keep sharp items such as nails off of the ground, move chemicals onto high shelving out of their reach, and ensure that there are no puddles of antifreeze on the ground. Antifreeze has an appealing taste for puppies but is highly toxic and can be lethal.
Yards should be fenced and have a gate that's kept closed at all times to prevent the puppy from running out into the street. Remove any plants that are toxic to dogs. To prevent it from digging up a vegetable or flower garden, place a small fence around the garden. Sharp tools, fertilizers, and any poisons should be kept in the garage or a storage shed if available. Additionally, take precautions to prevent drowning. This includes keeping buckets or pails upside-down and having a fence with a locked gate around the swimming pool.
Pet owners who live in apartments or condos face most of the same issues and concerns, and each room must be checked for safety. Because apartments are smaller than houses, there is an increased risk of mischief and resulting injury. For this reason, some may choose to confine their puppy to a single room when they are away. A baby gate can prove helpful to accomplish this. The room should be large enough for the puppy to move freely about, and it should be checked daily for anything that can cause injury. People living in second-floor apartments or higher must check that windows are screened and secure, too. When not at home, keep all windows closed.
Although everyone should make their home puppy-proof, it can be beneficial to research the breed of dog that's becoming a part of the family. Certain dog breeds are more relaxed and less likely to get into mischief, while others may require special precautions. Certain dogs, such as Labrador retrievers and German shepherds, are known as chewers. Other dogs, such as Jack Russell terriers and beagles, not only chew but are also high-energy.
For more information about creating a safe home for your new puppy, click any of the links below.
- Puppy-Proofing Checklist
- Preparing Your Home for a Puppy
- Puppy-Proofing Your Home
- Six Tips for Puppy-Proofing Your Home to Keep Fido From Running Amok
- Puppy Hazards (PDF)
- Puppy Chewing (PDF)
- Puppy-Proofing Basics
- Kittens and Puppies: Pet-Proof Your Home
- Paws: Puppy-Proofing Your Home
- Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Yard
- Seven Places to Puppy-Proof Your Home
- Puppy-Proofing Rooms in Your Home
- Keeping Your New Pet Safe (PDF)
- Tips for Bringing Home a Puppy (PDF)
- Bring Home a New Puppy (PDF)
- How to Raise a Puppy in an Apartment
- Taking Care of Puppy
- Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Puppy Pointers (PDF)
- Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America: Puppy-Proof Your Home
- Making a Puppy-Proof Home (video)