Puppy Proofing 101
Congratulations, you got a puppy! (Or you’re about to bring one home). Wondering what to do to prepare for your puppy and get them all set up in their new home? Well, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is puppy proofing your house.
What is Puppy Proofing?
Puppy Proofing is the process of making a safe environment for your puppy by clearing out everything that could harm them. You’ll also be getting all the things out of your puppy’s reach that you don’t want to be chewed on, destroyed, or broken.
Why Puppy Proof?
Puppies are curious. They are designed to explore the world around them by sniffing, and then tasting everything. Even if you think you’ll be watching them all the time when they are walking around the house, a few seconds of distraction, and they can chew on something that you don’t want them to, or gulp down something poisonous.
Preparing your home and yard for your new puppy is similar to making your house safe for a curious toddler — you want to eliminate all dangers. It’s up to you to make sure your dog (and your stuff!) will be safe from those puppy temptations. You’ll want to go through every room in your house, and the outdoor areas, and make sure nothing is left out.
Feel like a big job?
Don’t worry, we created a free Puppy Proofing Checklist for help you organize your puppy proofing process (say that 10 times fast!) and make sure you haven’t missed anything.
How to puppy proof a room
Ok, so you’re going to jump in and start puppy proofing your house, but where do you start? You’ll want to go room by room and follow these tips:
- Pick up everything that you don’t want to be chewed up or destroyed including throw rugs, clothing, and your favorite shoes. Most puppies love to chew on clothing and shoes, since they smell like you.
- Put away all small objects that your puppy could chew or swallow.
- Make sure all drawers and cabinets are closed.
- Make sure your houseplants are not poisonous to dogs.
- Put all human and dog medications away in a safe place (puppies can chew through a plastic container) – call your vet or poison control if you find your puppy has eaten pills or gotten into medication.
- Make sure your garbage cans in your kitchen and bathroom are completely out of reach and covered. Both kitchen and bathroom garbage can be very dangerous for puppies. The smells will get them interested, and they can go through it very quickly and possibly get injured or eat foods that are poisonous to dogs.
- Make sure all cleaning products are out of reach and put childproof latches on your lower cabinets so your puppy can’t get into them.
- Put away books, magazines, and throw pillows.
- Make sure office supplies are completely out of reach.
- Take all food off of your kitchen counters.
- If your puppy gets into foods on this list of 17 foods dogs should never eat, call your vet.
How do I puppy proof wires?
Puppies love to chew on wires and cords. Obviously, this can be very dangerous (and expensive to replace), so make sure you put all headphones, charger cords, etc. away, and cover cords that run along the floor with wire covers, or put them in PVC pipe.
How to puppy proof outside
When your puppy is small, you’ll be taking them outside on a leash, so you’ll be able to control what they get into. But as they grow, and have more freedom outside (if you have a fenced-in yard) you’ll want to make sure your yard is puppy proofed as well.
- Make sure you don’t have any plants that are poisonous to dogs.
- Put away all rakes, watering cans, and other tools they can chew.
- Look for exposed cords and enclose them in PVC pipe.
- Look for anything sharp and put it away.
- Don’t forget your garage area if your puppy is going to be in there at all, even to just walk through to go outside. Garages are usually filled with all kinds of poisonous chemicals, cleaners and products, and sharp equipment. Make sure your puppy has a safe path, and is always on a leash in the garage if there is anything around that they can get into.
How to Keep Your Puppy Safe During Downtime
Even though you should make sure someone is home with your new puppy for the first few weeks, you won’t be able to watch your puppy every second, it’s just not possible. And you won’t want to allow your puppy to wander freely around the house when you aren’t closely watching them until they are a few months old and have earned your trust.
So what do you do with them when you need to pay attention to something else, or they need some downtime?
Create a timeout space for them where they can relax and be safe!
- First, you’ll want to limit their space so they only have a small, confined area. You can use a puppy playpen, or a small room (bathrooms and kitchens work well since they have no carpet) that you can gate off with a child gate.
- Make sure their room is not in a secluded part of the house, and that you can still easily hear them and check in on them.
- If you have an escape artist on your hands, you might need to get a cover for your playpen.
- Inside their area, you’ll want to put a crate where they can sleep with the door open, some toys (frozen filled toys can help them relax and stay busy), and some water.
- Switch out the toys every few days since toys they haven’t seen in a while are much more interesting!
- If you want to keep them with you while you work instead of using a separate room, you can keep them on a leash hooked to your chair so you know they can’t wander off to pee or get into trouble.
- If you decide to allow your puppy up on the furniture, get a couch cover to protect your couch.
- Remember to be extra careful when decorating for holidays. Don’t put any decorations within your puppy’s reach.
- Get child-proof latches for your kitchen cabinets
- Keep toilet lids down at all times.
- Remember if you have a large breed puppy, they might be able to reach higher surfaces than you think they can.
- Make sure to clear off counters, desks, etc. that they can reach on their hind legs.
- Make sure there isn’t anything under your bed that can harm your puppy, or get destroyed.
Puppy Proofing your house is one of the most important things you can do when bringing home a new puppy. It will keep both your puppy and your things safe, and help your puppy learn what they can and cannot chew. Make sure to keep a close eye on them for the first few weeks, and download our Free Puppy Proofing Checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
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