When bringing a new puppy into your home, it's important to puppy-proof the environment. Puppy-proofing not only keeps your pup safe, it also prevents a lot of unnecessary destruction. It helps to get down to puppy-level to see the house from your puppy's point of view, and experience the world as they would. Print the puppy-proofing checklist below for more great insight into how to puppy-proof your house.
Throughout the House
Begin puppy-proofing by walking around your entire home, indoors and outside, and imagining what your puppy could possibly get into. What can you see that needs to be taken away? Put those items in a secure place out of your puppy's reach.
When walking throughout your house, you'll want to:
- Make sure lamps are secure, and that they can't fall on your puppy.
- Stabilize any shelves that pose a risk to a curious puppy.
- Move any decorations that are within reach.
- Ensure craft materials and small objects, including children's toys (LEGO, Barbie shoes), are out of reach (your puppy could chew/swallow these).
- Get rid of the garbage can, or at least make sure it's puppy-proof, with a secure-locking lid.
- Screen your fireplace. Embers can burn your puppy. Move your firesticks, or fire starters, if you have them. Their sweet taste may lure your puppy to chew them.
- Cover all vents, including air and heating. Small areas are alluring to inquisitive pups, who are small enough to climb into them and become trapped.
- Doors and windows should be closed or screened. The fresh air, other animals and dogs, and general neighborhood bustle, may all entice a puppy to slip out a door, or jump or fall out a window. If you are not with your puppy, screen windows and doors or completely close them.
- Magazines, books, newspapers, mail, checkbooks, and notepads should all be tucked away or they may be shredded. Shredded paper can lodge into your puppy's delicate digestive system.
- Small items can be quite dangerous. If ingested, a single paper clip, binder clip, push pin, rubber band, or staple can cause serious harm, if not death. Avoid leaving any small objects lying around, and sweep and vacuum on a regular basis.
- Hide objects with restricted access. For example, litter boxes should be kept in a separate area that is only accessible to the other pet. In this instance, a cat door that is too small for your dog to fit through may be the answer.
Your kitchen may harbor a multitude of threats, so exercise additional caution when puppy-proofing this room. Items that should be stored in high, out-of-reach cupboards, the refrigerator, or behind childproof-locked cabinets include the following:
- Dangerous foods such as chocolate, onions, raisins, and grapes.
- Vitamins, dietary supplements, and pharmaceutical medications.
- Knives and other kitchen equipment that is razor sharp, as well as breakable goods like plates and baking dishes.
- Maintain clean counters, free of food spills and crumbs, that may tempt pups to become "counter surfers" as they investigate the aroma.
The bathroom might be an unexpectedly dangerous environment for your puppy. Several tasks to complete include the following:
- Keep toilet lids closed especially in cases where there are cleaning agents, like bleach, in the bowl.
- Ensure all soaps and cleaning supplies are out of reach.
- Cabinets should be closed and locked with childproof latches.
- Keep sharp objects away from your puppy. Items like clippers, knives, razors, and scissors all pose a threat to your puppy's safety.
When it comes to your power outlets and other sources of electricity, be sure to:
- Invest in outlet covers and cover all outlets.
- Secure any wires that are within reach. Your puppy could chew on these and easily become electrocuted or swallow something she's not supposed to.
- If any wires must stay close to the ground, determine a way to protect them from puppy chewing.
Some indoor plants are completely harmless, whereas other plants can be toxic to your puppy. Do your research on the plants inside your home to ensure they are appropriate for your puppy's arrival. You should also place plants out of your pup's reach.
Puppy Proofing Outside
- If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, ensure the pool and hot tub are off-limits and inaccessible to your puppy.
- Check for weak points in the fencing around your yard (if applicable), so your puppy doesn't escape.
- Don't allow your puppy near any weedkiller, herbicide, etc. This is poison and can cause serious harm to your puppy.
- Maintain a groomed lawn and neatly edged and clipped gardens. Ticks, for example, prefer to hide in taller grasses and shrubs, where they can easily grab on to dogs wandering close.
Designate a Safe Space for Your Puppy
Invest in a puppy playpen, or designate a corner or area of your house as your puppy's domain. Close off the space with baby or pet gates to prevent your puppy from straying and getting into mischief. The puppy's space is a great spot for their feeding and drink stations, a toy and play area, and as a location for a dog crate and/or puppy bed.
At the end of the day, we all want the best for our dogs. While love and affection are top priority for puppies, so is thorough puppy-proofing. Begin by following the instructions above and using the printable checklist before welcoming your new best friend into your puppy-proofed home. If you need help downloading the checklist, see this handy guide for using Adobe printables.