You’re getting a new puppy! You have done the fun part. You took the time to visit a breeder, pet store or shelter, and have decided to bring a dog into your family. But before your furry friend comes to live in your house, make sure you have puppy-proofed your home.
This is for your dog’s benefit as well as for your family and your home. Puppies are active and curious. They have a keen sense of smell and growing teeth which they need to use. They will eat and chew on everything and will destroy your possessions without the least bit of malintent.
Prepare ahead of time. It will save you a lot of frustration as well as money. It’s tough to scream at something so cute, especially when your puppy loves you unconditionally.
Everything off the Floor
Bringing a puppy into your home will teach you to be neat and organized. Coats need to be hung up, backpacks and purses must be on a table or shelf out of reach and shoes need to go in a closet before they become chew toys.
If you have gum, tissues, hand cream or any other goodies in your backpack, purse or coat, your puppy will find them, chew them up and either ingest them or leave them for you — in one form or another — somewhere around the house.
Use Baby Gates
Perhaps you have brought a dog into your world because your children are older. Hopefully, you haven’t sold the precious baby gates at your last garage sale. Use these to keep your dog out of certain parts of the house, at least while it’s still a puppy.
Block off the upstairs, the dining room and especially the basement where the most “treasures” will likely be found. The more you block off, the less damage your dog will do, and the more it will be confined.
Invest in Lidded Trash Cans
The contents of a garbage can might not interest us. But for dogs, trash cans are a bonanza of tasty snacks. Puppies will rummage through, eat and then vomit up anything you can think of that you might throw in the garbage.
Worse, they may be poisoned or choke on something. Make sure your garbage cans are out of reach or that they have lids which your dog can not lift.
Google Your Houseplants
Research your houseplants online to make sure they are not poisonous to your puppy. Palms, aloe, alocasia, lilies and many other plants are toxic to dogs. Puppies will chew on plants, so it’s best to keep plants off the ground or get rid of them.
Other plants like cacti aren’t poisonous, but they present a potentially painful danger to the dog if it were to come in contact with them.
Cover Your Furniture
Cover your couches with throws or sheets. Puppies are going to chew, scratch, soil, urinate and vomit on your furniture. It’s simply inevitable, and you want to keep a barrier between the mess and your furniture.
Another idea is to move out expensive leather or upholstered furniture into storage or a room the dog can’t access and move in wooden furniture. Make sure it has a non-toxic, environmentally friendly finish in case your dog ingests trace particles of it. Wooden furniture is durable, resistant to scratches and can be refinished when the puppy years are over.
Cover All Cords
Do your best to keep all electric cords wound up and concealed. An extended vacuum cleaner cord is an invitation to chew, and it won’t take long for your dog to separate the cord from the appliance. If the cord is unplugged, you are in for an expensive repair. If it is still plugged in you could be dealing with a tragedy.
Some cords can only be so concealed. A loud “NO!” when they go anywhere near them, followed by tossing them a ball or other toy is really all you can do. Pet stores sell a deterrent spray you can use to make the cords less enticing. The will hate the taste, but it won’t harm them. They have to learn to stay away from things, but you want to ensure their safety as much as is possible.
Stow Your Electronic Devices
You will need to put away all electronic devices so that your puppy doesn’t chew on them. It’s inconvenient to put your remote control for your TV out of reach, but your dog will chew on them if it can reach them (and probably chew all the buttons off) Video games, controllers, cords—anything you can think of needs to be put away.
Batteries are especially dangerous to dogs, especially those little button batteries which can be easily swallowed. Batteries will poison your dog as well as cause internal burns if ingested. That’s why it’s so important to keep them out of reach as well as the things which require batteries.
Lock Cabinets Containing Chemicals
Just like you did with your children, lock cabinets which have cleanser, bleach or detergents in them. Lock them all if it’s not too impractical. Automotive fluids are especially dangerous. Antifreeze is deadly to dogs, and they like the taste of it.
Make sure your dog isn’t able to find poison intended for mice and rats. A mouse trap in the garage will snap on your dog’s nose just as quickly as it would a rat’s. Keep these items out of reach.
Puppies are bundles of energy and they will actively explore their new home. It’s fun to watch them play and interact with your family. But they are going to get into and chew on things. They’ll quickly find the food you dropped, the glasses you left on the coffee table, or the pen you thought was in your pocket.
Take precautions and do your best to protect your puppy from your house — and your house from your puppy.