Congratulations! You’ve taken the plunge and joined the exciting and sometimes chaotic world of dog ownership. By now, hopefully you’ve done the research and have somewhat of an understanding of how to care for your new puppy. Your house is going to be the place that your dog spends the majority of his life, so it’s vitally important that you take precautions to make sure that it is a safe environment for him.
Puppies are EXTREMELY energetic and curious, so when puppy-proofing your home, you must be thorough. Puppy-proofing is, in many ways, similar to baby-proofing, in that you’re trying to keep the puppy safe and out of things that he shouldn’t be in.
Puppy-Proofing Tips For Indoors
- Electrical cords are a huge hazard for puppies because they’re likely to chew on them. This can cause burns in their mouth or even worse, electrical shock. It’s best to keep cords out of sight or string them through cord concealers to keep your puppy away from them.
- As adorable as they look begging for food at the table, human foods are not good for pups. There are different chemicals in human food than there are in puppy food, and those chemicals can harm the puppy’s nervous system. Table scraps, even bones, are also a definite no-no.
- Cleaning supplies should be kept in high cabinets or secured with childproof latches if they’re stored close to the ground. When using them, make sure that the puppy is out of the area, so that he won’t be affected by the vapors given off by the chemicals.
- Avoid keeping medications on low tables where the puppy can easily get to them.
- Keep toilet lids closed, so the puppy won't drink out of the toilet or fall in.
- Doors and windows should be kept closed at all times, so the puppy can't escape.
- Smaller hazards — such as coins, paper clips, and rubber bands — should be put away, as should expensive items, like jewelry, so the puppy won't chew on them.
- It’s best to keep your puppy in an area with flooring that is easy to clean, such as linoleum, tile, or wood.
- Keep all sharp objects out of your dog's reach.
- Make sure that any small objects are cleared from the floor, so that your puppy won't accidentally eat them.
And then there's the great outdoors. The place where your dog can roam freely, completely at whim to his furry inhibitions. Your backyard is going to be your puppy's playground (and bathroom), so it's important that it is also clear of all hazards.
Puppy-Proofing Tips For Outdoors
- It’s best to have a fenced-in backyard with a fence that is high enough to prevent the puppy from jumping over it. Make sure there are no holes in the fence that would enable the puppy to get out.
- Promptly remove any toxic plans in your yard to prevent your pup from mistaking them for a snack.
- Pools are a big hazard for puppies and are hard to puppy-proof because they typically take up a large portion of the yard. It’s recommended that you have a fence surrounding the pool to prevent the puppy from accidentally falling in, but there are dog trainers who can teach pool safety to dogs, as well.
- Set aside a portion of the yard for the puppy to use as his bathroom area.
- Something that smells as strongly as a mothball is likely to attract a pup's attention, even if it is hidden. It's better not to put them in the yard at all if you have pets.
- Make sure that you take care of the lawn. Ticks are more likely to hide in tall grasses and latch onto your pup.
- Keep your dog away from the yard if it has recently been treated with fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides. Try to avoid using insecticides because the chemicals can be very harmful to your puppy.
- Make sure that there is shade for your dog in your yard and be wary of heat. Avoid keeping your dog outside when it is very hot.
- Clean up after your puppy to be sure he won't try to eat his own feces.
Puppies are much like children in that they are completely dependent on you for everything, and their safety should be your No. 1 priority. It’s a hefty responsibility, but most definitely worth it.