Congratulations! You’ve taken the plunge and joined the exciting and sometimes chaotic world of dog ownership. By now, you’ve probably done some research and have an understanding of how to care for your new puppy. Your house is going to be the place where your dog spends the majority of his life, so it’s vitally important that you take precautions to make sure it’s a safe environment for him.
Puppies are extremely energetic and curious, so when puppy-proofing your home, you must be thorough. It’s amazing what one little puppy can get into. By puppy-proofing, you’re trying to keep the puppy safe and prevent him from getting access to anything dangerous to him.
Checklist for Puppy-Proofing Indoors
- Unplug electrical cords, move them out of reach, or string them through cord concealers. These chewing hazards can cause burns to the mouth or electrical shock.
- Avoid feeding food from the table. Pups may look adorable as they beg for food, but many human foods are not good for them. Pay special attention to sugarless gum, chocolate, raisins, and other foods that are especially poisonous to dogs.
- Keep cleaning supplies in high cabinets or secured behind doors with childproof latches. When using them, make sure that the puppy is kept out of the area, so he won’t be affected by the vapors given off by chemicals.
- Put all medications away. Avoid keeping medications, even in pill bottles or dispensers, on low tables, bathroom counters, or night 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.
- Keep doors and windows closed at all times, so the puppy can’t escape or fall out, and secure the cords that raise blinds, so they won’t get caught around the puppy’s neck.
- Put away small items that are choking hazards — such as coins, paper clips, rubber bands, and jewelry — to prevent the puppy from choking on them.
- Keep all sharp objects out of your dog’s reach. This includes knives, scissors, razors, and tools.
- Secure trashcans. Puppies are attracted to the smells coming from garbage, which can upset their tummies or even be poisonous.
- Move poisonous houseplants, so the puppy can’t eat them.
When you take your puppy outside, you need to take precautions there, too. Your backyard is going to be your puppy’s playground (and bathroom), so it’s important that it is also clear of all hazards.
Checklist for Puppy-Proofing Outdoors
- Fence the yard, if possible. It’s best to have a fence that is high enough to prevent the puppy from jumping over it, with no holes to crawl through.
- Remove toxic plants in your yard to prevent your pup from mistaking them for a snack.
- Put a fence around in-ground pools. Pools are a big hazard for puppies. A fence surrounding the pool will prevent the puppy from accidentally falling in. You or a dog trainer can teach your pup pool safety, as well.
- Designate a puppy area. Set aside a portion of the yard for the puppy to use as his bathroom area.
- Keep the lawn trimmed and brush under control. 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.
- Be wary of heat. Avoid keeping your dog outside when it is hot, and always have shade and cool water available
- Clean up after your puppy to be sure he won’t try to eat his own feces.
- Supervise your puppy. Young puppies should not be left outside alone. This is the time to play with them and train them, and to protect them from predators, heatstroke, and other hazards.
Puppies 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.