Puppy Proofing your Home
Puppies get into everything; protect them and your tv remote before you bring your new companion home.
When you bring your puppy home, you’ll want to spend all your time playing, cuddling and smooching—not running around playing defense. Make your home safe for its most adorable resident before the pitter-patter of little paws fill the halls.
How to start the puppy proofing process? Sitting down.
Sitting on the ground in each room of your home will give you a puppy’s perspective of the world, and to puppies, everything looks like a chew toy. Here are a few tips to help keep them safe in their new home.
1. Hide the cords
Most puppies are born with a special talent for quickly finding the most hazardous (or expensive) thing in a room to chew. That’s why electric cords—which happen to be just the right size to fit in a puppy’s mouth—must be removed or hidden. Fasten them high and out of reach with zip ties or twisty ties. Or, stash them in cord concealers or covers where they’ll be out of site and safe from needle teeth. Don’t forget cords dangling from window blinds. These low-hanging targets are tempting for puppies, especially when they swing.
2. Spring into Cleaning
Banish the clutter from your floor. Create a no-puppy zone in another room, a garage or back closet to keep your treasured items. Or use this time to donate or recycle what you no longer need. Curious puppies explore with their mouths, and it’s your job to remove anything in their path that isn’t safe.
Purses and backpacks are puppy magnets, and are usually chock full of hazardous items like pens, medication and gum. Check under furniture for long forgotten and potentially dangerous items that might be lurking, like batteries, hair ties and safety pins. Find new, higher, places to keep remote controls and eyeglasses. Stash your shoes and socks up and away. Socks can be irresistible to dogs of all ages, as proven by a great dane who once swallowed a record number of 43.5 socks. The alluring aroma smells of their favorite person (even clean socks fresh from the dryer), plus, they’re a perfectly portable size for running off with to enjoy in a hidden corner.
3. Raise the gates
Portable baby gates are a handy strategy to corral your pup in a safe area and to block off danger zones, like stairs, the kitchen or especially tasty furniture.
4. Hoist the houseplants
First, check here to make sure none of your plants are toxic to dogs. If you do happen to have a jade plant or a sprawling philodendron, now is a good time to gift them to a neighbor.
As anything on the floor is fair game to a curious puppy, it’s a good idea to move even non-toxic houseplants to higher ground. Otherwise, your puppy may be tempted to have a party with a pot of dirt on the ground, and who could blame them? Digging is FUN!
5. Cache the cleaning supplies
Many cleaning supplies are toxic to dogs—even the natural ones. This includes all sorts of cleaners, like bleach, window cleaner, laundry detergent, toilet bowl cleaner and drain cleaner. And, since lots of people keep them on the floor of closets or cabinets, it’s important to move them to a place that is secure from tiny sniffers. Try relocating your cleaning supplies to a higher area off the ground or install cabinet latches or locks commonly used for baby-proofing.
6. Secure medications
Human medications are the most common source of poisoning for pets year after year. Move them from the tops of nightstands and counters to more secure locations, like inside cabinets. Again, consider installing simple child-proof locks on low cabinets. Clever—and determined—pups can figure out how to open those doors, especially if something inside smells intriguing.
7. Stash the trash
Trash cans call to little puppies like treasure chests of golden loot sing to pirates. And marauding puppies can find all sorts of dangerous things in a seemingly harmless kitchen can, from toxic grapes and hazardous chicken bones to snack bags that can suffocate. It’s best to keep the trash can behind a secure cabinet or closet door. If not, make sure that the can has a functional locking latch—and use it.
8. Lid down, door closed
Keep the toilet lid down and the door to the bathroom closed. You don’t want to invite puppies to learn to drink from the bowl—or find out how fun unfurling rolls of toilet paper can be.
Silence is golden….unless you have a puppy. Then silence is very, very suspicious. The best strategy for keeping puppies out of trouble in your home is to provide them with a rotating supply of safe, irresistible toys. When pups can satisfy their chewing instincts and teething needs with fun toys like those made from KONG Puppy Rubber, they’re less likely to go looking for mischief.
With tempting toys and preventative puppy proofing, you’ll be ready to welcome your new puppy home. For a checklist of things to do and buy to get ready for a new puppy, check out Spencer Batcheller’s New Puppy 101. Or browse our other blog on New Puppy Tips.