We recently welcomed Charlie The Dog (pictured above) to the Art & Home family. This adorable little puppy has already brought a great deal of joy to our home, but also a great deal of work. Based on our own trials and errors, it seemed fitting to provide a quick list of tips on how to puppy proof your home so that you can get as much enjoyment of your puppy with as few headaches as possible.
Puppy Proofing is a lot like Child Proofing, only different
Your home should be a safe and welcoming place for your new puppy, which is why it’s important to follow some simple steps to help remove the dangers from your puppy’s new home, as well as protecting some of your own prized possessions from the early stages of a puppy’s life.
12 Easy Steps to Puppy Proof Your Home
These quick and easy tips will help you puppy proof your home and get ready for your new puppy so that your first year with your new fur baby is happy, safe, and healthy!
Clean, Clean, Clean
Puppies have a terrible habit of eating anything and everything they can find. This can be annoying for you, but it can also be very dangerous for them.
To help puppy proof your home, give your home a thorough cleaning, with a focus on anything that your new puppy could possibly reach to make sure that any poisonous or hazardous materials (see further info below) as well as potential choking hazards are cleaned up
Make sure to check every nook and cranny that your puppy could stick his or her little nose into in order to dig out some forgotten morsel.
Try to avoid using overly harsh or toxic cleaning chemicals while your puppy is still young. Using natural cleaning options will help keep things sparkling clean and licking safe.
Put Away the Chewables
Puppies love to chew on things, that is a fact. If you were not already aware of this fact, you will be in for a big surprise the first time your new fur-baby destroys your favorite pair of shoes or that brand new handbag.
This habit increases exponentially as your puppy goes through its teething phase.
Puppy proof your home and do not lead your puppy into temptation by leaving a dozen pairs of designer shoes lying around just begging to be chomped upon.
Use your closets, or shelves to put those tempting chewables out of reach so that they never experience the puppy joy of chewing on fine leather.
Have Plenty of Puppy-Friendly Toys on Hand
When you catch your puppy putting their teeth on things they are not supposed to, replace that item with an appropriate puppy chew toy, and praise them heavily when they chomp down on their toy.
This will help train them what they can and cannot chew on in order to make you happy (puppies LOVE making us happy).
Do not expect miracles, this process will take time. But having a variety of chew toys available at all times will definitely help this process.
Charlie is a big fan of all of his chew toys, and likes to keep them nearby, even when he’s sleeping. 🙂
Safely Store All Medications
Medications that are meant for human consumption are often not safe for pets and have become one of the most common sources of poisoning for puppies. The recent legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has created an additional risk for puppies from accidental THC consumption.
Even things you might consider as innocuous as Advil can lead to severe health issues for your new puppy.
That’s why you need to make sure that medications and supplements are out of reach and safely stowed away in places that your puppy cannot reach and where you cannot accidentally knock them over when you’re not paying attention.
This also includes oils and ointments that you might apply to your skin. If you apply these, do not let your pet lick you in those areas because some of these creams can be quite toxic to your pets.
Create a Safe Space for your Puppy
Use a decorative dog crate, a puppy bed in the corner of a gated-off kitchen, or even some old blankets to create a “safety den” that your puppy can use when they need a space to call their very own.
These will be especially handy when you have to go out for a while and need a safe place to put your puppy so that they don’t get into too much trouble while you’re not around to course correct their behavior.
These spaces should only be slightly larger than your puppy to also assist with house training.
Store your Cords
One of the worst case scenarios for a young puppy (and their guardian) is when they suddenly discover the delightful texture of power cords.
Your four-legged youngster has no idea of the danger that resides inside these uniquely chewable items.
To protect them from potential shocks, burns, or even pulling heavy items off the shelf by sheer force of a puppy pull, make sure that all cords are tucked away, covered, and sprayed with taste deterrent such a Bitter Apple Spray for Dogs.
Protect Your Furniture
Speaking of Bitter Apple Spray for Dogs, this is a handy solution for helping to deter your dog from chewing our fixed pieces of furniture.
For less critical (or less likely to be chewed) pieces of furniture, you can try the Homemade version, which includes:
- 1 part white vinegar
- 2 parts apple cider vinegar
Mix together in a spray bottle, and spray directly on your furniture.
I have found that this mixture works, but it isn’t quite as effective as the Bitter Apple Spray for Dogs and needs to be applied more frequently to maintain its effectiveness.
As always, don’t simply rely on the taste deterrent. If you catch your puppy chewing on the edge or feet of your furniture, quickly give them a chew toy to focus their attention on instead.
Another way you should protect your furniture is to protect the surface by laying down some blankets. Even if – long term – you intend on training your puppy to stay off your furniture, as soon as they are able to jump up on their own… they will do it.
Throwing a blanket on your leather couch could help project it from puppy mess and puppy nails while they are being trained.
Create Puppy Proofing Boundaries
Both inside and outside your home, you want to limit the roaming space that your new puppy has.
Use doors and gates to block off key areas of the home, so you can better control your dog’s movements.
Outside the home, make sure you have key dangers (such as your swimming pool) blocked off from your curious pup.
Charlie came into our home in mid-March, and almost instantly decided that our frozen-over pool was a fun place to explore. A temporary gate made of deck chairs and chicken wire helped keep him off that danger as the spring thaws turned our frozen pool into a slushy and dangerous mess.
Batteries Should Not Be Included
Anything that contains a battery – large or small – can be a hazard to your puppy.
A swallowed battery can cause choking, or can create burns to your pets mouth, esophagus, and stomach.
Remote controls, key fobs, mobile devices, even electronic toys hide a dangerous element inside that needs to be kept away from your puppy. Not to mention that these can be VERY expensive things to replace if they get chewed up.
Even old batteries need to be disposed of appropriately to make sure your puppy doesn’t get their paws, or their teeth, on them.
Put Away Irreplaceable Items
As a dog owner, it is almost inevitable that – some day – your puppy will chew something that is precious to you.
The easiest way to avoid this pain to simply remove these special items and keep them out of reach until your puppy has passed through their chewing (or marking, or house training) phase.
Pack up and store those valuable, sentimental, or precious items and keep them out of harms way for at least the first year of your puppy’s life.
Control Your Poisons
Your typical home has a LOT of toxic items that are not meant for human – or puppy – consumption. Often we tuck these things under the sink, thinking that they are out of the way.
But out of sight does not mean they are out of your puppy’s mind, or their reach. A clever puppy who can get under the sink to attack the garbage can also do so to get at the stored cleaners, detergents, solvents, glue, etc.
And those child safety caps don’t protect against a puppy who can chew right through the side of the bottle.
Move these things up and out of the way so that your pet can not accidentally ingest something they shouldn’t.
And don’t let your puppy into your garage. Engine oil, Antifreeze, or other engine fluids are too readily available to the puppy’s tongue!
Beware of Heights
Puppies don’t always realizes the limitations of their young limbs, and will often jump from heights their bones are not yet ready to support.
Keep your new puppy at safe heights, and off tall beds and away from staircases until they’ve grown enough that they can handle the jump without injuring themselves.
Now That You Have Fully Puppy Proofed Your Home…
Take time to relax, enjoy, and play with your puppy.
Always remember that a tired puppy is a happy puppy, and far less likely to get into something that they shouldn’t.