One of the things you’ll want to do before bringing home your newly-adopted puppy is “puppy-proof” your living space. Puppy-proofing a home is much like baby-proofing—you want to ensure the safety of your new pup while keeping your things (and your sanity) protected! Here’s how to do it:
- Move breakable objects or valuables out of reach –Move or safely tuck away anything that could be considered dangerous or hazardous, such as sharp or small objects or stray electrical cords, so that they’re not mistaken for playthings.
- Eliminate poisonous plants – Not all house plants are safe for dogs or curious puppies who love to chew! Make sure your home décor isn’t a potential safety threat by tossing those toxic flowers or plants and replacing them with dog-friendly ones. You can double- check which species of plants are toxic and which plants are safe for dogs by browsing this list.
- Use physical barriers – Some dog parents choose to section off parts of the house until their new dog is acclimated to their new home. You can use gates to prevent a clumsy pup from falling down the stairs and hurting himself, or to restrict access to certain rooms or places in the house. Be sure all windows the dog has access to are screened, as well.
- Don’t neglect outdoor space – While having a fenced-in yard can be a definite bonus for doggy parents, it should never replace human supervision. Whether or not you have a fenced-in yard, be cognizant of the outdoor space your new puppy will be using. Be sure any gates or fences are in good shape and that they don’t pose a hazard to your dog. Fenced in or not, your dog needs constant supervision and should never be left alone outside (especially tied on a leash, where there is a risk of choking.) A particularly energetic dog can jump a fence, while a smaller dog or may be able to fit through tight spaces. Be aware of any poisonous plants or shrubs that your dog could have access to, as well.
- Child-proof latches – Kitchens and bathrooms can be dangerous places for puppies, who tend to explore face first! Make sure your puppy can’t get into any kitchen or bathroom cabinets that contain harmful cleaning chemicals. Medications, tools, and cleaning supplies should be safely out of reach, covered, or locked away.
- Food – Having a new puppy around means suddenly having to be aware of food left out or lying around on counters or tables. Never leave food unattended around your puppy, especially chocolate, avocado, and onions, which are extremely dangerous for pets. See the list of all foods that are not safe for dogs here.
Puppies love to investigate new places; getting to know their new home is much like exploring a playground. Just make sure that you take precautions to keep their playground – and your valuable or fragile items — safe.