Puppy Proofing Your Home

Puppies are notoriously adept at getting into trouble, chewing or shredding dangerous objects, or personal belongings that are off limits to tiny teeth. In a matter of minutes, a single, small pup can cause hundreds, even thousands of dollars worth of damage, and seriously injure themselves in the process.

If you don’t want your puppy’s first days home to be a series of reprimands, “No. Leave that alone. Get out of there. Drop that. Stop it. No,” then puppy-proof your house and yard before he arrives. Think of it as child-proofing your home, except that a puppy is smaller and more active than a baby and can therefore get into more things.

Put up barricades or baby gates across areas where the puppy isn’t allowed. Close doors, cabinets, and drawers to rooms or storage spaces where pup could get into trouble. Since a puppy believes that it’s okay to chew anything that is within reach, provide plenty of toys to keep him busy. And always, keep a close eye on what puppy is doing, no matter how well you have prepared your home for his arrival.

Here are some precautions you can take to get your home ready and keep puppy safe. Spray a repellant, such as Bitter Apple on objects such as chair legs, that cannot be placed out of harm’s way. Pick up, put away, secure, hide or keep puppy away from or out of reach:

  • Small pets such as hamsters and fish tanks;
  • Houseplants, some of which are poisonous, including the dead leaves. Check with your vet or green house before adding new plants;
  • Some children’s toys have small parts;
  • Crayons, pens, pencils, paper clips, pins, tacks, staples;
  • Paper shredder;
  • Books, magazines, mail, newspapers, important documents;
  • Money, paper or coin, checks;
  • Electrical cords or wires;
  • Telephone cords, computer cables;
  • Drawstrings from draperies or blinds
  • Television and other remotes controls, VCR tapes;
  • Knick-knacks, figurines, or collectibles, heavy items like lamps that can get pulled own or knocked over;
  • Firewood or debris from fireplaces;
  • Pillows, fabric arm covers, afghans or throws
  • Throw rugs, bathmats
  • Candles, potpourri, air fresheners;
  • Food, candy dishes, food crumbs, bones or discarded cooking items;
  • Ovens, cooktops or hot pans;
  • Puppy’s food and treats (can overeat and get ill or bloat)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Trash compactor, garbage and trash cans or bags;
  • Paper towels and napkins, clean or dirty;
  • Tissues or toilet paper;
  • Bed and bath linens;
  • Clothing, gloves, hats, shoes, dirty laundry;
  • Jewelry, combs, toothbrushes, hair ribbons or pins
  • Medications, drugs, toiletries, cosmetics;
  • Cleaning items, rags, sponges, household chemicals, detergents;

*Sporting equipment, hunting or fishing gear, craft-working items;

  • Tools, nails, string, fasteners, glue.

Garages, basements and attics may be filled with so many hazardous objects, that it’s best to prevent puppy from entering these rooms at all. After puppy-proofing indoors, do the yard area to which pup will have access.

  • Check fencing for weak or broken areas where puppy could escape. Lock fence gates.
  • Do not let puppy near a swimming pool or pond where he could fall in and drown.
  • Many outdoor plants, flowers and shrubs are poisonous. Plant only in gardens where puppy will not be permitted. Check with a veterinarian or landscaper about what plants to avoid. Also, don’t let puppy eat his way through your vegetable garden.
  • Don’t use fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides on the ground in puppy’s area if possible. If these chemicals must be used, keep the pup off the lawn for at least 48 hours afterwards. Check with your vet before allowing puppy back into a treated yard.
  • Leave puppy in the house while working on the lawn. Put away all gardening tools, such as hoses and rakes, when finished using them.
  • Keep puppy’s potty area clean — scoop the poop daily!
  • Always watch puppy when he is playing outdoors and inside.

When you think you’re finished puppy-proofing, go room to room, and look at each and every item. Do you see something you missed before? Are there objects in which puppy could get caught or tangled? that could be pulled down or ripped up? Ask yourself, “If I were a puppy, would this be an interesting place to explore? Would this be fun to chew, shred, carry or hide? ” Once you’ve made your household safe for puppy and your belongings, introduce him to his new environment and watch him happily adapt to his new home.