Just as you would childproof your home before welcoming a new baby, puppy proofing is an important first step to becoming a dog parent. This will ensure that your puppy stays as safe as possible.
Let’s explore some of the most important aspects of dog proofing your home before your pet arrives.
New Pet Owners: Puppy Proofing Your House Before They Arrive
Like a newly agile toddler, puppies seem to be attracted to the most dangerous things around your home. It’s important to think ahead and assess threats – inside and out.
Here are some potential hazards around the home that you should add to your new puppy safety checklist. And when in doubt, remember: dogs really will eat anything.
Indoor Puppy Proofing: Hiding Electrical Cords And Anything That Could Be Toxic
- Trash – Trash cans can smell like heaven to a dog’s senses. And indoor trash is less likely to be as secure as your outdoor trash, allowing them to easily access what’s inside. In your trash, there may be human foods that are extremely dangerous to dogs – like chocolate and xylitol sweetener. There could also items that could create intestinal blockages like tissues, plastic bags, or bones. Consider getting a trash can with a foot pedal so it will be harder for your dog to reach inside. Make sure you also take the trash out regularly especially if there is something in your trash can that you know is toxic to your pet.
- Electrical cords – Power cords are the perfect chew toy for a curious pup. But chewing through a cord could cause burns and electrocution. Invest in some cord covers, spiral cable wrap, or PVC pipe.
- Medications – Human medications are a common cause of pet poisoning. Lock away all medications and vitamins or place them high off the ground. Don’t underestimate your pup’s ability to chew off a seemingly childproof lid.
- Household Cleaners – Home cleaning products should be kept securely locked away from curious pets. They are undoubtedly toxic and puppy teeth will find a way through any container. Childproof cupboard latches are a great idea here. While locking up your cleaning products also consider other toxic substances around the home and garage – from glue or antifreeze to rat poison.
- The Toilet Bowl – Pets love to drink out of toilet bowls. This may be a common behavior but it’s also a health concern. If you don’t clean your toilet very often, you’re putting your dog at risk of bacteria like E. coli.1 If you do clean your toilet often they’re at risk of consuming toxic toilet cleaners. Always remember to put your toilet seat down. Getting in the habit of keeping the bathroom door shut is another way to make sure your pet doesn’t go snooping around the toilet or get into other potentially-dangerous objects in the bathroom.
- Certain Houseplants – Here’s a really important fact for first-time pet parents: certain plants are toxic to animals. You should acquaint yourself with these and ensure that you have none of these plants in your home. You can read about some of these plants here.
- Battery Devices – Anything small that contains a battery is fair game for your pup (especially small remotes and key fobs.) If a battery is swallowed it can cause serious intestinal burns or blockages. Keep these locked away or out of reach of your pet.
- Other small ingestible objects around the home – From jewelry to hair ties, hairpins, paper clips, children’s toys, and beyond. Your home is often filled with an array of small objects. Be careful where you store these items, but also aware of where you might absentmindedly place them down. Like earrings on a nightstand or paper clips on the couch.
Outdoor Dog Proofing: Check Fence Conditions And Remove Toxic Plants
- Fences – Do you have a fence in place? And is it high enough? The standard for a doggie is usually 6 feet high for a medium to large dog. Ensure that your fence doesn’t have any posts or decorative features that could injure a dog who might try to jump it.
- The Great Escape – Even if you have the perfect fence, have you checked it for potential gaps or holes? Check between the fence and other objects. You can easily fix any escape routes with chicken wire or boarding. And remember, many pets can squeeze through much smaller gaps than you thought possible.
- Gates – Install self-closing mechanisms on gates so if someone accidentally leaves it open, it’ll shut on its own.
- Electrical wires – Just like inside your home, check the outside of your home for electrical wires and cords and cover them accordingly.
- Swimming Pools – Dogs can drown in backyard swimming pools or hot tubs. Ensure that all pools are gated off and always keep the lid on your hot tub.
- Visitors – Ensure that any regular visitors – like gardeners – know that you now have a dog and ask them to follow strict gate rules.
- Hidey Holes – Check there isn’t any open crawl space under your home that your pooch could become curious about and get themselves stuck in.
- Outdoor Items – Some dogs love to chew garden hoses and furniture so take a look at what you have lying about and consider whether you should keep it out of reach of your pup.
- Outdoor plants – Just like indoor plants there are plenty of hazardous outdoor plants and trees that are toxic to dogs. Read about some of these plants here.
New Pup 101: Safety First
As you can see there are a great many things to think about outside of just potty training a new pup.
Sometimes it may not be possible to remove all hazards from your home before your pup joins the family. The easiest way around this is to gate off certain areas. For example, you can use baby gates to block off rooms or stairways. These can be far more efficient than just trying to close doors around the home.
If you’re in doubt about any household objects, speak to your vet. But just like human babies, new pups love to bite and chew and put things in their mouths. So almost anything is fair game.
Make sure you have plenty of chew toys available to them around your home so that they’re less likely to go after other items.