Dogs are a man’s best friend. They are loyal, forgiving, and down-right adorable. But what isn’t so adorable is the mess they leave behind during their early stages of life. Puppies are, undoubtedly, many people’s soft spot. However, it can be quite difficult to adjust them to your household. Puppies tend to make their own fun, and it often comes at the expense of your personal belongings or the structure of the house itself. This is why puppy-proofing your home is so important, not just for the sake of your home, but for their safety and happiness as well. Below are some steps you can take to puppy-proof your house so that you can have peace of mind and your pup can focus their energy in the right way!
1. Secure the yard
Your yard should be fenced in, with posts or metal bars properly secured and no holes to escape from. Check for any loose boards and replace any rotten or damaged pickets. The fence should also be high enough that your pet cannot jump over when fully grown. The height at which a dog can jump varies by breed and overall health. Some larger breeds can jump as high as six feet in the air, while smaller breeds may only be able to jump a few inches. Be sure to keep this in mind when building a fence, or making any adjustments before adopting your new furry friend. Chicken wire can also be used for pups who like to dig their way to ‘freedom.’ Put the wire along the fence line with a small layer of dirt and rocks along the top and your dog won't be able to dig through to the other side.
2. Keep the floor and lower shelves clear
Before bringing ina new family member, it’s important to do a thorough clean of the living space. Trash should be thrown away, small objects should be picked up and place out of reach, and carpets should be vacuumed to assure there is nothing for your pup to eat that will potentially make him ill. It is also important to note that anything on lower shelves or tables should be picked up and placed out of your canine's reach. Keep in mind that as they grow, they will likely begin standing on their back paws in order to reach higher places, especially on countertops or garbage bins for food.
3. Properly store/dispose of food
It’s no surprise that dogs love eating our food. And while the occasional blueberry or watermelon slice makes a nice treat, there are some foods that are deadly for our pets to consume. This is why proper storage and disposal of our food is crucial. Keep food off of counters where larger dogs can easily stand to pull things down. When defrosting your food, put it in a microwave or on top of the fridge, where your dog is unable to get to it. And just as necessary as proper food storage is, so is food disposal. Be sure that any plates are cleared off before going into the sink, as plenty of dogs are known to lick scraps from the dishes. Also, keep lids on garbage cans at all times. You may even want to place the bin in a pantry or behind another closed door so your pet can't knock it over. It can be incredibly dangerous for our pets to eat from the garbage, especially if there are bones within. Chicken bones, especially, are known to splinter and cause dogs to choke to death. This is why disposing of our food properly is key to our pet’s safety.
4. The medicine should be put in a secure drawer
Much like food storage, medicine should also have a place out of your dog’s reach. If it can be chewed up or eaten, most dogs will scarf it down. That includes our medications. Keep all prescription and nonprescription drugs in a cabinet that your dog cannot access. Never leave medicine out on tables or counters, especially if the lid is open. Make it a habit to always put the medicine away once it is taken.
5. Keep baby/pet gates up
Any area that you don't want your puppy to have access to should be blocked off with a puppy gate. These comes in various lengths and heights for prolonged use. These gates are perfect for keeping your pup out ofproblem areas or places in your house that you can’t fully watch over him. Keeping your puppy contained in certain areas of the house at a time minimizes the risk for them to get into something you may have missed or forgotten about.
Much like puppy gates, puppy playpens keep your pet confined to one area in your house. They are a great tool to use when you have chores to do and can't keep an eagle eye on your little companion. These pens come in different sizes so that you can decide how big of a space you'd like his play area to occupy. Just be sure to keep plenty of toys and water in there with him!
7. Proper foliage
Just like certain foods are toxic to dogs, so are many types of plants. It is imperative to check the safety of any plants existing in your home and remove those that pose health risks. This is true of both indoor and outdoor plants. If you can’t identify a certain one, it is best to err on the side of caution and get rid of it. Always look up the health risks when purchasing a new plant or consult your veterinarian. Some plants can cause mild stomach irritation and vomiting, while others can cause full organ shutdown and lead to death. This is why we recommend taking plant inventory before bringing any new pet into your home, for even something as small and beautiful as an Azaleas can be fatal.
Buying a kennel canbe a great asset when training your new puppy. While it isn’t good to leave them in for long periods at a time, they work well whe nneeding to run to the store for groceries or doing some yard work. Kennels, for many young pups, can feel safe and secure. It is their personal bed that has all their comfort items inside. It is also a warm and cozy place to rest. It shouldn’t be a punishment. It should be a safe place your pet can go when you can’t keep a close eye on him. Otherwise, the door should be left open so your pup understands that he has the option to go in and out as he sees fit.
9. Cover all wires
This is one step that often gets overlooked. But wires from computers, televisions, and other electronics are often a dog’s favorite chew toy. It is incredibly dangerous, both for you and your puppy. There is the very likely possibility of them getting electrocuted, as well as yourself if dealing with partially chewed wires. Be sure to buy wire covers orconceal cords in a place the puppy can’t get to.
10. Cleaning supply safety
We all have cleaning supplies, and many of us tend to leave different products in different rooms of the house. But many of these chemicals can be harmful to our pets. Instead of harsh chemicals, opt for organic ornatural alternatives that are safe to use. A few good natural cleaners are lemons and baking soda. However, if you do use the harsh stuff, be sure to keep the puppy away from the area until it is well ventilated and dry. Also, make sure that when you finish cleaning, you put the chemicals in a drawer with a latch. This way he can open any drawers and drink any fatally harmful cleaning supplies.
11. Keep toilet lids closed
Believe it or not, this is for more than keeping your dog from drinking disgusting toilet water. Some puppies can jump inside the bowl and drown. This is why it’s good practice to always put the lid down when you finish your business.
12. Door and windows should always remain closed
This sounds obvious, but we wanted to throw it in our list just to be safe! While it may be tempting to open a door or crack a window to let in the fresh air, it also increasesthe risk for your crafty little pooch to escape. Be sure to keep all doors and windows closed when your pup is loose in the house, lest he is tempted to run off!
13. Keep your lawn maintenance up to par
Trimming the yard will minimize therisk for ticks and wildlife to roam around the yard. As you may know, plenty of pest animals can carry diseases that are fatal for our young pups, which is why it’s so important to keep the lawn maintenance and your pup up to date on vaccines. It is also a good idea to keep a designated area for your pooch to potty in when young, that way it minimizes the risk of catching something outdoors. Also, be sure to keep your puppy away from any areas that are treated with fertilizers or pesticides.
14. Clean up feces
It is important to pick up all the messes your dog makes both inside and out. We don’t want our furry friends eating their own poop or laying in their own filth. This can create all sorts of health issues and isn’t hygienic for them. Use a pooper scooper or poop bags to clean up in the yard, and be sure to steam clean or disinfect the area if indoors.
15. Don’t leave pups unattended
Puppies need constant supervision. They should not be left alone for an extended period of time, especially in the yard where disease and wild animals can cause them harm. You have to be sure, before getting a new puppy, that you have the time to dedicate to them. After all, no one wants to be left alone for hours at a time. It is extremely dangerous and also lonely for any pet.
16. Keep the weather in mind
When the temperatures are extreme, you need to have a comfortable place for your pet to stay. Puppies should not be left outside during high heat or cold weather. Be sure to keep them inside, with a working air conditioner in the summer and a heater in the winter. Just like people, dogs can get heat exhaustion and hypothermia. It is important you keep them inside and safe, especially during nasty weather.
17. Heights are not a puppy high
Puppies should be left on the ground, and not on any surface where they could fall or jump from. This can do severe damage, even if the height doesn’t seem so high. Other than breaking limbs, it is also possible for your pup to puncture a lung and bleed out. This is why it’s best to keep them at ground level.
18. Keep plastic bags away
Plastic bags are not only harmful to the environment, but also to our furry family members. It is very easy for puppies to get themselves stuck inside of a plastic bag and suffocate themselves. Make sure you keep all bags put away in a high drawer or a plastic bag container.
These are just a few tips to get you ready for your new companion. It isn’t easy raising a puppy, but it is so rewarding. Keep in mind that a puppy needs you for everything, and their health and happiness is completely dependent on you. They rely on you for protection and nourishment. This is why it’s so important to keep their needs in mind. While it may not be all fun and games all the time, it is well worth the commitment and dedication when they grow to be loving and supportive friends and family members.
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