Puppy proofing is the canine version of human baby-proofing when a new bundle of joy arrives, and it's vital you know how to puppy proof your home and yard. Puppies explore their world with nose pokes, paw pounces, and chewing everything within reach.
For your new puppy, everything is a potential game. He uses his mouth the way infants reach out and grab. So tug-games with the curtains, keep-away when he steals your wallet, un-planting the potted palm or eating poisonous plants, and nosey sniffs of the candle flame get him in trouble.
During teething, he’ll want to chew even more to relieve the discomfort, but most dogs love to chew their whole life. Puppies not only damage your property, he could hurt himself or die from munching dangerous objects.
Think Like A Puppy
Anything that moves, looks fun or interesting, or dangerous will attract your furry delinquent. Get a puppy-eye-view of your home by crawling around on all fours to channel your “inner puppy” –it’s okay, you don’t have to wag or bark, just find and address the dangers.
- Kitchen and bathroom cabinets often house cleaning supplies that can be poisonous if swallowed. When cabinets are within puppy reach, be sure the baby can’t paw them open. Child-proof latches are a good idea.
- Toilet paper is a popular puppy toy. Drinking out of the toilet is another nasty habit that could be dangerous if a small pup falls in and drowns or ingests chemical cleaners. The easy fix is—shut the bathroom door, and/or always put the lid down.
- Electrical cords tempt puppies to chew. They can be shocked and sometimes even rescue breathing and CPR may not save them. Bad tasting products like Bitter Apple may help but don’t rely on these as some funny canines like the taste. It’s better to keep the cords out of reach by installing baby gates to make rooms off-limits, moving electrical items and their cords elsewhere, or bundle the cords together. Home product stores offer products designed to do this.
- Pups jump up on window sills to look out. That may tempt them to grab curtains or play tug with the cords on the window blinds. Some pups have strangled in these cords so tie them up out of reach.
- Waste baskets can be incredibly rewarding for a puppy to pillage. Table scraps to old used tissues can be found so invest in waste baskets with lids, hide them behind latching doors, or set them on countertops out of reach.
- Dirty laundry must smell like heaven to puppies. Concentrated beloved human scents found on worn socks and underwear or shoes can be very appealing. The pillow your head rests on when you sleep also smells like you. So protect the laundry basket, and close the closet door to keep puppy marauders from stealing and chewing shoes, purses or brief cases left on the floor. Puppies may confuse throw pillows with legal chew toys so make it easy for them to tell the difference and put forbidden objects out of reach.
- If you have cats, be sure the litter box is out of reach. Puppies like to snack on poop, especially kitty potty deposits and aside from the unsanitary issue, this will hiss off the cat and cause potential inter-pet problems. Most cats can leap onto a tabletop to find their litter box, which keeps it out of dog range.
- Some common house plants are poisonous if chewed and swallowed. Even if nontoxic, your puppy may have great fun gnawing and dragging pieces around the house, or practicing his excavation technique. Either hang baskets or set houseplants on tables out of reach, or throw away if they’re of the toxic variety.
- Find a safe place out of puppy tooth range to store cell phone, TV remote or other such objects. If you’re paper training the puppy, remember that the newspaper, books, magazines or music left on the floor may invite puppy potty attention you don’t want.
- Puppies also spend time in the yard. Don’t think a fence makes him safe. Puppies can wiggle out of tiny openings or get caught and injured trying to escape. Anything that can be turned into a toy should be put out of reach. Lawn and garden chemicals should be shut in puppy proof rooms or boxes.