Congratulations! You’ve decided to add a new, furry member to your household. Before bringing him home, it is important to puppy proof your home to ensure the safety of your new pet (and your belongings). Puppies are curious and full of energy. Similar to toddlers, they love exploring and learning about their new surroundings. Without proper supervision and a little puppy proofing, however, innocent behavior could turn into a fatal mistake.
Inspect your home for the following dangers before letting your puppy loose indoors:
- Remove any small objects from your puppy’s reach. Puppies are known for eating and chewing. Items such as coins, jewelry, keepsakes, art and office supplies, and children’s toys can lead to life-threatening intestinal problems if eaten.
- Use a baby gate to restrict your puppy’s access to stairwells and off limit rooms.
- Protect electronics and cables from your puppy with cord organizers or concealers. Puppies sometimes enjoy chewing on electrical cords, which can lead to serious burns, shock, and even death.
- Store all medications and vitamins in a place the puppy cannot reach, like an enclosed cabinet or first aid kit.
- Remove plants such as azalea, lilies, oleander, dieffenbachia, daffodils, tulips, sago palms, and philodendron. Consumption of these plants can cause serious problems for your puppy ranging from vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, death.
- Make sure all trashcans either have a secure lid or are out of your puppy’s reach. Like most dogs, puppies will follow their noses to trouble and tear through the trash bag and any objects inside.
- Protect your puppy from human food. Foods such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, raw meat, dairy, gum, candy, and avocados are dangerous for puppies (and adult dogs) to eat. Grapes and raisins, for example, are known to cause kidney and renal failure.
- Put all breakable items away. Puppies can be rambunctious when they play. To avoid items being knocked off, move all breakables to a safe location. Falling objects can lead to concussions or lacerations from broken glass.
- Store cleaning products and chemicals in a secure location. Even a small dose of these chemicals can be hazardous to your pet and cause serious digestive issues.
- Inspect your house and yard for places your puppy could escape. Being off leash in a neighbor could lead to several dangers such as oncoming traffic, large birds, other predatory animals, eating hazardous materials, or simply getting lost.
- Stow children’s toys until the puppy has been trained. Kids’ toys often resemble the same toys you buy specifically for your puppy. Beware of small pieces that could pose choking hazards and stuffed animals that the puppy is not allowed to chew.
As evidenced above, the steps required to puppy proof your home are very similar to preparing for a new child. Everything is new and exciting to a puppy. They rely on their owners to teach them right from wrong and keep them away from danger. The most important thing you can do is supervise or kennel your puppy at all times. By following the steps above and keeping a watchful eye on your new family member, your puppy will remain safe and secure.