It’s completely understandable to be super-excited to bring your puppy home for the first time. But before your new pup walks through the front door, you need to make sure that your home is a safe haven. To accomplish this, a home makeover will be necessary to remove temptations and to identify hidden, dangerous situations you might not have considered.
A dog’s nose is their biggest asset, but it can also get them into trouble. Therefore, the onus is on you to be vigilant. This requires looking at your home from your pup’s perspective to identify risks, protecting your rugs, childproof latching your cabinets, and ensuring nothing in your backyard or garage can harm your pet. The following list will provide you with nine ways to thoroughly puppy proof your home.
1. Inspect your home from the POV of an adventurous puppy. Go from room to room and look at each space from a puppy’s perspective. This means getting down on your knees and looking for any potential hazards. You’ll be surprised by how many enticing and problematic things your pup can encounter.
2. Purchase childproof latches to keep your puppy out of cabinets. Puppies can be as curious as cats because they investigate their surroundings by pawing and by chewing. Purchase childproof latches and attach them to cabinets that contain cleaning supplies, food and other canine temptations. Foods like chocolate, avocados, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, and garlic can be toxic to dogs.
3. Protect your rugs from puppy bites & pee puddles. During your pup’s first year or while they are potty training, temporarily remove any expensive rugs and put down inexpensive runners. Otherwise, these rugs may become victims of pee puddles or bite marks.
4. Don’t forget to puppy proof electrical cords. Be sure to enclose any wires from electrical devices like televisions and computers in chew-resistant PVC casings. Chewing on a plugged-in cord can electrocute your pup.
5. Fence the backyard and put away harmful gardening tools. Make sure your yard is fenced and that there are no escape routes your pup can find. A dog with a desire to dig can get through openings that will surprise you. The first couple of times you let you dog out in the yard, follow him closely to see which areas he gravitates to. Just as food in the kitchen can be a problem for pets, so can plants in the garden. There are a number of plants that can cause harm to your pup. For some of the most common ones, refer to the Houzz guide of 22 Plants to Keep Away From Pets. Compost, cocoa-based mulches, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers as well as snail and slug bait can also cause trouble for your dog. Your first line of defense is keeping these items stored away safely and out of reach.
6. Stop at the pet store for puppy gates & crates. Purchase doggy gates to limit access to rooms and make sure the gates have vertical bars, not horizontal ones. Smart pups know how to hoist themselves up on a lower horizontal bar to scale the gate and leap up and over. Also pick up an easy-to-clean crate that will serve as your pup’s snooze time den.
7. Lock up poisonous products in your garage. Closely look around your garage and make sure pesticides, gasoline, solvents, antifreeze, coolants and oils are either high up or in a closed cabinet. The same is true for small things, like screws, nuts, bolts and nails. If you live in a snowy climate, be aware that de-icing compounds may also contain dangerous chemicals, so look for ones that are safe for pets.
8. Secure small items out of your puppy’s paws. Becoming a tidy housekeeper will save you from expensive visits to the vet as a result of your puppy getting into toxic things or ingesting foreign bodies. Remove any small items on tabletops that can be chewed and make sure your kitchen and bathroom trash cans have secure lids. Stash small items like needles, thread, hair ties, jewelry, coins, buttons, rubber bands, and mothballs out of paw’s reach. Storing things safely away after using them is far easier than trying to coax them away from a pet determined to destroy them. Get in the habit of completely closing all closet, bedroom and bathroom doors to prevent any puppy misadventures. Remember to keep all of your toilet lids down, as drinking out of a toilet is unhealthy for dogs—especially if you use chemical cleaners.
9. Create a puppy-safe space. Resist giving your puppy free reign of your home. Initially introduce him to a large bathroom or spare bedroom that is already puppy proofed. When you wish to have him join you throughout the house, tether him to a waist leash.
The cost and consequences of not properly puppy proofing your home can be catastrophic. Being organized and ready to welcome home your new pup will make the adjustment easier for both you and your puppy. From the beginning, your puppy will have a clear idea of where he is allowed to go and what things and places are off limits. Even with the most prepared pet parents, accidents do happen, which is why a good pet insurance policy is a worth having.
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Pet insurance offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC is underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company (APIC), a New York insurance company or Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC), a Delaware insurance company. Please see www.americanpetinsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products underwritten by APIC. IAIC is a member of The IHC Group, an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates, please see www.ihcgroup.com for additional information. Please refer to your declarations page to determine the underwriter for your policy. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products.