Did you know that nearly four out of 10 American households have at least one pooch? Dogs remain one of the most beloved types of pets out there. However, if you’re planning to bring a young one into your family, you’ll want to figure out how to puppy proof your home.
In fact, understanding how to puppy proof your home should begin well before the day that you bring your new pup home. But don’t worry: You aren’t expected to understand how to puppy proof your home without a little assistance.
Below are some steps that will teach you how to make sure your house or apartment is in tiptop shape for your incoming furry friend.
Get Your Other Pets Ready
Do you currently have any pets who will interact with your puppy? Make sure you get them prepared to have another companion in the house. For instance, you may want to have a friend with a puppy bring a puppy to your home to meet your dog, cat, bunny, ferret, or bird. Don’t be surprised if your current pet is hostile to the animal. That type of behavior is understandable and expected. It’s also what you can expect when you bring your puppy into your life.
Be sure that your other pets have spaces to go so they can be alone and not disturbed by your puppy. This will help them feel more secure and react less aggressively toward the pooch. Remember: You are responsible for the safety of all your creatures, so as part of knowing how to puppy proof your home, you need to keep an eye out for every animal’s needs.
Teach Your Kids How to Respect a Dog
Your kids may have begged you to get a puppy, but that doesn’t mean they innately understand how to take care of a dog. In fact, many children are unknowingly rough or cruel to puppies, teasing them and tormenting them.
The last thing you want is to instill a sense of fear in your puppy. Fearful puppies may grow up to be fearful adult dogs or aggressive ones who wind up costing you money after a neighbor calls a dog bite lawyer. Have a long talk with your children about dogs before you bring a puppy into the fold. Help them understand that they are not to pull on the puppy’s tail or ears, or try to take food or treats away from the puppy.
When you do bring your puppy home, be sure you never allow your children to be unattended with the pup until it’s much older. If you have teens, enlist them in finding out how to puppy proof your home so they have a stake in maintaining a safe, secure, orderly environment.
Buy a Crate and Toys
You can expect to use a crate with your puppy, so plan on getting one new or used. Make sure it’s sturdy and has enough room for your puppy to move around.
Many new pet owners can’t fathom why they would need to crate a puppy. However, puppies don’t see crates as punishments. They tend to like having a location where they can go for downtime and a sense of security. Plus, keeping your puppy in a crate every night is less stressful and risky than bringing your puppy into your bed.
While you’re buying a crate, be sure to pick up some chew toys, too. Puppies teethe, and they appreciate having something to gnaw on. You’ll appreciate that they aren’t gnawing on your furniture, shoes, or personal items!
Have a Bathing Station Ready for Messes
It’s a fact of having a newborn pooch: You’ll deal with many, many messes. For that reason, makes sure when you’re considering how to puppy proof your home that you plan to set up a bathing station.
A bathing station doesn’t have to be a big deal. You can make a bathing station in your heated garage or basement. Or, you might want to set aside a place in the bathroom where you can bring your messy puppy. Puppies can get dirty quickly, especially if they have accidents in the house or discover the joy of rolling in mud puddles. The more ready you are to wipe your puppy down, the less the mess will cause you stress.
Oh, and while you’re staging your puppy bathing area, put out all the dog grooming products you’ll need. Having shampoo, clippers, and towels waiting for you takes a lot of the work out of getting a puppy clean.
Contact Your Vet for Advice
Do you already have an animal hospital you work with? Give them a call to let them know that you’ll soon be adding another cutie pie to the family. If you don’t already have a vet that you trust, ask your friends and family for suggestions.
It’s good to get a vet’s advice on bringing home a new pup because vets have tons of experience with knowing how to puppy proof your home. They can also share other tidbits with you so you keep your four-legged pal healthy and happy.
While you’re on the phone with the vet, why not set up your upcoming appointments? You could even arrange for a time to neuter or spay your puppy once the puppy is old enough.
Keep Technological Devices Out of Reach
Most of us take our technological devices for granted, like laptops, devices, voice-activated AI assistants, and even remote controls. However, your puppy won’t see them as everyday objects. Puppies are well-known for their desire to explore things and destroy them.
Aside from the fact that you won’t want your puppy to chew up your favorite tech toys, you also need to worry about the puppy getting electrocuted if the device is plugged into an outlet. Therefore, put all your technological devices out of reach. You may even want to figure out a way to keep plugs and cords off the ground or hidden under special strips and carpeting. This will minimize the danger of your pup chomping down on a live wire.
Install a Fence in Your Yard
Dogs love to run and play. In addition to walking your little puppy two or three times a day, consider the value that a fenced-in yard could bring. Foremost, a yard with a fence would allow you to be outside with your puppy without the need to have the puppy on a leash all the time. Secondly, fencing could actually improve your property’s overall value. Finally, a fence will improve the general curb appeal of your residence.
When choosing a fence as part of your mission to figure out how to puppy proof your home, look for one that will keep your puppy from escaping. That means a fence without wide spaces between or under the slats. You may not be able to install your fence alone, so plan to either enlist the help of buddies or hire a professional contractor.
Who knows? You might just find that you love your fence even more than your puppy does! Fencing adds an incredible amount of privacy and security to a backyard.
Protect Your Floors
Do you relish the thought of Googling “Where can I find antique rug repair specialists in my area?” Didn’t think so. That’s the reason you’ll want to remember to protect your flooring as you go about learning how to puppy proof your home.
It’s not feasible or necessary to put a barrier between your puppy and all your floors. Some floor types, like linoleum or tile and grout, are easy to clean. Others, though, can be seriously damaged. For instance, hardwood floors that have been soaked with urine or feces likely will require wood flooring repair, which can be expensive.
Your cheapest option is to buy different types of floor covering for the places where your puppy will be allowed to roam. Be sure that you limit your puppy’s access to carpeted spots that are unprotected until your puppy is fully potty trained and no longer in the chewing stage of life.
What are some floor covering ideas? You could get plastic or rubber runners and protectors. Or, if you want to keep a sense of hominess and designer touch to a living space, consider just placing a cheaper throw rug on top of your wall-to-wall textiles. Feel free to get creative as you keep your floors safe from a puppy tornado of messes!
Investigate Local Training Classes
A great gift to give your puppy is the gift of obedience. Trained puppies aren’t just nicer to have in a household. They’re also able to stay out of harm’s way. Imagine the relief of being able to tell your puppy to “stay” when she’s about to run into a high-traffic street.
Dog obedience classes are available in just about any community. Start your search by checking with your nearest pet stores. Many of the bigger pet supply retailers offer doggy school year-round for affordable rates. The classes are usually capped at a small number of participants, so call early and lock in your spot.
Practice Keeping Human Food Out of Reach
All dogs learn to beg, and they learn the skill early on. Your puppy will give you a lot of long, loving stares while you’re eating. But the last thing you want to do is share your cheesecake slice or pizza crust with a pooch.
Human foods can be hazardous to dogs in a number of ways. Some ingredients, like chocolate and onions, are toxic to dogs and may require an emergency trip to the vet if they’re eaten. Other foods are nutritionally empty and will make your puppy gain weight. Get into the habit of practicing a zero-tolerance attitude toward feeding your pup from the table.
To reduce the risk of your puppy stealing food or scraps, be diligent about trash cleanup. Put leftovers away promptly and take the garbage to an outside trash can each night. Otherwise, your puppy might be tempted to knock over your kitchen garbage bin to gain access to whatever’s inside that smells interesting.
Put Poisons, Cleaning Supplies, and Medicines on High Shelves
No guide covering how to puppy proof your home would be complete without mentioning what to do with medicines, cleaning supplies, and other possibly poisonous items.
Though it may seem ridiculous to think that a puppy could open a kitchen cabinet door or want to chew through a bottle of window washing fluid, it can happen in a heartbeat. Instead of dealing with a sick or seriously injured puppy, keep everything toxic and poisonous on high shelves.
Yes, this may be a bit of an inconvenience for you. Nevertheless, it’s temporary and makes sure that your best little buddy isn’t going to swallow drugs or drink liquid drain clog remover.
Invest in Pest Control
Believe it or not, puppies can be allergic to anything from insect droppings to dust mites. In addition to thoroughly scrubbing your house from top to bottom before introducing a puppy into your household, call a pest control specialist to take care of insect, rodent and yard creature problems.
Pest control technicians are capable of handling tasks as mundane as examining your house for signs of a flea infestation to undertaking a major geese removal project if you have unwanted birds nesting in your backyard. By getting rid of pests, you can improve the indoor air quality of your residence for your new pup, and worry less about outside critters starting scuffles.
Set up a Puppy Schedule
Even if it’s the day before your puppy arrives, don’t go to bed until you’ve laid out a puppy schedule. Your schedule should include things like when you plan to walk your puppy, when feedings will take place, and how you’ll handle grooming tasks.
Having a schedule helps everyone in your home know what to do and when to do it. The faster you get your puppy on a routine, the easier it will be on everyone.
Reinforce Your Backyard Shed
As a final note for our how to puppy proof your home tipsheet, always pay attention to the objects in your backyard, including your shed. You may use it for outdoor storage of gasoline for your lawnmower or pesticides for your garden. But your puppy won’t realize it’s filled with potential hazards.
Puppies can dig and claw their way into all sorts of places, including a shed you thought was tightly locked. Do yourself a quick favor and double-check your shed. You’ll thank yourself when you’re knee-deep in puppy love!