How to Puppy-Proof Your Home Ahead of Dog Adoption

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Puppies are adorable little balls of fluff. One look at those big, soulful eyes will have you like putty in their paws. Yet, just as quickly as they can win your heart, puppies can also get into a lot of trouble. Insatiably curious by nature, puppies are great at investigating every inch of their surroundings, leaving no stone (or trash can) unturned. In addition to destroying precious and pricey property, your new pup can also get seriously hurt in certain situations. That’s why, ahead of adoption, it’s vitally important to take the proper precautions and puppy-proof your home.

Dog adoption and the puppy-proofing that ensues can be as exciting as it is overwhelming. However, the simplest and least intimidating way to get started is by referring to a checklist. We like to think our article is the perfect place to begin, so go ahead and print it out. Hang it on your fridge, or post it someplace where the whole family can see it. We’ll be dividing things up into two categories, indoor and outdoor, with easy-to-follow suggestions in order to give you a jumpstart on enjoying your new little bundle of fur.

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Indoor Puppy Hazards to Watch For

Your home is like a playground for your new pup. She’ll be getting acquainted with her new surroundings, which means exploration is a must! However, you can take precautions to keep your puppy out of harm’s way. Check out the room-by-room checklist below for information on indoor safety protocols.

The Kitchen

  • Cleaning supplies should be moved to higher ground, replaced with natural and non-toxic products, and/or kept in a locked cabinet.
  • Consider using childproof latches on the lower cabinets to prevent your curious pup from nosing around.
  • Keep all plastics, including plastic grocery bags, treat bags, and chip bags out of your dog’s reach. You don’t want your pup ripping these and choking on or ingesting bits of plastic. They also pose a serious and very real suffocation risk.
  • Vitamins, pet medications, and flea and heartworm preventatives should all be stored someplace where your pup will not have access.
  • Be cautious about food scraps falling to the floor, or leaving the refrigerator open. There are many human foods that are dangerous to dogs, including but not limited to: chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, and xylitol-containing foods, like chewing gum, caffeine, alcohol, and more.
  • Access to the garbage can should be limited, either by barrier or a puppy-proof lid. Food scraps like chicken bones, uncooked meats and fish, coffee grounds, packaging, bits of plastic, and other dangers are tempting and potentially deadly to a young dog.

The Bathroom

  • Medications, ointments, and pills could be lethal to your new pup. Put them up high and out of reach.
  • Hair products, face creams, and other products, especially those in plastic containers, could be easily chewed through by a teething puppy and should be stored safely away.
  • Also consider using childproof latches on the bathroom cabinets to keep your pup from peeking inside.
  • Disposed razor blades, sanitary products, dental floss, and other typical bathroom trash is very hazardous to your dog’s health. Secure your trash can in a cabinet or place it up high.
  • Standing water is a drowning risk for your pup. Keep your dog away from full sinks, bathtubs, and toilets with lids up. It’s also advisable to discontinue the use of automatic toilet bowl cleaners.
  • If your household is busy and sometimes forgetful when it comes to closing toilet lids and tossing trash, put up a baby gate so your pup has zero access to the bathroom.

The Living Areas and Bedrooms

  • Power cords are tempting to a teething puppy. They’re hard, small, and easily accessible. Unfortunately, allowing your dog to gnaw on these could result in burns, electric shock, lung damage, or death. Ensure cords are out of sight, or cover them. Use flexible cord coverings designed to be pet proof, or have a length of PVC pipe cut to size and thread your cords through it.
  • Furniture can be hazardous to your puppy. Chewing on wood and sticks can cause splinters, and ingesting wood can cause stomach and intestinal issues. Bits of fabric and stuffing from pillows is also included on the list of hazardous materials. Deter your pet with a chew toy if you see them eyeballing the sofa. Other suggestions include deterrent sprays, plenty of exercise, and investigating potential separation anxiety.
  • Small objects littered around the home pose a serious choking hazard for your dog and could cause detrimental intestinal blockages. Twist ties, coins, buttons, keys, jewelry, safety pins, and other common household items are just a few of the many dangers to be on the lookout for. If you have children, be sure their toys are always out of your pup’s reach.
  • Indoor plants pose a toxicity risk and should be checked against the extensive list of poisonous plants found here. Even if your plants are given the green light, you should still place them on a higher level, or keep a barrier between your pup and the plants, until your doggie grows out of his curious teething phase.
  • Your puppy is head-over-paws for you! It’s completely natural for your little guy to gravitate to anything that has your scent, especially when you’re away. Although catching your pup chewing your favourite pair of Jimmy Choos is actually a compliment, it’s best to put all of your clothes, undergarments, and shoes out of reach.
  • Make sure your puppy never has access to fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters. Use barriers or baby gates to section off the area.
  • Until your pup has learned household boundaries and how to use the stairs properly, it’s recommended that you place a baby gate at either the top or bottom of the stairs, depending on where your cutie is hanging out.
  • Other animals residing in your home, like your cat, should have their own space to retreat to in order to get reprieve from a hyper puppy. Interaction should be supervised, and litter boxes should be sequestered, as your pup may find the feces too tempting to pass up. Litter and cat waste are both hazardous to your dog’s health.

Outdoor Puppy Hazards to Keep in Mind

Quite possibly your puppy’s favourite area of his new home, any outdoor areas (and garden!) should be puppy-proofed, as well. During potty training, you’ll be spending a large chunk of time out here, so it’s important to look for potential dangers before venturing outside with your innocent pup.

  • This may seem obvious but it bears repeating: Never leave your puppy unsupervised outdoors.
  • Gasoline, paint, oil, fertilizer, antifreeze, poisons, and other life-threatening chemicals and solutions that can be found in a common garden shed or garage should be secured, placed up high, and kept entirely out of your puppy’s reach. If there are any spills, be sure to clean them immediately.
  • Water sources, such as a pool, hot tub, pond, or nearby lake, should all be approached with caution. Cover these hazards or create a barrier with fencing, if possible.
  • Again, there are many species of plants that are hazardous to your pet. Check what you have against this list, and remove, section off, or avoid the offenders. Either way, try not let your puppy chew on random plants, trees, and shrubs.
  • Pick up your pup’s feces after elimination and dispose of it immediately. This will prevent the spread of disease and ingestion by a curious pup. Don’t allow your dog to use the bathroom where your children play, either.
  • Secure your outdoor garbage can. Do not leave full garbage bags outside of the garbage can or within your pup’s reach. The food odors may be too much for her to resist.
  • Provide your pup with unlimited water when playing outdoors.
  • Check regularly for bee and wasp nests, both on the home and underground, in addition to ant beds, fleas, and other pests that could pose a risk to your growing puppy.

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