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Puppy proofing your home: Get ready for your new puppy so you can keep them safe!

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

By Dr. Mikel Delgado, PhD When you bring your new puppy home, you will want to make sure that you do everything you can to prevent them from getting into trouble or even worse, injured. Much like baby-proofing, puppy-proofing will require you to take a long hard look at every room of your home (and your backyard), including getting down on your hands and knees to see the puppy's view of everything. We’re going to address the most common household puppy pitfalls so that you can be sure your puppy is safe. Indoor hazards

  • Keep your toilet lids down when the toilet is not in use and get secure covers for all trash cans

  • If your puppy might be the counter-surfing type, it may be worthwhile to invest in oven knob and burner covers

  • Hang any plants out of your puppy’s reach. Even if your plants are out of reach, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so double check that the plants you have are safe to be in the home with dogs. The ASPCA has a list of toxic and non-toxic plants you can reference

  • Secure cabinets with childproof locks - and make sure that the following are locked away securely: cleaning supplies and other household chemicals, medications, vitamins/supplements, personal care products, essential oils, and sharp objects. While you’re at it, make sure all human food and puppy food/treats are secure!

  • Use outlet covers and cord wraps to prevent your dog from licking outlets or chewing on cables, which can lead to burns, electrocution, and fires

  • Be aware of foods that are hazardous to dogs. This list includes (but is not limited to): alcohol, fruit pits, avocado, candy/chocolate, coffee/tea, garlic, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts, gum, onions and xylitol

  • All recreational, over the counter, and prescription drugs should be kept secured and out of your dog’s reach

  • Keep remote controls in covered baskets/containers to keep your dog from chewing on them. Batteries are not safe for puppies, and if the remote breaks, your pup may swallow bits of plastic

  • Are your windows secure? You’ll want to make sure that window screens are sturdy, and avoid leaving windows open when you aren’t around to supervise

  • Check your home for breakables or objects that your puppy could accidentally knock over. Museum putty is a great way to secure small objects to mantels and shelves

  • Shoes, bags and backpacks should be stowed out of reach. Puppies love to chew on shoes, and bags and backpacks often hold dangerous items such as gum or medication

  • Look for anything that might present a risk (choking or intestinal blockage) if your dog eats them -- small items such as hair ties, ear plugs, socks, strings, toys, rocks, bones and balls. Secure items in containers when not in use

  • If you have cats, keep your pup away from the litter box. The best way to do this is to have a pet/baby gate with a cat door in it, that gives your cat access to a private place to eliminate, and stops your dog from seeking out cat-poop snacks

The great outdoors

  • If your pup will be spending time in your backyard, you’ll want to double check that any fences are secure and won’t allow an escape

  • Pools and spas should be covered or inaccessible (gated) to your dog

  • Make sure common chemicals are locked away. This includes pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, and antifreeze

  • Keep the grass mowed to prevent creating a tick-haven

  • Don’t use cocoa mulch, as some types are toxic for dogs

  • Check for sticks that can lead to splinters or intestinal blockages if ingested

  • Make sure that the plants in your yard are safe for dogs

This list may not be exhaustive, but it will help put you in a safety-first mindset! Although puppy proofing will take some time, it is worth it for peace of mind knowing you are keeping your puppy safe while protecting your stuff.

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