Have you considered how you’re going to ‘puppify’ your home for the whirlwind of fun and chaos that has joined your family? This can never be underestimated!
If you look at your home with a pup’s eye view, there’s plenty to think about to ensure your home is safe, so your puppy can start his life with you in a peaceful and welcoming environment.
One of the best ways of puppy proofing your home is to think like a puppy. It might sound crazy, but a great thing to do is to get down on all fours and imagine you are an inquisitive pup seeing your house for the first time. As your new puppy will be using his mouth to explore his surroundings, you need to figure out what is chewable and within your pup’s reach, where he could potentially escape, and what could be toxic if ingested. We’ve highlighted some of the key elements that you need to consider:
As this is a room your puppy will be spending a lot of time in, potentially alone at night, it will need some serious prep! The prospect of getting his paws on food will be one of the most exciting things about the kitchen for your puppy. If he can sniff and paw his way into a cupboard, drawer, or pantry, then he will. Consider buying childproof locks or latches, which you can pick up fairly cheaply in multipacks from your local hardware store or online from retailers like Amazon.
Curious pups can become obsessed with opening the bin, and can even learn to ‘bop’ the lid with their nose to open it, or discover that standing on the pedal flips the lid open, giving them access to a feast of leftovers.
Think about choosing a bin with a slide-lock lid, or having a smaller bin which you can empty more regularly.
Other considerations in this room include keeping appliance cables tucked away and making sure your pup can’t access harmful cleaning chemicals.
Some owners choose to deny their pup access to the upstairs, or at least the bedrooms, potentially until he has been house-trained. However, if you are planning on letting him have the run of the house, then there are a few things to consider. Always make sure that items of clothing, especially smaller ones like socks, are picked up off the floor, as these can easily be ingested and cause a blockage in the stomach.
As dogs and puppies love things that smell like you, shoes, slippers, and pieces of clothing will be very tempting to chew on unless you keep them out of his reach.
Make sure that jewellery, hair bobbles, cufflinks, and other small items, are also stored in hard-to-reach places, as these pose a choking hazard. If you haven’t checked under your bed in years, now is the time to make sure there’s nothing lurking underneath, which a puppy could sniff out. Electrical items, such as phone chargers and hairdryers, should also be stored away when not in use.
A baby gate in the doorway of any room/area of the house that you don’t want your pup to gain access to is a good idea. Limiting your pup’s access to stairs is also wise as these could be a potential danger for his tiny, growing legs.
In the digital age in which we live, there’s rarely a room in any house without electrical products and loose wires that your puppy could potentially get hold of, and perhaps no more so than in the lounge. Therefore, it’s important for you to prevent your puppy from playing with and chewing wires by using cable ties and covers. In the winter, fi re guards should always be used to prevent your pup from sitting too close to the flames and getting burned. Some household plants and flowers can also be toxic to animals, such as daffodils and lilies so ideally these need to be removed from your home — just in case!
Keep all cleaning and beauty products and medicines locked securely away in a cabinet, as most human medication — even in small quantities — can prove fatal if ingested. Razors and cotton pads, which could potentially be chewed if left lying around, are also very dangerous and you need to make sure that these are in no way a hazard to your puppy. It’s a good idea to keep your toilet lid shut when not in use and the bathroom door closed if possible.
If you live in a flat, or have the luxury of a balcony at your house, then you must decide whether you would like this outdoor space to be a puppy ‘go-zone’ or not. This will depend on the height of the railings/ fencing, whether your puppy will be able to get through bars in railings, how big it is, and whether this is the only outdoor space your dog will have access to at home.
Agree some house rules with other members of the family before your puppy arrives, such as making sure the toilet lid is down, the washing machine door is shut, and toys are not left on the floor when your puppy is about.
Make it secure — never underestimate how small a hole your puppy will be able to squeeze through. A particularly fluffy puppy will have a body size that is much smaller than you think, so make sure you check that all fencing and gates are secure and there is no way your puppy can escape. Your fence should be high enough that he cannot jump over it, and, if you don’t think it is, you could add some trellis to the top.
Create shade — if your puppy is coming home during the warmer months, it may be worth making sure that he has a place out of the sun’s rays where he can retreat to on a hot day. You could either buy an outdoor kennel or create a den yourself by clearing a quiet spot under a tree in the garden and placing a waterproof blanket or mattress there.
Prevent digging — if you have a vegetable patch, or you’re particularly proud of the way your garden looks, then raised beds make plants less accessible to digging paws.
Check plants — if you already have a well-established garden, make sure that the plants and flowers you have are safe for dogs. A simple Google search of the plants in your garden will tell you if they are safe or not.
Clean and tidy — ensure your garden is free from rubbish, rubble, and is as tidy as possible. Mowing the lawn regularly will help minimise the flea and tick population too.
Tools down — any gardening tools, like lawnmowers and pitch forks, should be kept in a secure place, such as a shed or a garage.