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There’s nothing as adorable as watching your new puppy pad around your home and explore the world, but its endless energy and curiosity can come with some risks. Use the guide below to protect your pup from dangers inside and outside your house.
We’ve rounded up tips to help you puppy-proof your home and yard, with recommendations for products to keep your newest addition to the family safe and sound.
10 Tips for Puppy-Proofing Your Home and Yard
Watching your puppy like a hawk isn’t always an option. In our 2021 survey of 1,000 U.S. pet owners, fewer than 16% of pet parents said they were able to actively monitor their puppy for more than seven hours a day.
Here are our top pointers for making your home and yard safe for your dog to roam.
Cover Electrical Cords
If you’ve owned a puppy in the past, you’ve likely noticed that they’re natural-born chewers who may be drawn to electrical cords. Unfortunately, these cords can burn their mouths, shock them, or have other dire consequences.
To ensure your dog doesn’t chew on electrical cords, keep them out of reach and consider purchasing cord protectors. You can also try providing your pup with an alternative chew toy, like the KONG Classic Dog Toy.
Watch Out for Toxic Substances
Plenty of items that are harmless to you can be lethal to puppies. To avoid accidental toxic ingestion, be sure to take the steps below:
- Lock away cleaning supplies: The chemicals in cleaning products and detergents can be hazardous if ingested. Make sure to secure containers and clean up spills carefully. Childproof latches on cabinets should do the trick.
- Hide medications: While it may be a no-brainer, remember to store your medications on a high shelf or in a cabinet where your new pup can’t get to them.
- Consider other household or yard items: If there’s any other substance you wouldn’t want your dog consuming, keep it under lock and key. This could include anything from craft glue and paint to antifreeze, pesticides, and fertilizers.
- Don’t forget poisonous plants: Some houseplants can be deadly if your pet ingests them. To keep your puppy safe from toxic plants, consider filling your home with one of these pet-friendly houseplants.
Secure Your Garbage
While the smell of your trash may be far from appealing to you, it’s a temptation for your puppy. Even if you don’t have any toxic items in the bin, leftover food scraps and other items could leave your puppy with a bellyache if eaten.
Make sure your trash cans are tightly secured to avoid an upset stomach or worse. If your puppy gets into old or greasy leftovers, keep some homeopathic digestive drops on hand to ease their diarrhea, gas, and nausea.
Avoid Table Feeding
As tempting as puppy dog eyes may be, try not to get in the habit of feeding your dog from the table. Like the trash, items such as avocado or garlic, are harmful if your pet ingests them. At the very least, human food isn’t always the healthiest option for your pet. This is especially true for puppies.
To get your pup all the essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals, consider a premium, highly rated pet food brand such as Orijen or ZIWI. You can ensure your pet gets the nutrients it needs—and the flavor it craves—without risking an upset stomach from rich table foods.
Put Away Choking Hazards and Sharp Objects
Puppies are drawn to chewing on more than food and electrical cords. Unfortunately, they’re also fans of small items that can lead to choking. As you work on making your house or apartment pet-friendly, look for batteries, coins, earrings, rubber bands, and other tiny objects that could be swallowed easily.
Also, make sure no sharp objects—knives, razors, or scissors—are within your dog’s reach to avoid an accidental injury. Be mindful of sharp edges and choking hazards when buying toys for your pet. Make sure to buy your pup a positively reviewed toy that’s been tested for chemical hazards and is chew-friendly without the risk of choking, like this set of Chuckit! tennis balls.
Keep the Toilet Lid Closed
While cats like drinking from the kitchen faucet, dogs tend to drink from the toilet. According to the ASPCA, toilets are dangerous drinking sources for puppies due to the bacteria swimming in them and the chemicals found in cleaners.
Drinking from the toilet also increases your puppy’s risk of injury, as they could fall into the toilet, injure a paw, or choke. In addition to sealing the lid and shutting your bathroom door, you can curb your puppy’s desire to drink from the toilet by making its own water source more appealing. Opt for an ergonomic water bowl designed to keep your pet comfortable as it drinks.
Shield Your Pup from Falls
Another area of your home that presents a dangerous risk of falling is your furniture. A jump or a fall from an elevated spot such as a couch or bed could leave your dog with broken bones. In addition to watching your puppy closely if they’re on the sofa with you, you can combat their desire to sit in these spots by giving them a safer alternative.
You can buy a highly reviewed quilted orthopedic bed for the living room or bedroom for maximum comfort. If you want to give your pup a place to retreat, consider purchasing a bright igloo hideout for a pop of color or a fashionable hand-woven hut for a more natural look.
Create a Puppy Zone
Whether you’re mopping and vacuuming the kitchen or pruning your rose bushes, knowing your pup is safe and sound even when you’re not looking can be comforting.
You can do this by creating a space for them. According to our pet insurance survey, 94% of respondents who set up a puppy pen or crate found these items to be helpful at reducing accidents and managing their pups. Here are some of the items we recommend:
- Dog pen: Ideal for outdoor adventures, a puppy playpen can give your dog space to roam and relax, with ample room for a doggy bed, toys, food, and water.
- Dog crate: Helpful at home and on the go, a puppy crate can be useful for potty training, travel, bedtime, and containing your pup when needed. You can purchase a large, highly reviewed crate to ensure your pup’s den is as comfortable and spacious as possible.
- Pet gate: Whether you’re avoiding potty training mishaps on the carpet or protecting your puppy from the stairs, a puppy gate or baby gate is an effective way to keep your dog out of certain areas while giving them space to explore.
Fence in Your Yard
One of the best ways to puppy-proof your yard is to fence it in. With their untethered energy, puppies love to push the limits and explore new places. But if your pup roams too far from home, it could get lost, stolen, or hit by a car.
Fencing in your yard ensures your puppy can play outside and get the exercise it needs without you constantly worrying about what could go wrong or having to use a leash. You can get creative with fencing, building a beautiful natural fence that provides extra privacy for your family and protection for your puppy.
Provide Cool Water and Shade
If you’re spending a day getting some sun on the deck or teaching your pup to play fetch, it’s essential to make sure that it doesn’t get overheated. Beyond monitoring your pup for signs of heatstroke and limiting its exercise on hot, sunny days, it’s crucial to provide access to shade and cool water. To reduce the time you have to spend refilling their bowl, consider purchasing an automatic waterer made with PET-safe plastic.
Before you bring your puppy home, you can—and should—take steps to make it a safe and happy place. With a bit of attention to detail and the puppy-proofing tips above, you can rest assured your new pet is protected, whether your eyes are on them or not.