Puppy biting bone on a blanket on the floor

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Experienced pet owners know the importance of puppy-proofing your house, and new pet parents will soon find out. Welcoming a new puppy into your home is exciting and filled with joy. These bundles of energy bring warmth, laughter, and love into any home. However, just as you would babyproof a home to protect curious toddlers, it’s essential to puppy-proof your living space.

Ensuring your house is safe and puppy-friendly prevents potential accidents and injuries by ensuring a smooth transition as your new canine companion begins its journey in its new forever home. Keep reading to learn more about how to puppy-proof your house. 

Why Is Puppy-Proofing Important?

Puppies are curious creatures that often explore by mouthing and chewing objects, making many of your belongings potentially dangerous to them. Puppy-proofing is a proactive first step you should take before bringing any puppy home. Common household items, such as electrical cords, small objects, and some plants, can be potentially hazardous when chewed or swallowed. Additionally, some items can lead to choking, blockages, or worse. 

Just as toddlers might wobble and stumble as they learn to walk, puppies lack awareness of the space around them. High spots, like furniture or stairs, can be a potential danger as excited pups might easily misstep, leading to injuries. 

Knowing how to make your house puppy-proof anticipates and mitigates these risks to create an environment where your pup can play, grow, and explore without putting themselves at risk. By investing time in preparing your home, you can ensure many safe and joyful years together. 

Identifying Potential Hazards

The first step in learning how to puppy-proof your home is to identify potential hazards. If you’re an experienced pet parent, you may already know many of those hazards. Although, it doesn’t hurt to create a list to ensure you’ve covered everything. Some common potential hazards for puppies include: 

Toxic Substances

Household plants for dogs that are safe vs. toxic

Believe it or not, there are many toxic substances for pets in the average household, ranging from plants to medication. Familiarizing yourself with plants that are poisonous to dogs and common herbs, you might grow in your kitchen or outside can help you ensure they’re out of reach. 

In addition, you should review cleaning products you keep out in the open. In general, it’s best to keep cleaning products like laundry detergent, bleach, window cleaner, drain cleaners, disinfectants, and so forth out of your dog’s reach by securing them in a closet. 

Unfortunately, some of the items safe for you are toxic to your pets, such as food. Dogs need to eat a complete and balanced diet made especially for them. They can’t eat many human foods, including chives, onions, garlic, grapes, chocolate, alcohol, or anything that may contain xylitol. 

Your medications can also be harmful to dogs. Keep everything from OTC pain meds to prescriptions out of your dog’s reach, and ensure they’re closed at all times. If you’re hosting house guests, make sure to instruct them to keep their door closed and warn them about what they should keep out of reach from the puppy.

If you believe your dog has accidentally ingested a toxic substance, don’t wait to get help. Take them to the nearest emergency vet clinic as soon as possible. Or, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435. 

Small Objects And Choking Hazards

Be vigilant about the items you let your puppy play with. Not all dog toys, chews, and bones are created equal. Keep toys, bones, sticks, balls, and other items away from your puppy when you’re not there to monitor them. 

You should also be careful of bobby pins, hair ties, and toys for kids that can cause choking or suffocation. As a golden rule, keep small objects that could be swallowed away from any puppies. 

Electrical Cords And Wires

Since puppies are prone to chew on anything and everything, you should keep them away from electrical cords and wires. To do this, include protective wraps in your puppy supplies checklist or place the cords out of reach to prevent potential electrocution or damage. 

Furniture And Appliances

Puppies will be curious when you bring them home, so make sure to secure heavy furniture and appliances to prevent them from falling. Before they’re trained, your puppy may try to jump on things that could lead to injuries. You can prevent a serious accident by ensuring items like bookshelves and televisions are properly secured and stable. 

Stairs And Balconies

Ensure your puppy can’t access balconies or potentially dangerous areas like stairs when unsupervised. You can use baby gates or create your own barriers to prevent potential falls.

Puppy-Proofing Each Room

Puppy-proofing checklist by room

When becoming a pet parent to a new puppy, you should consider the safety of your entire home, not just a single room where your puppy will spend most of their time. Knowing how to puppy-proof your house room by room will ensure your puppy can explore more freely while providing you with peace of mind. 

Living Room

The living room is where many families spend their time together, so expect your puppy to explore this room thoroughly. Unfortunately, this room contains potential hazards like cords, furniture, and small personal items. For cords, use protective wraps or cord organizers to prevent your dog from chewing on them.

Furniture may also have to be protected against your puppy since they’re prone to chew on fabric and furniture. You can use protective covers or bitter sprays to discourage inappropriate chewing. Additionally, you should ensure bookshelves and heavier items are stable and won’t topple over. 

For small objects, ensure everyone in your household understands that everything from chapstick to toys is a potential choking hazard to curious little puppies. Keep the area clean and scan for small items and potential choking hazards before allowing your puppy to enter the room. 

Kitchen

The kitchen is also host to dangerous items, especially dangerous cleaners, and foods. Store food items, especially those harmful to dogs like chocolate or grapes, in cabinets and out of your puppy’s reach. You should never leave food unattended, especially on countertops or tables. 

Similarly, you should choose trash bins with secure lids or store them behind cabinet doors to prevent your puppy from getting in the trash and potentially ingesting something dangerous. 

Bedroom

If you plan on allowing your puppy in the bedroom before they’re fully trained, consider all the potential hazards they might find, including cords, clothing, and personal items. Just like in the living room, you should ensure cords from chargers, lamps, televisions, and anything else you keep in your bedroom are organized and inaccessible to your pup. 

Store shoes, socks, and other clothing items in closets and drawers because puppies may be prone to chew on them. At the same time, personal items like jewelry, glasses, books, makeup, and other small items should be stored out of reach. 

Bathroom

The bathroom is where many of us store our household cleaners and other small items like makeup, soaps, and so forth. Unfortunately, all of these items are something puppies might be curious about. Store all cleaning items in a locked cabinet or high in a closet. 

In addition, you should keep your toilet lid down at all times to prevent them from drinking out of the bowl, where dangerous cleaning agents might still be lingering or falling in. 

Small items like razors, floss, makeup, hair ties, jewelry, and anything else you store in your bathroom can pose choking risks and should be stored securely and out of your puppy’s reach. 

Outdoors

Every puppy needs a safe outdoor space where they can play and learn. Unfortunately, not everyone has a fenced-in yard. If you don’t have a fenced yard, you can create a safe outdoor space for your pup by fencing off a small portion of the yard and ensuring there are no potentially dangerous plants or animal fecal matter in it. 

If you don’t have a private yard, you can still find an area that’s safe for your puppy, but you may have to be more attentive. If you live in an apartment, keep an eye out for other dogs’ feces, and always keep your curious puppy away from it. In addition, you should keep them on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times, especially when they’re still young. Puppy vaccines occur at different times, so keeping your puppy away from any unknown dogs can protect them from potential diseases they haven’t been vaccinated against yet. 

While puppy-proofing your home is an important step, it’s equally important to implement safe and supervised playtime and enrichment activities. Pet parents should be supervising their pup at all times and ensure they have a secure area, like a pen or gated space to be when you’re not watching them. Enrichment through various activities like obedience training and playtime with items, such as chew toys and food puzzles, can help keep your dog happy and out of trouble. 

Puppy Safety Tips

Introducing a puppy into your household comes with a lot of responsibility. Puppies are full of energy and curious about their surroundings, so having a safe place for them to play and explore is crucial while laying down the foundation with a basic puppy training schedule that can set them up for a happy, healthy life. 

Safe Play And Supervision

When puppies are young, they should have a safe space to play under your supervision. Even as your dog gets older they’ll need less supervision to play with some items, such as bones or toys, which could break and become choking hazards. However, once they're trained, they may be able to roam the home more freely. 

With a puppy, you can set up designated play areas in and outside your home where they can play safely while you prevent potential damage to your home. You can use indoor dog pens to section off a designated area just for them.1

Training 

Training is essential for all puppies because it serves as the foundation for good behavior. Teaching your puppy basic commands like sit, stay, and leave fosters obedience while preventing them from engaging in dangerous activities. For instance, if your puppy happens to pick something up while on a walk, you can ask them to leave it to prevent them from resource-guarding or potentially swallowing it. You can invest in an in-person group training session or online dog training to teach yourself the basics of dog training. 

Crate training can also be beneficial for puppies and pet parents by serving as a safe space for your pet where they can relax. Crate training can also help keep puppies confined when you can't supervise them while facilitating housetraining

Slow Introduction To New Spaces

Gradually introducing your puppy to different rooms in your home can prevent them from getting overwhelmed while giving you the opportunity to ensure each space is safe before they’re free to explore. 

By allowing them this slower introduction to the home, you can allow them to associate each room with positive experiences, making them feel more comfortable in their new home. 

Puppy in a wicker basket in living room

Final Notes 

Bringing home a new puppy is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. However, while your new puppy is adorable, they’re also highly curious, which can lead to dangerous situations. Knowing how to puppy-proof your house protects your personal items from teething puppies while creating a safe environment where your new dog can explore, play, and learn. 

Ensuring their safety through puppy-proofing sets the foundation for a long-lasting bond between puppy and pet parent. However, besides keeping your dog safe at home, you’ll also need to keep them healthy. 

Talk to a Dutch vet today to learn more about puppy behavior and diet, or receive guidance on day-to-day care. Try our puppy weight calculator to find out how big your puppy will be. Then, schedule your first appointment to learn more about their health and wellness. Our vets are just a click away. Try Dutch today.
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References

  1. Lotz, Kristina. “How to Create a Stimulating Indoor Dog Playroom for Your Pet.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 1 Apr. 2020, www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/creating-an-indoor-dog-playroom/

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $7/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.