How to Puppy Proof Your Home

By Laurie Darroch

Like any baby, puppies are curious about the new world around them. They are very oral and want to test everything out that seems like it might be tasty. Chewing also feels good to a puppy and keeps them entertained. You can prevent some of the negative issues by starting off right and puppy proofing your home.

Puppies are drawn to everything that isn’t nailed down, and even to some things that are immovable, like edges of furniture for example. They learn what is edible (or not) by the process of elimination and by you training them. Not all dogs are as oral or prone to getting into trouble as others, but it is better to avoid the issues by removing or adjusting items that might tempt them. Puppies do outgrow the extreme oral stage eventually.

Besides the possible damage they can cause in your home, a puppy can also get hurt ingesting poisonous or dangerous things. They don’t know what is safe and what isn’t. They can chew everything apart with their razor sharp little teeth. The last thing you want is an emergency vet trip for illness, choking or injury caused by something that could have been prevented.

Look around each room to determine what needs to be moved, removed or protected. To really get an idea of what a dog sees, get down on your hands and knees in each room. From a human standing position, you may not see things that are in their visual field. It is sometimes surprising to view the world from the puppy point of view. Remember, they can also easily see under things and behind objects that we can’t. They get under and into everything.

Plants

Remove any plants that are poisonous for a dog. Even if a particular house plant is considered pet safe, a puppy might be tempted to go after it if it’s at floor level, because it moves with drafts, has dirt and looks enticing.

Cords

Some puppies will leave cords alone and others won’t. Try to hide the electronic cords or cover them with cord protectors if your puppy is cord curious. Drape cords can choke a puppy if they get tangled up in them; tie them up if they dangle loose.

Remote Control Units

Remotes are small, portable and easy to grab and chew. Put your remotes away or up high when you aren’t using them.

Breakables

You don’t want your puppy breaking décor, collectibles or any irreplaceable or expensive belongings. Basically, anything you wouldn’t want a child to be able to touch, you don’t want a puppy to get either. With their sharp teeth, puppies can be a lot more destructive than a human toddler.

Shoes, Socks and Clothing

Your clothes and footwear have gnawable textures. These items also smell like a loved human. A puppy can easily destroy a good pair of slippers or shoes and rip apart clothing.

Children’s Toys

Not only do children’s toys look appealingly chewable, they may have interesting smells too. Don’t be surprised if your child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal ends up with missing parts or gets destroyed if you don’t keep it out of puppy reach. Many children’s toys also have small, dangerous and easily ingestible pieces.

Baskets, Wastebaskets, Garbage Cans

These receptacles are often full of items that a puppy might find intriguing. Keep them where the dog can’t get to them or keep them covered. A curious puppy can eat the contents and spread them all over to make a big mess.

Household Cleaners and Personal Care Products

Store your cleaning supplies in secure places a puppy can’t get into. Some of them are toxic and can kill a puppy if ingested. They are definitely capable of chewing through a plastic container to get to the contents inside.

Throw Pillows, Blankets

The stuffing inside cushions and pillows is very appealing to a curious chewer. If you think those nice throw pillows on your couch that you painstakingly cross stitched, or that lovely blanket you bought on a trip to Mexico, or the kitchen chair cushions tied with pretty bows are safe from puppies, think again. A puppy can rip those apart when left alone and unsupervised.

Jewelry and Keys

Find a safe high place to set your keys and any jewelry you take off. They are small items the dog can chew, destroy or hide.

Books and Paper Products

For a puppy, paper is fun to shred; it makes noise and has an interesting chewable texture. A dog doesn’t know the difference between a first edition collector book and a piece of scrap cardboard. Newspapers, books, magazines, mail, and that important work file you set on the coffee table may all appeal to a puppy. If they are extremely oral, they might even be tempted by books on low shelves.

Seasonal Decorations

All the pretty décor you put out for different holidays throughout the year may be more temptation than a curious puppy can resist. They can learn not to touch them, but at the puppy stage it is all new and beckoning. Decorate with that in mind.

Not every puppy will be a voracious chewer, but the possibility is there. Some learn quickly not to chew everything in sight, but others take longer to understand. Puppy proof your home to keep them safe and you from blowing your stack when something gets destroyed.

Put chewable dog toys around the house so your puppy has things they are permitted to gnaw on, to help with that instinct to explore and chew.

Use your common sense and individual needs to decide what you should move or make adjustments to in your home in order to puppy proof your living spaces. Every house is different. Think like a puppy to make your home puppy safe.

Top photo by Jonathan Kriz
Middle photo by BuzzFarmers
Bottom photo by Mackenzie Black

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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