As you prepare to welcome a new puppy to your family, you might think your first priority is purchasing the necessities such as a bed, crate, food, bowls and toys. But, beyond the "stuff," it's important to puppy proof your home before puppy arrives in order to create a safe and secure environment for your newest family member and protect your valuables from getting chewed up or destroyed.
We've created a simple step-by-step comprehensive checklist for securing and/or removing potentially harmful items or substances in and around your property.
Indoor Puppy Hazards
- Secure or Remove Plants
Check this handy guide to make sure none of the plants in your home are toxic to dogs. If it turns out you own any of the toxic plants, be sure to either move the plant to a height where your puppy cannot eat or get into it or remove it altogether. Even if your plants are non-toxic to dogs, it's wise to move them out of reach to avoid puppy digging or pulling them out of its pottery.
Look for loose, low-hanging electronic cords and secure with a cable management sleeve
- Cleaning Supplies
Make sure all kitchen and bathroom cleaning supplies are inaccessible to puppy. You can also invest in baby-safe magnetic locks to ensure your pup won't get into low storage.
- Loose Change
Remember to check under furniture and in between cushions for loose coins and other small items that a puppy could swallow and potentially choke on.
Move all small jewelry like earrings and rings to high-up surfaces or drawers to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
- Water Basins
Full sinks, bathtubs and yes, uncovered toilets present potential drowning dangers to puppy. In the first few months, make sure to drain any full sinks or bathtubs and keep toilet seats down. Puppies can drown in even small amounts of still water.
Keep all medications in medicine cabinets or in an area out of reach of your pup's curious nose.
Make sure your garbage is tucked away under a cabinet secured with baby-safe locks. At the very least, invest in a garbage bin that has a secure, locking lid to keep your puppy out of the trash.
Dangerous and potentially fatal foods for dogs include chocolate, coffee, tea, certain nuts, grapes/raisins, onions and alcohol among others. To be safe, make sure all human food is out of your puppy's reach. Child safety locks can be used to keep your puppy out of low cabinets and drawers. If your puppy somehow ingests a dangerous food or substance, call your vet immediately.
- Hazardous Rooms
Identify whether there are a rooms that are potentially unsafe for your puppy (think basement, office or a playroom full of small toys) and then put up baby gates to make them inaccessible.
Screen off all fireplaces, especially in the colder months when you're likely to have a fire going or have leftover wood from a recent fire.
Since your puppy is likely going to spend a lot of time outside, it's crucial to always supervise and keep a watchful eye while puppy is in your front or back yard and on all of your walks, especially if you live near a wooded area. Animals such as owls, hawks, and coyotes are all potential dangers to puppies and small breeds.
Outdoor Puppy Hazards
- Paint & Other Toxic Products
Don't use fresh paint on accessible areas for puppy. Make sure to also dispose of old paint cans safely or put them safely out of reach, ensuring the lids are on tight. Other examples of toxic products that may be outside include antifreeze and gasoline.
- Extermination Products
Do not spray insecticides or use rat or rodent poison - these contain toxic chemicals for puppy.
- Gardening Products
Keep all fertilizers in secure containers, away from curious noses. And make sure any toxic plants are pulled or quarantined with a tall and sturdy fence. Examples of toxic plants include but are not limited to: potato, morning glory, foxglove, lily of the valley, oak, daffodils and cocoa bean mulch.
Make sure all pool chemicals like chlorine are stored in locked shed or unit, away from puppy.
- Nails, Glass, Sharp Objects
Inspect your front and back yards for any potentially sharp, broken and hazardous objects and have them removed prior to your puppy's homecoming.