Getting a puppy is an exciting time, from deciding names, to choosing collars and buying toys. However one important aspect is getting your home all ready for the big day. Puppies are small mischievous little creatures who often seem hell-bent on chewing and playing with most things they shouldn’t. So it’s important that each area of your home is thought about and organized before bringing your little furball home. 

If an area cannot be made secure then cutting off complete access is best! Stair gates are handy as well as deciding beforehand which rooms the puppy can freely explore and play in. Setting limits to where they can explore means you can always ensure those areas are safe and make monitoring of them easier.

While your home may be childproof, that certainly doesn’t mean it is puppy proof. Puppies are a lot smaller and much more inquisitive at that age. Consider each area individually and go through each room carefully looking at everything from a puppy height. You might not be able to see the wires under your chair but a puppy certainly can!

Puppy proofing your home

Below are just a handful of the considerations when puppy proofing a home. If in doubt, keep it out of reach.

Consider what you have in your home that might be toxic to the puppy. 

House plants should be checked and if unsure move out of the way anyway. Any dangerous substances such as cleaning products or chemicals should be placed out of the way, ideally in a cupboard. Child locks can be used in this case.

Look for any potential hazards in your house, ensure that all windows and external doors are shut. Make family members and guests aware of the plan to stop any potential escapees and ensure any balconies are as secure as possible or access restricted completely. 

Remember that puppies can be quite small (especially when they first arrive!). 

So ensure any tight spaces are inaccessible. They could potentially squeeze themselves in and be unable to get out or have access to something you don’t want them to; for example, the wires behind the TV cabinet. It is also a good idea to move any chairs near surfaces to stop them from going on climbing adventures where they could possibly fall off and injure themselves.  

Electrical wires can be incredibly tempting for a little pup.

They can chew on them causing physical or electrical injuries, or get themselves all tangled up. Cable ties and wire covers are ideal for ensuring curious mouths can’t get hold of them. Puppies (much like small children) spend a lot of time exploring with their mouth. 

Anything you don’t want chewed should be moved out of their way 

For example, shoes, precious pieces of furniture etc. Anything small that the puppy can swallow should also be moved before their arrival and monitored closely to ensure they don’t get hold of. Children’s toys, plastic bags, elastic bands could all cause issues later on. 

A lot of human food is toxic to animals so should be kept out of reach 

Notable foods such as grapes and raisins, chocolate and coffee etc are all toxic to dogs and should never be fed to them. As the puppy is still developing, a sudden change of diet could cause a stomach upset so it is best to stick to puppy food only.  Bins also should be monitored and made inaccessible. Puppies often want to explore and could end up eating something they shouldn’t. 

Puppy proofing your garden

Before introducing your puppy to the garden ensure it is as safe as possible. All fences and gates should be secure with no gaps they can fit through. Look for soft soil areas as well as the puppy may choose to dig there and could possibly escape.

Any ponds or water features should be covered up as the puppy could fall in and be unable to get out again. Careful monitoring around these areas as best just in case they do manage to slip in. Any dangerous chemicals (paints, insecticides etc) should be locked up as well as any tools that could cause harm, by either being sharp, falling on the puppy or potentially being swallowed. 

If in doubt, be cautious

Especially until you get to understand their personality and what they are interested in and how much mischief they intend to cause! Provide them with a safe space to retreat. A crate is ideal as it means they have a space that is just theirs. It also means you know they are safe while you are out and about. Ensure they have access to a bed, food and water and it is not in a draughty or noisy part of the house.

What if they want to chew everything?

The best way to stop them chewing or destroying items is to provide them with their own toys and entertainment. There are loads on the market; just make sure they are suitable for the puppy’s age and size. These toys will need to be swapped as the puppy grows.

If the puppy does chew something you don’t want them to don’t chastise them. Instead, move them away from the undesirable object and provide them with an object they can chew on. Praise them when they chew or play with the toys they are supposed to and they will soon get the idea. 

Where can I get help?

Find a good local vet for your pup – and talk to them about anything that’s bothering you!

A list of all areas/objects of concern is helpful to ensure everything has been covered especially as the lead up to the big day is often very busy and exciting. Being overcautious at first is best and as your puppy grows gradually they will become less interested in your bin, wires and shoes! Keeping them safe is the main priority, don’t worry puppy parents you’ve got this! 

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