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Dogs and puppies are often referred to as our “fur babies,” so it would only seem right that we parent them with the same attention to safety that we would a human child.
A big part of keeping your new pet safe is preparing your home for their arrival. These DIY puppy proofing tips will help you make your home a safe space for your furry family member.
Pet proofing your house isn't just something you have to do when bringing home a new dog or puppy.
It's about creating a safe routine that will get your new adventure off to a great start. Keeping your dog safe can add years to his life, providing you with peace of mind.
I know you wouldn't put your dog in danger deliberately. Just the fact that you're reading this article proves that you want to keep your pet safe.
Some things are apparent when it comes to preparing your home for your dog. Other DIY puppy proofing tips may be more subtle, but they could save your dog's life.
Always be prepared for accidents and injuries as much as possible.
Keep emergency phone numbers like your veterinarian and pet poison control by the phone, and keep essential first-aid items and medical records handy.
You can check out our guide on creating a first aid kit for dogs for more tips.
DIY Puppy Proofing: 7 Quick Tips
Learning how to puppy-proof your home starts before you even begin looking for your new pet.
You need to think about your living space – both inside and out. Do you have plenty of room for a large breed dog, or is your home better suited for a small breed?
You'll need to do a lot more puppy proofing for a larger dog. If you choose to adopt a small breed, you can place things on bookshelves, coffee tables, and other places too high for your small pup to reach.
Large breed puppies grow quickly. You may be able to get away with this for the first couple of weeks, but as your dog gets bigger, you're going to need to do a lot more puppy proofing.
You'll need to keep things out of reach, which will likely mean moving them to a cupboard or closet.
It's also much more difficult to contain a large breed puppy. Small breeds will have difficulty escaping a pet gate or closed room, but a large breed could jump over a gate or figure out how to turn a doorknob.
Larger dogs need more space to run and play. Is your home big enough for a large breed puppy with seemingly endless energy?
Is your yard big enough to play a game of fetch? Choosing a dog breed that fits your lifestyle and environment is key to keeping them safe, happy, and healthy.
1. Create a “puppy space”
Your puppy will need a safe area to play when you're not able to keep a close eye on him.
You could invest in a puppy playpen or create a safe for him to wander freely in your home.
If you're opting not to buy a play yard or playpen, then you need to close off a small area in your home for your dog to wander.
I recommend keeping your puppy in a room without carpeting, as it will make cleaning up any accidents he has much easier.
You can either purchase a pet gate to secure your dog in one room or puppy-proof a few spaces and close the doors of any rooms that your dog is not allowed to enter.
You'll need to be 100% sure that all the other doors are closed when you cannot supervise your pup.
There are countless hazards in bathrooms and kitchens, so I would recommend not allowing your new pet access to these areas unless you're there to supervise him.
2. Secure all electrical cords
Puppies like to chew. Sometimes, even adult dogs will act out and chew, especially in a new home.
Your new pet will not know that electrical wires are dangerous, so you must secure them in a way your dog cannot access them.
Most hardware stores sell wire protectors. You can get them to fit virtually every decor.
They are great for media areas where you don't want to have to unplug and pick up the wires every time you leave the house. Wire protectors are available for walls and floors.
If you have electrical cords that don't need to be plugged in all the time, unplug them and secure them in a location high enough that your pet can't reach them.
If when unplugged, cords are enticing for pups to chew. The last thing you want is a chewed cord that is no longer useable.
If you have small children, you may already have locks on your cabinets and cupboards.
If not, you'll need to install child safety locks around your home. Curious dogs and puppies will use their noses to pry open cupboard doors.
Cabinets are full of exciting things for your dog to chew. They also may have dangerous food, chemicals, or medications inside.
Even if you don't think there is anything in your cabinets that your pet may get into, it's best to keep them locked anyway. As they say, it's better to be safe than sorry.
4. Keep garbage locked or out of reach
When you're shopping for cabinet locks, be sure to pick up a lock for your garbage can too.
If not, you'll need to keep it in a locked cupboard or high on a counter where your pup can't reach it.
5. Make it clean
The hardest part of DIY puppy proofing is removing all the potential dangers.
It would help if you were sure that anything that could be harmful to your puppy was out of his reach. Think of it as baby-proofing a house in preparation for a toddler's visit.
Some of the most common things to consider include:
- Remove or secure blinds or drapes and the adjustment cords
- Block off all heat sources
- Remove all small objects that could be choking hazards
- Remove all loose belongings that your puppy may chew including shoes, throw pillows and clothing
6. Keep house plants out of reach
Remove all houseplants from your dog's reach. Many common houseplants are toxic to dogs, including lilies, jade, aloe vera, ivy, and sago palms.
A curious dog may climb or reach to get their paws on a plant. Make sure any hanging plants are up high enough that your pooch can't reach them.
The best DIY puppy proofing tip that I can share is to make sure that you are supervising your new dog at all times when he's loose in your home or yard.
If you aren't available to provide direct supervision, crate trains your pup or keep him in a “puppy safe space,” as mentioned above.
You'll have to supervise your pup until you are sure that you can trust him completely when left alone.
Start by leaving him alone for short periods when you believe he's ready.
Gradually increase the amount of time you leave him, and if he doesn't behave while you're gone, you'll need to keep him contained in a safe place for a bit longer.