March 23 is National Puppy Day! But when you have a puppy, every day is puppy day, with puppy proofing a requirement. Whether you plan to adopt a puppy, or already live with a cute puppy-kid, it’s important to know the top puppy proofing tips to save dog lives. Loving a puppy goes beyond teaching them where and when to potty. When Shadow-Pup showed up at our house, we revisited all the must-know puppy issues!
If you know someone with a new furry wonder, I hope you’ll consider “gifting” them with all the info they need with a copy of my book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE.
WHAT IS PUPPY PROOFING?
Puppy proofing is the canine version of human baby-proofing when a new bundle of joy arrives. It’s vital you know how to puppy proof your home and yard. Puppies explore their world with nose pokes, paw pounces, and chewing everything within reach throughout their development stages.
For your new puppy, everything is a potential game. He uses his mouth the way infants reach out and grab. So tug-games with the curtains or your underwear, keep-away when he steals your wallet, un-planting the potted palm or eating poisonous plants, and nosey sniffs of the candle flame get him in trouble. Depending on your puppy’s temperament, he could really push your buttons!
During teething, he’ll want to chew even more to relieve the discomfort, but most dogs love to chew their whole life. Puppies not only damage your property, he could hurt himself or die from munching dangerous objects. Like cat toys–that’s why we’ve been careful about puppy introductions to other pets.
Think Like A Puppy for Puppy Proofing
Anything that moves, looks fun or interesting, or dangerous will attract your furry delinquent. Get a puppy-eye-view of your home by crawling around on all fours to channel your “inner puppy” –it’s okay, you don’t have to wag or bark, just find and address the dangers. Remember, some pups aren’t really grown up mature dogs until 18 months, and even adult dogs can get into trouble. It’s especially important to pet proof your home over the holidays. Here are some of the most common trouble spots.
5 POPULAR PUPPY PROOFING TARGETS
- Kitchen and bathroom cabinets often house poisonous cleaning supplies. When cabinets are within puppy reach, be sure the baby can’t paw them open. Child-proof latches are a good idea. Find out why your pup likes to follow you to the bathroom here.
- Toilet paper is a popular puppy toy. Drinking out of the toilet is another nasty habit that could be dangerous if a small pup falls in and drowns or ingests chemical cleaners. The easy fix is—shut the bathroom door, and/or always put the lid down.
- Pups jump up on windowsills to look out. That may tempt them to grab curtains or play tug with the cords on the window blinds. Some pups have strangled in these cords so tie them up out of reach.
- Wastebaskets can be incredibly rewarding for a puppy to pillage. Table scraps to old used tissues can be found, so invest in waste baskets with lids, hide them behind latching doors, or set them on countertops out of reach.
- Dirty laundry must smell like heaven to puppies. Concentrated beloved human scent found on worn socks and underwear or shoes can be very appealing. But a swallowed sock can stop up his innards–learn how, and when, and why you might want to make your puppy vomit. The pillow your head rests on when you sleep also smells like you–what’s up with him sucking on it? So protect the laundry basket, and close the closet door to keep puppy marauders from stealing and chewing shoes, purses or brief cases left on the floor. Puppies may confuse throw pillows with legal chew toys, so make it easy for them to tell the difference and put forbidden objects out of reach.
5 PUPPY DANGER ZONES to PUPPY PROOF!
- If you have cats, be sure the litter box is out of reach. Puppies like to snack on poop, especially kitty potty deposits and aside from the unsanitary issue, this will hiss off the cat and cause potential inter-pet problems. Most cats can leap onto a tabletop to find their litter box, which keeps it out of dog range. Use pet doors and baby gates to give your cat privacy.
- Electrical cords tempt puppies to chew. If shocked, sometimes even rescue breathing and CPR may not save them. Bad tasting products like Bitter Apple may help but don’t rely on these as some funny canines like the taste. It’s better to keep the cords out of reach by installing baby gates to make rooms off-limits, moving electrical items and their cords elsewhere, or bundle the cords together. Home and pet product stores offer products designed to do this.
- Some common houseplants are poisonous if chewed and swallowed. Even if nontoxic, your puppy may have great fun gnawing and dragging pieces around the house, or practicing his excavation technique. Either hang baskets or set houseplants on tables out of reach, or throw away if they’re of the toxic variety.
- Find a safe place out of puppy tooth range to store cell phone, TV remote or other such objects. Swallowed objects can make your puppy sick or even kill him. If you’re paper training the puppy, remember that the newspaper, books, magazines or music left on the floor may invite puppy potty attention you don’t want.
- Puppies also spend time in the yard. Don’t think a fence makes him safe. Puppies can wiggle out of tiny openings or get caught and injured trying to escape. We should put anything that can be turned into a toy out of reach. Shut lawn and garden chemicals in puppy proof rooms or boxes.
More Tips for New Puppies
What have I missed? Are there DANGER ZONES unique to your neck of the woods? I cover a whole lot more in my book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE, and I’d love to hear what else has been a safety issue for your furry wonders!
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!
Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!