Bringing a new puppy home is one of the most exciting experiences for any dog parent. But it’s essential to puppy-proof your home, so your pet stays safe and you can enjoy those wonderful first few days.
Puppies have lots of energy but little common sense. If they can chew something, they probably will – even if it’s an electric power cord or box of medication. A puppy’s developing bones are also more fragile than most people think.
It’s your responsibility to prepare a safe home for your new pet. Here are seven potential dangers to address when puppy proofing.
1. Secure Medication in a High Cupboard
Medication is a common cause of canine poisoning. Dogs don’t understand those little white pills in a chewable box are dangerous, and many will eat the whole pack before you have a chance to intervene.
For this reason, place medication in a high cupboard or drawer. I recommend installing a child lock for extra security, as larger breeds may still be able to reach and open high cupboards.
You should also put your dog in a different room when dispensing pills. A puppy is likely to eat a dropped pill before you have a chance to react.
2. Remove Poisonous Plants
There are a surprising number of houseplants that are poisonous to dogs. The consequences of eating a leaf or flower varies from a stomach upset to seizures and death, so toxic plants shouldn’t be ignored.
Common houseplants that are toxic to dogs include:
- Sago Palm
- Calla Lily
Check each houseplant in your home to see whether it’s safe for your new puppy and remove any that could be dangerous. Putting the plant out of reach may not be enough, as leaves or petals could still fall on the floor.
3. Protect Your Trash
Trash cans are filled with interesting smells to tempt a puppy. Unfortunately, they also contain poisonous food, sharp objects and other items that could be dangerous for your pet – not to mention you probably want trash to remain in the bin!
Make sure all trash cans have a lid that isn’t easy for a puppy to open. For larger puppies, you may want to put the bin out of sight to remove the temptation entirely.
4. Fix Any Gaps in Fencing
A puppy’s inquisitive nature doesn’t just apply inside your home. Many young dogs won’t hesitate to cross the boundaries of your property if they find a gap in a fence or hedge.
This puts the dog at risk of getting lost, as puppies often don’t have the sense of direction required to find their way home. The dog may also be hit by a car, attacked by another dog or even stolen.
To prevent this, spend time checking every corner of your garden. Are there any weak spots in the fence? Could the gate blow open in bad weather? Or is there a hedge your pet could push through? If you find a problem, this guide has some useful tips for dog-proofing a fence.
On a side note, you may want to create a separate fenced area for your new pet to go to the toilet. This is especially important if you have children who play in the garden.
5. Beware of Batteries
The acid inside batteries can be highly toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, they are often the perfect size to either swallow or chew.
Just because batteries are inside a remote control or toy doesn’t mean they are safe. A puppy could chew the object and get to the batteries, so make sure all of these devices are kept out of reach.
Be especially careful if you have a children’s birthday or Christmas coming up. It can be easy to lose track of batteries in the excitement of opening new toys.
Note: All batteries are dangerous, but disc batteries are particularly toxic. If swallowed, the acid is released, causing serious burns throughout your dog’s digestive system.
6. Keep the Bathroom Clear
Toiletries, cleaning products, razors, and pills make the bathroom a dangerous place for a young dog. Make sure any dangerous items are safely put away in cupboards and get into a habit of checking for loose items whenever you leave the bathroom.
You should also be wary of leaving the toilet seat up. Small puppies could drown in the toilet bowl, as the slippery surfaces don’t provide grip. Toilet cleaner can also be toxic if a dog tries to drink the water.
7. Make Sure Jewellery is Out of Sight
Puppies quickly bond with their new parents. Even if you’re not around, they take comfort in anything that smells like you.
This means the bedroom is often a dog’s favourite room. Aside from having a soft bed to sleep on, all the bedding, clothes, slippers and other items have your comforting scent.
For this reason, make sure any small objects – especially jewellery – is kept in a safe place. If ingested, earrings or other small items can cause internal wounds that require immediate medical attention.
Puppy-proofing can be time-consuming, but it’s vital for keeping your new pet safe. There are many everyday items that could be dangerous, including medication, toiletries, jewellery and even houseplants, so be careful to remove or lock up anything that could harm your dog.