two naughty puppies looking sorry for themselves

Follow This Simple Checklist to Puppy-Proof Your House


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Getting a puppy is exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Sure, puppies are cute, but they're also a lot of work--and that work begins before you even bring your new pet home. Prospective puppy owners need to pick up all the supplies on their new puppy checklist, become familiar with the recommended puppy vaccine schedule, and maybe even figure out how to introduce a puppy to their current dog. And your job doesn't end there! Puppies are curious creatures that explore with their mouths. Whether they're finding teething relief on your coffee table legs or tearing up a tasty-looking pillow, your puppy will be all over it if it's within reach. Learning how to puppy-proof your house will save you a lot of frustration and keep your dog safe.

Your four-legged fur child is going to push the boundaries with everything. If you're lucky enough to be welcoming one of the smartest dog breeds into your home, you should expect to do even more puppy-proofing. (Though even the most affectionate dog breeds are known to get into trouble, too!) We recently got an adorable German shepherd puppy and he's one smart cookie. Ever since he learned how to flip over his water bowl, we started feeding him his meals outside. In just under two days, he learned to open the door and let himself back in the house. Now, he's busy trying to figure out how to let himself back out. The point is, you're going to become well acquainted with child-safe latches, dog gates, and locked doors to keep your curious puppy out of trouble.

Hey, it's all worth it in the end, right? (RIGHT?!) Here are the best tips for puppy-proofing your house.

puppy plays with slipper at home

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1. Keep the Floor Clean

Things you might not even realize are down there--like paperclips, rubber bands, pieces of cardboard, hair ties, and food crumbs--can be major hazards. Puppies will scoop up just about anything to see how it tastes, and this urge to put things in their mouths only increases when they begin teething. All these tiny household objects can become lodged in your dog's throat, making them a choking hazard and possibly facilitating an expensive trip to the vet if a blockage occurs. When it comes to puppy-proofing your house, keeping the floor clean is an ongoing step. This extends to invisible, hazards too. Be sure to take your shoes off at the door to avoid inadvertently bringing parvo into your home.

2. Bundle Up Cords

Did we mention that puppies chew on everything? Electrical cords from lamps, computer chargers, and appliances will look very interesting to a new pup. And don't even get us started on the cords from your blinds! They all dangle and move, enticing your pup to take a bite or start a game of tug--but playing with dangerous cords can lead to choking, electrocution, or strangulation. Cover and contain all cords to keep your puppy safe.

3. Give Your Puppy Space

Crate training will begin as soon as your puppy comes home, so be sure to set up their space ahead of time. Dogs are den creatures and need somewhere to retreat to that's away from all the noise. A crate is also the easiest way to keep your puppy contained when it's not safe for them to be roaming, you're not home, or they need a time-out. Set up a space in your home that's specifically for your pup where they'll feel calm and relaxed.

4. Scan for Poisonous Plants

Many outdoor and indoor plants can be poisonous to pets. Some toxic houseplants include azaleas, umbrella plants, lilies, tulips, and more. Store these plants out of reach or in rooms your puppy won't have access to. When you're outside, keep a watchful eye on your pup to ensure they aren't snacking on toxic plants like rhododendrons. (This is where a long leash and the "leave it" command come in handy!) And remember: Even pet-friendly plants can cause tummy problems if ingested in large amounts.

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5. Lock Up Chemicals

Cleaning products, rodent poisons, and medications might seem safe behind closed cabinet doors, but some pups are relentless. Dogs watch everything you do, so it won't take long for them figure out how you open the cabinet. Keep your dangerous chemicals on a high shelf, inside a locked cabinet, or stored in the garage.

6. Create Boundaries

Dog gates are the best invention. They keep pets out of areas that are unsafe, so you don't have to puppy-proof every room of the house. Opt for a taller gate if you're getting a larger breed or suspect your puppy might be able to jump over it.

7. Keep Trash Out of Reach

To a puppy, trash is another irresistible treasure--but it's a dangerous one. Keep your trash cans covered and the be sure the lid is secure. Dangerous foods can be hiding in your trash can that pups cannot ingest, like chocolate or onions. The trash bag can also become stuck over your dog's head, leading to suffocation. If you want to be extra cautious, store the trash can in a cabinet or a room the puppy can't access.

8. Hide Fragile Objects

The family heirloom on your coffee table won't stand a chance against a puppy who has the zoomies. Relocate all fragile items that could be knocked over by a rambunctious pup, like glass, ceramics, candles, lamps, and more.

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9. Put Away Human Food

Dogs should eat dog food crafted for their needs, and human food can be dangerous. Keep toxic fruit, like grapes, and other produce off the counters and be sure your puppy can't sneak into the pantry.

Puppy-proofing is all about keeping your new furry friend safe. Sometimes you have to make a few lifestyle adjustments (like not leaving your slippers laying around!), but that's the cost of being a pet parent.

Did you have to do a lot of puppy-proofing? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page. 

READ MORE: 10 Things You Should Do to Kitten-Proof Your Home

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