Puppy proof or dog-proof your home before the arrival of your new best friend. It’s an important and necessary task as most veteran dog owners and guardians will tell you. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of the moment and forget to make a quick safety check of your home before you bring little Fido or scared rescued Jenny across the threshold.
Just imagine if you were this little furry scamp. What would you want to do? If you answered run around and check out every corner and crevice of the new rooms, you’d be pretty close to the mark. But is this the best way to introduce your little friend and family member to the new environment?
Pet Parenting: A Brave New World
Look at it this way: you’re about to enter the world of pet parenting. Just as you’d child-proof a home, so should you puppy-proof all the areas where you plan and somewhere you don’t plan to allow your new pet access. Whether you adopt or buy a dog and bring them into your life, you are also assuming an awesome responsibility for their well-being, health, and yes, even happiness.
And don’t think you need to have eyes on the environment for puppies only. What about adult and even senior dogs? Like people, each age has its own characteristics and issues. Whatever the age or breed, the most important thing is to understand and dog-proof your home with care so that you avoid potential problems. So make puppy-proofing a priority!
Protect Your New Pal from Unsafe Areas
Hazardous areas are of primary concern. You think babies get into things? Wait until your puppy makes new and possibly unwanted discoveries. Oh, you have them confined to a particular area? Some puppies or young adults are quite the escape artists.
Think of your new furry pal in terms of a baby or even a toddler. Make sure the pup can’t get into a cabinet or the trash. I can’t tell you how often I’ve found the remnants of a discarded carton or contents of a tissue box or roll of toilet paper strewn across the floor. Why? Simply because I forgot to put them away and carelessly left them within reach of the dog. When it comes to your trash bin, don’t ever be surprised if somehow your dog managed to sniff out that one piece of food you tossed away and tipped the trash over, and pulled out the layers of trash to paw their way to the prize.
Puppy Proof Common Household Items
Dogs get into all sorts of things and it can have disastrous and heart-wrenching results. Items you wouldn’t think of like avocados, onions, yeast dough, and, yes, chocolate make the list. Make sure toxic items like cleaners are kept out of reach. Wherever your dog may go, in the bedroom, bathroom, washroom, or even the garage, be sure the trash bins are empty of any toxic substances. It’s good to walk around both the inside and outside of your home and even around the yard in search of potential problems. Is there daylight under the backyard fence wide enough for your new pet to squiggle through and escape into the neighborhood?
If there is one thing you must puppy-proof for, it’s anti-freeze. This dangerous item may be lurking somewhere in your home, yard, or garage. It’s common. It’s poison to dogs, but to them, it’s a sweet-tasting, odorless liquid that can kill. I know. My daughter lost one of her dogs to this terrible chemical when her dog had traveled over to the next-door neighbor’s yard. No one knew the neighbor was putting anti-freeze outside to kill some yard critters. Instead, a couple of neighborhood dogs were lost.
Even a Puppy or Adult Dog Wants His Space
Dogs love to have their own, little hidey-hole where they can snuggle down and get away from it all. They love den-like areas and enjoy having their own bed space. Most dogs love having an open crate with a cover to retreat to for a little nap during the day. Two of mine burrow into blankets and make their own private spaces to sleep or rest. Many dogs particularly feel this need when it’s an occasion for fireworks like the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve or when a thunderstorm rages outside.
Puppy Proof Outside Trips and Walks, too.
Yes, you can puppy-proof your yard and even your dog walks. We all love dog parks but they can be problematic if you’re not careful. Today you’ll often find a dog park separating the dogs by size and that’s a good thing. If you take your little friend to a dog park, don’t rush in, eager to meet up with the other pet owners. Take a few moments to stay outside the area and observe what is going on and how the dogs inside the park are interacting with each other and with the owners. If you spot some aggression, it might be best to walk away and return another day.
Maybe it’s a gorgeous spring day and you want to take your dog outside for a walk. Stay alert for the presence of other dog owners who are also out walking their dogs. Watch how the dogs are acting and don’t immediately let your dog run up, full of friendship to engage a strange dog. Take it easy. Make sure it’s okay with the dog’s handler to approach and watch carefully. You always want to do your best to keep the peace.
Puppy Proofing is the Simple Key to a Safe and Loving Home
Taking care of your puppy or new dog is simply a matter of common sense. Often people think all they have to do is let the dog out and make sure the pooch is fed and all is well. Yes, those are the two primary everyday tasks needed but with a little more thought and care, you avoid a lot of other potential irritations and problems simply by thinking ahead and removing a lot of obstacles that could become problematic. Not only will your dog be safe but your bond with your dog will be stronger because you care enough to think things through.