Arriving home with a new puppy is exciting, but without first puppy-proofing your house, that excitement may quickly turn to stress. Given that puppies are curious creatures, it’s best to evaluate your indoor space for safety hazards and off-limit items beforehand. This way, instead of constantly extracting undesirable objects from your new best friend’s mouth, you’ll have a safe and manageable environment for puppy to play in. Furthermore, puppy-proofing also prevents unwanted indoor destruction.
While the odd pair of shoes or socks may fall victim to baby canine teeth, the most important thing is that your puppy will be healthy, happy, and ready to chew her way through the rest of the world.
Let’s begin! Here are several tips to consider when puppy-proofing your house:
Protect Your Puppy From Cords
It’s a well-known fact that puppies are often drawn to electrical cords. Due to their rubbery texture and placement on the floor, they make for an easy fix when puppies are in the mood to chew. (And they almost always are.)
But biting through cords can lead to mouth burns, electrical shocks, or worse. Thus, if you’ve blocked off a puppy-specific area in your home with a baby gate or otherwise, it’s best to remove cords entirely until your puppy has outgrown their teething phase. In case your puppy has the run of the house, consider using cord concealers, which envelop electrical cords in a bite-proof plastic cover.
What’s the number one method for keeping a puppy out of trouble? Keep them occupied. By providing a wide range of toys in the house, you’ll keep your pup’s attention engaged and their teeth free from your furniture. While there are a wide variety of puppy-safe chew toys on the market, BARK boasts several great categories of toys.
To start, consider stocking up on several choices of Super Chewer toys, like “Gobble Gobble Gus” or the “Sledgehog.” Made from rubber, nylon, or a blend of both, they’re safe, non-toxic, and the perfect flexible texture for new teeth. Most of these toys also feature interesting angles and designs so they bounce and roll in an unpredictable and fun manner (and sometimes they even dispense treats).
BARK’s Tug Toys also keep teething puppies busy. With plush animals, squeakers, ropes, and bouncy balls, there are endless ways for your young friend to stay interested and drain energy. Stuffed animals and other objects are also perfect for puppies of any age. Not only are the soft and soothing materials good for sore gums, but puppies will enjoy the squeakers, ropes, and other features of BARK’s Plush Toys. Playtime is far more fun when your puppy isn’t hard up for options.
Clean Up Your Cleaning Supplies
When leaving a puppy alone for a short time, you may expect that they’ll continue napping or putzing around with a ball. Just like children, though, puppies are quick to change the focus of their attention. Far too easily, they get into something that they shouldn’t.
While bottles and cans of cleaning supplies may seem safe when tucked away in the cupboard under the sink, if left unsupervised, older pups may figure out how to open the kitchen cabinets. Thus, in order to prevent your pup from ingesting toxic chemicals, keep cleaning supplies up high or in an inaccessible closet. Child safety cabinet locks are also a great solution for a puppy nosing its way around the house.
With their oversized almond-shaped eyes, pink bellies, and flopping bodies, puppies are undeniably cute. However, good eating habits start early and “people” food is often unhealthy or even allergy-provoking for dogs.
The takeaway? You’ll have to resist sneaking your pup table scraps during dinner. By placing your puppy in an area of the home where they’re not able to access the kitchen table, it’s far easier to teach your new dog not to beg or jump up for food. That doesn’t mean that your good pup doesn’t deserve a treat though.
Keeping dog-approved snacks on hand will fill the need for sharing love, but not contribute towards obesity or other health conditions. Luckily, BARK features a wide range of healthy, all natural, and tasty treats. Keep in mind that little ones will only need a treat or two before they fill up!
Put Away The Plants
Houseplants are a beautiful addition to any indoor space. Unfortunately, puppies may enjoy potted plants, trees, and flowers more than you wish they would.
In order to prevent your new young ‘uns from chewing on stalks and leaves, digging through the dirt, or shattering clay pots, find plants a new sunny place until you have a calm and mature dog on your hands.
Certain plants can also be problematic for dogs and pets in general. Check to make sure that your leafy décor isn’t toxic by looking over a list of unsafe plants for animals. Even a high-placed toxic fern or vine could somehow end up in your curious pup’s mouth, so it’s best to re-home or dispose of unsafe plants before bringing your new friend home.
Although puppies may spend most of their days gnawing on toys, having a variety of safe dog chews on hand is another excellent method for keeping your puppy busy. When teething, chewing on dried animal parts or naturally flavored nylon bones will bring lots of pain relief. That said, remember to keep in mind the size and age of your puppy when selecting chews. Products that are too small can be choking hazards; chews that are too big can carry an excess of calories. Furthermore, it’s important to evaluate the ingredients and safety of chews before buying.
BARK’s chews are all-natural, contain minimal ingredients, have great textures, and taste wonderful. They’re also long-lasting, meaning that even the most energetic of pups will likely be engaged until nap-time. BARK also boasts chews infused with nylon or rubber. These chews contain hints of bacon, peanut butter, or other savory flavors, but are also elastic enough to allow your puppy to sink her teeth in.
Whatever chews you pick out, just remember that safety is always the first priority: never let your little one chew while unmonitored.
Mind The Gap (Of Open Windows And Doors)
Even the youngest and clumsiest of puppies are known to climb into and through spaces they shouldn’t. A set of steep stairs leading to the basement could spell trouble for little legs. A cracked-open window a story or more above the ground might pose danger if left unattended.
In fact, exits to the outside world not only lead to potential escape, but could be fatal, particularly for urban-dwelling dogs in high apartments. Therefore, adopting a new mindfulness for open windows and doors is vital.
Scour The Floor For Sharp Objects
Just like when living with a new baby, puppies need to be protected from unsafe things they might put in their mouths. While most of these items will be obvious – scissors, kitchen utensils, thumb tacks, safety pins – remember that everyday objects like glass vases or candles can become hazardous if broken. When in doubt, keeping your young pup in a special puppy-proofed area of the house will help cut down on the number of items you need to keep track of or put away.
Monitor Your Medications
Although most over-the-counter and prescription medications are equipped with child-proof lids, vigorous chewers may find their way into a bottle if left unmonitored. When living with a puppy, it’s important to store medicine up high, preferably in a medicine cabinet or inaccessible drawer. Even basic medications, such as ibuprofen or antacids, could be harmful if consumed by your new dog.
Store Away Small Choking Hazards
Coins, rubber bands, bobby pins, paperclips, jewelry, and other small objects are fair game for a teething puppy. Thus, in order to prevent the chance of choking or swallowing, make sure to do a daily sweep (or two) of the floor and furniture. Also make sure to check under the bed, couch, and other areas where your tiny pup can crawl under.
Lower The Toilet Lid
Many mishaps happen in the bathroom – after all, what young ‘un wouldn’t be attracted to rolls of fluffy toilet paper and easy-to-rip-up magazines? By remembering to lower the toilet lid, you’ll keep Fido from falling in while attempting to drink, swim, or just explore.
While not all puppies will be interested in what the toilet bowl holds, the allure is particularly strong for dog breeds naturally drawn to water. Thus, the best excuse for keeping a clean house is a curious puppy.