When getting a new puppy, one of the most important things you must do before your new pooch arrives home is puppy-proofing your house. In this guide, you’ll learn how to puppy-proof your home so that your new pup stays safe and sound and your precious belongings won’t get damaged by their razor-sharp teeth. Let’s get started! 

Table of Contents

How To Puppy-Proof Your Home: Introduction

Congratulations on your new furry family member! The days leading up to Gotcha Day are surely going to be so insanely exciting for you. After all, you’re getting a new pet! There aren’t many things more exciting than that. However, it’s also a huge new responsibility that you’re taking on. And it also requires a fair amount of preparation so that you can provide your new pup a safe, healthy, and nurturing home environment. 

If you don’t know already, puppies can be very cheeky and mischievous, getting up to all sorts of “fun” things whilst you’re not watching them. Heck, some might even do silly stuff when you’re right there! Even though for them it’s all fun and games, for you it can be a nightmare having all of your household objects destroyed. Not to mention, it can quickly become extremely dangerous for your new pup. For instance, if they manage to get access to electrical cords or household chemicals. 

That’s why it’s so important you know how to puppy-proof your home before your new fur baby arrives. Although it might seem like a daunting task, it’s just a one-off thing and you’re guaranteed to welcome your new pooch home with peace of mind. To make this process easier for you, we decided to create for you a full in-depth guide on how to puppy-proof your home. 

Why Should You Puppy-Proof Your Home?

Puppies are super curious by nature and they also tend to have seemingly endless amounts of energy to run around, sniff and inspect, and pretty much explore anything and everything they can around them. Puppy-proofing is vital to let your pup explore their new home safely, without getting harmed or demolishing your belongings. 

At first you might think – what is there to be puppy-proofed anyway? Your house seems quite safe as it is. Well, think again! Regardless of your puppy’s breed, temperament, or upbringing, they’re guaranteed to find even the most surprising nooks and crannies in your home that might prove to be dangerous for them. Or, just cause distress for you for having to replace certain items. Whatever seems interesting for them, whether it’s a cabinet or a trash can, there are no holds barred. 

So, before you bring home your new puppy, be sure to thoroughly puppy-proof your home and put away anything that you don’t want your puppy having access to. This includes electrical cords and outlets, household chemicals, medications, trash cans, poisonous houseplants, and so forth. All of which we’ll cover in a moment. 

By the way, if you live in a house with a fenced backyard, it’s just as important to puppy-proof your garden as it is to puppy-proof your house indoors!

How To Puppy-Proof Your Home: Steps To Follow

Indeed, there are many things to take into consideration when puppy-proofing your home. An easy way to get started is by walking around inside the house and outside in your garden, seeing what items can be potential health hazards for your puppy. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. Below you’ll find the exact instructions on how to puppy-proof your home.

Keep Choking Hazards Out Of Reach

Puppies love to explore the world with their mouths. So, it’s a completely normal behavior for them to chew on whatever foods and non-food items they can reach. To be fair, even many adult dogs have trouble containing themselves and have the dangerous habit of eating everything they can.  

When puppy-proofing your home, place any choking hazards and anything else they might damage or get harmed by out of reach. This includes small knick knacks, coins, batteries, socks and underwear, remote controls, plastic bags, and shoes, to name a few. Basically anything that could lead to choking or cause intestinal blockages. You might also want to store away paper towels and toilet paper on a higher shelf or a drawer, as puppies love to munch on these too. 

Similarly, you’ll want to safely store away any low-lying electrical cords and cables. Not only are these potential choking hazards, they may also induce electrical shock and a host of other severe health issues. You may also use cord concealers to limit your puppy’s access to them. We also recommend you cover electrical outlets so that your pup won’t accidentally put its nose against them or lick them. 

Put Everything Away That Can Be Poisonous

Unfortunately, many accidents happen due to dogs and puppies having access to poisonous houseplants or improperly stored cleaning supplies and medications. Don’t forget that essential oils and your skincare can also be very harmful for your pooch. 

If you have toxic plants indoors, it’s best if you completely remove them from your home. There are plenty of dog-safe plants that you can admire instead! Likewise, remove toxic plants from your garden or create a completely separate area for your garden plot that your pup won’t be able to reach by any means. For the sake of your pup’s safety, removing any poisonous plants will be the best course of action.  

Moreover, make sure that you store all of your medications away from your puppy’s reach, such as in a closed box and in a cupboard or drawer that’s higher up. Similarly, all cleaning supplies and household chemicals should be far away from your puppy. Again, utilizing higher cabinets is a great way to minimize those risks. Or, you can lock your cupboards and cabinets with childproof locks to prevent them from accessing toxic items. 

Keep Doors, Windows, And Toilet Lids Closed

Always, always, always should you keep your doors and windows closed, even if you have a fenced backyard. Puppies are very resourceful, and even if they seem to be safe wandering around in the garden, they can accidentally get hurt or manage to escape. Speaking of which, if you have a pool, hot tub, or a garden plot, prevent your puppy from accessing these areas with proper fencing. 

If you’re one of those lucky people who has a fenced backyard, go over the whole perimeter of the fence to rule out any possibilities for your puppy to escape such as holes. If you have a low fence, there’s even a bigger risk of your puppy escaping it by jumping over the fence. 

Keep in mind that even if you only leave windows open, it can be very dangerous for your puppy. They might climb onto the window sill and accidentally fall out of the window. Not only can they potentially get lost, they can seriously get harmed if the window is higher up. 

By the way, an often overlooked health hazard are curtain cords. If your puppy manages to somehow get tangled in them, it can potentially lead to strangulation. It’s best to wind the cords over the curtain rod so that there’s zero risk. 

You should also keep the toilet lid closed at all times and consider attaching a seat lock to prevent them from lifting it up. Young puppies may accidentally fall inside the toilet bowl, and you can probably imagine how dangerous it can be. If you use a toilet refresher, it’s especially important to keep your puppy away from those harmful chemicals.  

Ensure Sharp And Heavy Objects Are Always Out Of Reach

Whatever sharp objects you have at home, they’ve got to go. Well, at least make sure they’re safely stored somewhere your puppy won’t be able to access them. All scissors and knives should be stored away in drawers. Also tools, razors, and any other sharp objects should be safely stored out of your puppy’s reach. If you have open bowls or baskets with tiny objects, you should also place these away in cabinets or drawers so that your puppy has no access to them. 

In addition to that, if you have heavy shelves, lamps, flowerpots, or appliances that your puppy might knock over, we recommend you secure them so that they cannot fall on top of your puppy or harm them in any way. 

The same goes for any sharp and heavy objects that you might have in your backyard. If there’s something heavy that your puppy might be able to knock over, either store it away at all times in a garage (where your puppy never has any access to!) or some other place your puppy can’t go to, or secure them with cords. There may also be sharp objects hiding inside the ground or dirt. So, whenever you let your puppy explore the garden, keep an eye on them at all times. 

Always Keep Trash Cans Covered

Some dogs and especially puppies just cannot resist the enticing smell of garbage. That’s just how they are, always wanting to inspect those interesting smells. Keep your trash cans either stored away in a cabinet under the sink with a childproof lock for extra safety. Or, simply lock the trash cans with childproof locks, preventing your puppy from rummaging through the trash. 

Trash cans often contain human foods, many that have gone bad and could trigger digestive issues, but also unsanitary items like personal hygiene products or dirty diapers, sharp objects, and extremely dangerous items like batteries or chemicals. In fact, many of our regular human foods can be very, very harmful for our canine pals, such as coffee grounds, chocolate, onions, fruit pits and seeds, or nuts, amongst many other things. Also, your puppy can get its head stuck in cans and other containers, so either throw them out or safely store them in drawers. 

Furthermore, we strongly advise you against feeding your puppy any human foods or table scraps. Not only will this only encourage this undesired behavior so that they’ll never stop begging you for more, many of our human foods may contain hidden ingredients that could severely harm your dog’s health. Even foods that are too high in fat can cause serious health issues! 

Remove Access To Stairs, Fireplaces, and Pools

If you have a fireplace, stairs, pools, or a jacuzzi in your home, these are all areas that you should block off for your puppy. As we mentioned earlier, you should use fencing to prevent your puppy accidentally falling into the pool. Likewise, make sure that your jacuzzi is always covered and your puppy has very limited access to the area. 

To prevent your clumsy lil’ puppy from falling down the stairs, an easy solution is to use pet gates at the bottom and top of the stairs. For blocking off a fireplace, you can use a screen to prevent your puppy from accessing it at all times or getting burned when the fireplace is on. 

What’s more, if you’ve got a smaller-sized pup or a very young puppy, we recommend you’ll help them on and off the couch yourself. Small dogs can easily injure themselves when jumping off the couch, as they don’t have good coordination and balance just yet. Once they grow and become stronger, you can let them jump off the couch by themselves. 

Tips To Create A Dog-Safe Area In Your House

A simple way to greatly minimize your puppy from getting hurt inside the home or in the backyard is to create a safe area for them to spend time in. Needless to say, if you limit their access to a smaller area, such as one room in your house or a separate portion of the living room, there are much less hazards to worry about. In addition to that, it’s a great way to keep your pup safe if you have to leave the house for a little while or can’t supervise them whilst you’re doing other things. 

Purchase Dog Gates

First step for creating a puppy-safe area in your home is to purchase pet gates. This is the easiest way to limit your pup’s access to certain areas in the house and keep them safe and sound in their designated playpen. And as we mentioned before, we also recommend you block off the stairs with pet gates, too! 

If you’re planning to block off an open plan room, then the all-steel 4-in-1 Play Yard by Regalo Pet Products might be just the right thing for you and your pooch! You can use this convertible yard either as a playpen or a gate that’s up to 192 inches wide – perfect for open spaces. This gate stands 28 inches tall and it has a convenient walk-through design with a double lock. As it has an accordion-style design, you can shape it in multiple different ways according to your needs. It’s also quite affordable, especially considering how multifunctional this dog gate is. 

Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate and Play Yard

If you don’t need a huge pet yard, then you might want to check out the Frisco Steel Extra Wide Auto-Close Dog Gate instead. This dog gate is also made from durable steel, but it’s designed to be used in door frames or to block off hallways. It has a pressure-mount system, so that you can install or take down the gate in just a few minutes. No drilling necessary! It also has a self-closing door for your pup’s safety, and multiple extensions are included so that it can even fit the widest of door frames. You can choose between the black, gray, and white options. 

Buy Chew Toys For Your Dog

One thing is to confine your puppy into their designated safe area. Another thing is to make sure they have something to do there, too. Even if you use the strongest, most high-quality pet gates, but don’t give your pup any fun toys to play with, they’ll definitely find a way to cause some trouble. Some opt for excessive digging, others love to chew on the furniture. 

A good chew toy or two will certainly keep your puppy entertained in their safe-zone. We all know how much puppies love to chew. That’s especially true for pups that are teething. And if they don’t have any toys to gnaw on, best believe they’re going to start chewing on whatever items they might find in their safe area. Also, you don’t want to encourage undesired behaviors by letting your puppy chew on anything other than their toys. 

For puppies, we love the Nylabone Just For Puppies Twin Pack with flavored chew toys. It includes a softer flexible chew toy that’s perfect for teething puppies and a durable nylon bone for when those adult teeth are starting to come in. 

Nylabone Just For Puppies Twin Pack

If you’re looking for Doodle-approved chew toys for adults, then be sure to check out the Nylabone Power Chew Durable Dog Toy. It features an irresistible bacon flavor. Yum! It’s made from super durable nylon so even the most avid chewers won’t be able to destroy this in a matter of minutes. Oh, and, it’s also great for keeping your pup’s teeth clean and freshen their breath in the process. A win-win! 

Nylabone Flavored Durable Dog Chew Toy

Train Your Puppy

In addition to preparing a pet-safe area in your home and making sure your pup has plenty of fun things to do in it, you’ve also got to put in the work in terms of training. Teaching your young puppy appropriate behaviors from an early age is the best way to set them up for success. 

Of course, it’s also important to teach your puppy that it’s good to enjoy spending time on their own in their safe area, whether it’s a crate or a designated safe-space. This will build your pup’s confidence, but also help them get house trained much quicker. We recommend you set a daily schedule for your puppy and yourself so that they know what activities they’ll be doing at what time each day. 

If you’re a bit wary of the whole process, don’t worry! It can be overwhelming at first when training a new puppy. For those of you seeking guidance from seasoned pros, we recommend you check out the Online Puppy School by Baxter & Bella. It’s an affordable program that covers everything you could imagine from potty training and crate training to more advanced training techniques and behavioral issues. 

How To Puppy-Proof Your Home: FAQs

What Needs To Be Puppy-Proofed?

You should remove your puppy’s access to choking hazards and small, sharp objects, trash, knick knacks, electrical cords, cleaning supplies and chemicals, poisonous plants, medications, batteries, human foods, and anything else that seems even remotely dangerous for your pooch. Also, make sure to always keep your windows and doors closed as well as toilet lids and trash cans. You can use childproof locks to keep cabinets, trash cans and toilet lids safely closed. Moreover, remove any access to stairs, pools, and fireplaces with the help of pet gates and screens. 

How Do I Puppy Proof My Living Room?

Be sure to store away any electrical cords and cover up electrical outlets to prevent serious injuries to your pet. If you’ve got low-lying cables and cords, you can use cord concealers so that your pup can’t chew on them. If you have any heavy furniture like shelving or heavy flower pots, these should be attached to the floor or wall to prevent them from falling over. We also recommend you put away all knick knacks and other small items, and vacuum the floors frequently to prevent your puppy from ingesting potentially harmful items. Additionally, if your puppy isn’t fully house trained yet, you might also want to cover up your furniture like couches and armchairs.

Where Should I Keep My New Puppy At Home?

It’s best to keep your puppy close to you as much as possible, especially when they’re still adjusting to their new home environment. You can place your puppy’s crate in your bedroom so that they’re close to you when it’s bedtime. This also makes it easier to soothe them during the night when they might be missing their littermates and mama. Likewise, it’s less of a hassle to take them out for potty breaks during nighttime. 

How To Puppy-Proof Your Home: Final Thoughts

We’re so excited for you that you’ll soon have a little four-legged best friend romping around in your home. What a joy! However, it also comes with so many new responsibilities like potty training and obedience training, a whole new daily schedule, and having a little pup completely dependent on you for literally everything. Fortunately, an easy way to keep your new pet safe is by puppy-proofing your house so that your new best pal stays safe and your belongings won’t get damaged. We hope you learned some helpful information here on how to puppy-proof your home so that you can be fully prepared for Gotcha Day and your new pup arriving home.  

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