Puppy proof your yard and home1

Congratulations on welcoming a new puppy into your family! As the owner (or soon-to-be owner) of a new puppy, you’ll start preparing for your new puppy by finding a veterinarian and purchasing all the necessities. But, after the fun part of choosing a cute collar and getting a name tag engraved, it’s time to get down to business by puppy-proofing your home. Make sure your environment is as safe as possible by reviewing our new puppy checklist for bringing a puppy home. By now, you’ve probably done some research and have an understanding of how to care for your new puppy. Your house is going to be the place where your dog spends the majority of his life, so it’s vitally important that you take precautions to make sure it’s a safe environment for him.

Puppies are extremely energetic and curious, so when puppy-proofing your home, you must be thorough. It’s amazing what one little puppy can get into. By puppy-proofing, you’re trying to keep the puppy safe and prevent him from getting access to anything dangerous to him.

Checklist for Puppy-Proofing Indoors

  • Unplug electrical cords, move them out of reach, or string them through cord concealers. Protect your new puppy from accidental shock, burns to the mouth, or worse, by using sturdy cord covers or deterrent sprays on electric cords, chargers, and power cables. Of course, a young pup should always be supervised when not contained in a crate or pen, but providing plenty of chew toys will also help to give your puppy a better outlet (pun intended) for their chewing energy.These chewing hazards can cause burns to the mouth or electrical shock.
  • Avoid feeding food from the table. Pups may look adorable as they beg for food, but many human foods are not good for them. Pay special attention to sugarless gum, chocolate, raisins, and other foods that are especially poisonous to dogs.
  • Keep cleaning supplies in high cabinets or secured behind doors with childproof latches. From household cleaners, detergents and glue, to yard and automotive chemicals, most homes are bound to have a few toxic substances that need to be locked up. Even a safety cap can’t stand up against those sharp puppy teeth. Antifreeze is especially enticing to pets, so take extra care when cleaning up spills and storing containers. Rat and mouse poisons as well as slug baits need to be kept out of reach.
  • Put all medications away. Human medications are the most common source of poisoning for pets every year, so be sure that all medications and supplements that might be sitting on nightstands or countertops are safely stored in secure cabinets or drawers. It is also wise to store pet medications separately from yours, and always dispense pills and liquids over a sink or bowl in case of spills.
  • Keep toilet lids closed, so the puppy won’t drink out of the toilet or fall in.
  • Keep doors and windows closed at all times, so the puppy can’t escape or fall out, and secure the cords that raise blinds, so they won’t get caught around the puppy’s neck.
  • Put away small items that are choking hazards — such as coins, paper clips, rubber bands, and jewelry — to prevent the puppy from choking on them.
  • Keep all sharp objects out of your dog’s reach. This includes knives, scissors, razors, and tools.
  • Secure trashcans. Puppies are attracted to the smells coming from garbage, which can upset their tummies or even be poisonous.
  • Move poisonous houseplants A houseplant may appear innocent, but it can cause serious problems, from mild irritation and digestive upset to organ failure and even death if your puppy decides to take a nibble. Some of the most dangerous plants for dogs include the Sago palm — pictured close to a puppy’s crate in inset photo — (and other cycads), Castor Bean, American Yew, and the Autumn Crocus. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but you can see more on ASPCA Animal Poison Control’s list of poisonous plants and flowers.
  • Batteries are not remotely safe. Remote controls, electronic toys, key fobs, and any other devices that contain batteries should be picked up and kept well out of reach. Not only can small parts be chewed and swallowed, but a swallowed battery is even more dangerous because it can cause burns to the soft tissue inside your pet’s esophagus on the way down. Disc batteries are especially dangerous!

When you take your puppy outside, you need to take precautions there, too. Your backyard is going to be your puppy’s playground (and bathroom), so it’s important that it is also clear of all hazards.

Checklist for Puppy-Proofing Outdoors

  • Fence the yard, if possible. It’s best to have a fence that is high enough to prevent the puppy from jumping over it, with no holes to crawl through.
  • Remove toxic plants in your yard so the puppy can’t eat them.
  • Put a fence around in-ground pools. Pools are a big hazard for puppies. A fence surrounding the pool will prevent the puppy from accidentally falling in. You or a dog trainer can teach your pup pool safety, as well.
  • Designate a puppy area. Set aside a portion of the yard for the puppy to use as his bathroom area.
  • Keep the lawn trimmed and brush under control. Ticks are more likely to hide in tall grasses and latch onto your pup.
  • Keep your dog away from the yard if it has recently been treated with fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides. Try to avoid using insecticides because the chemicals can be very harmful to your puppy.
  • Be wary of heatAvoid keeping your dog outside when it is hot, and always have shade and cool water available
  • Clean up after your puppy to be sure he won’t try to eat his own feces.
  • Supervise your puppy. Young puppies should not be left outside alone. This is the time to play with them and train them, and to protect them from predators, heatstroke, and other hazards.

Puppies are completely dependent on you for everything, and their safety should be your No. 1 priority. It’s a hefty responsibility, but most definitely worth it.