If you’re getting ready to bring a puppy home, congratulations! Exciting times are ahead. By now, you’ve likely checked off many of the items on your new puppy checklist. But before welcoming your new four-legged family member, you need to consider any household dangers that could pose a risk to your puppy.
It may seem overwhelming at first, so it’s important to take one step at a time. Here’s what you need to do to puppy proof your house and ensure a safe and happy transition for both you and your pet.
Puppy Proofing 101
Much like children, puppies can get into a lot of mischief if left to their own devices. It is our responsibility as pet parents to protect them as best we can, and keep them out of harm’s way. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, it’s ideal if you puppy proof your home before bringing your pet home for the first time.
Try this: Get down on your hands and knees, at puppy level, and take a look around. (We’re not kidding—seriously, down on your hands and knees!) What do you see? What would you be curious about? What fun but potentially dangerous objects catch your eye? What could fit in your mouth, or what could you swallow whole? By doing this activity ahead of time, you can address potential hazards before an accident even has a chance to occur.
How to Puppy Proof Your House
Again, puppy proofing can be a daunting task, so it helps to break it down by room. Let’s go over some of the most common household dangers for puppies, and ways to help avoid injuries and accidents.
Puppy Proofing Your Living Room
Since most of us have a lot of technology in our living rooms—TVs, lamps, speakers, etc.—power cords and wires are a huge concern. Puppies like to chew—on everything! Their sharp little teeth can puncture the protective coating of the wires very easily. If bitten through, electrical cords can cause shocks, burns to a puppy’s mouth or tongue, or worse. Make sure to tie up and contain all wires and cords as much as possible. With technology also comes remote controls. Puppies love to chew off those little squishy buttons, so be sure to keep remotes far out of reach. Batteries can be caustic if chewed on, causing mouth burns or worse if swallowed. Keep anything with batteries stored away or up high where the puppy can’t get to it. You might consider making the living room off-limits unless your puppy is under supervision. Shut the doors or use pet gates to block off access when no one is supervising.
Puppy Proofing Your Kitchen
There are many different dangers in the kitchen, for both people and pets. Make sure to keep sharp objects, such as knives, scissors, and kitchen tools, in a safe place to help prevent injuries. Waste bins are also a major source of concern. They can contain dangerous items, such as toxic foods for dogs, harmful debris (e.g., chicken bones), or small objects that can get lodged in your puppy’s throat, stomach, or intestines if swallowed. Ideally, your waste bin should have a lid, but if not, you may want to store it in a cabinet to keep it away from your puppy. Cleaning supplies also should be kept far out of reach from any pet or child, especially chemicals that may be caustic or toxic. Consider storing your household cleaners inside a cabinet with a safety lock, and look for pet-friendly products that are safe to use around pets.
Puppy Proofing Your Bathroom
Remember what we mentioned about waste bins in the kitchen? The same goes for the one in the bathroom: it should have a lid or be contained in a cabinet. There are certain bathroom disposables that can be dangerous if ingested, such as dental floss or feminine hygiene products, so try to keep your puppy away from the receptacle at all times. Again, all cleaning supplies should be safely stored out of your puppy’s reach. Last but not least, if you store medications in the bathroom, always keep them away and out of reach. Most human medications can be harmful to your pets if ingested (see the American Veterinary Medical Association’s list of 10 Poison Pills for Pets).
Puppy Proofing Your Bedroom
Houseplants not only add visual appeal to any room, some are even believed to aid in better sleep (think snake plants, peace lilies, and lavender). However, some plants can be toxic to dogs. Before letting your new puppy sleep in your bedroom, find out whether any of your houseplants are dangerous for her (the ASPCA has a handy list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants). Some plants may cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs, while others can be fatal if ingested. You may also choose to put your new puppy’s crate in your bedroom. A crate is a safe, comforting place for puppies to sleep that helps confine them and also aids in potty training. Make sure that the crate has proper bedding material in it and some toys to keep your puppy occupied, as she may not sleep through the entire night like you do.
Puppy Proofing Your Yard or Garden
Once it is OK to take your new puppy outside of your home, it is important to make sure that she will be as safe as possible. Puppies should be appropriately vaccinated and properly protected against parasites, such as fleas, ticks, heartworm disease, and intestinal worms. Your veterinarian may prescribe a monthly chew, such as Interceptor® Plus (milbemycin oxime/praziquantel), to protect your puppy against heartworm disease and hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and whipworm infections. Your vet may also prescribe a monthly chewable like Credelio® (lotilaner) to protect your pet against ticks and fleas.
See important safety information below for Interceptor® Plus and Credelio®.
Aside from parasites that can be found in the environment, you’ll also need to protect your puppy from other outdoor hazards, from poisonous plants to garden tools. Many pesticides and fertilizers are also toxic to dogs, so be sure to check the labels of your yard products and keep them safely stored in a shed or the garage. Antifreeze is toxic to dogs and sidewalk de-icing products can cause toxicity or burns, so it’s important to also keep your puppy out of sheds and garages where these items, and others, may be stored.
Puppyhood is full of fun, laughter, and joy. By taking early precautions to puppy proof your house and help keep your pet safe, you can spend more time enjoying each other’s company and less time worrying.
Credelio kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, treatment and control of tick infestations (lone star tick, American dog tick, black-legged tick, and brown dog tick) for one month in dogs and puppies 8 weeks and older and 4.4 pounds or greater.
Credelio Important Safety Information
Lotilaner is a member of the isoxazoline class of drugs. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, incoordination, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving this class of drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. The safe use of Credelio in breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. The most frequently reported adverse reactions are weight loss, elevated blood urea nitrogen, increased urination, and diarrhea. For complete safety information, please see Credelio product label or ask your veterinarian.
Interceptor Plus Indications
Interceptor Plus prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections in dogs and puppies 6 weeks or older and 2 pounds or greater.
Interceptor Plus Important Safety Information
Treatment with fewer than 6 monthly doses after the last exposure to mosquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. Prior to administration of Interceptor Plus, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infections. The safety of Interceptor Plus has not been evaluated in dogs used for breeding or in lactating females. The following adverse reactions have been reported in dogs after administration of milbemycin oxime or praziquantel: vomiting, diarrhea, decreased activity, incoordination, weight loss, convulsions, weakness, and salivation. For complete safety information, please see Interceptor Plus product label or ask your veterinarian.
Disclaimer: The author received compensation from Elanco US Inc., the maker of Interceptor Plus and Credelio, for her services in writing this article.
Credelio and Interceptor are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates.
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