Puppy Love: Preparing Your Home for a New Canine Companion

Posted by Safeco November 14, 2016
Puppy-Proof Your Home

Precautions to Help Make Your Home Safer for Your New Furry Family Member

Puppies aren’t just great in Internet videos. A puppy in your home is wiggly, cuddly fun for the whole family. And, also a bit of extra care.

When you bring home a new puppy — or a new dog of any age — it’s important to make changes to be sure your house or apartment is safe for and safe from its new resident.

Make Your Home Safe for a Puppy

Puppies are lively and curious, and they will explore everything that looks, tastes or — particularly — smells intriguing. That curiosity can be dangerous.

Put latches or locks on cupboard and closet doors, and keep these attractive dangers out of reach:

  • Laundry hampers, purses, backpacks and shoes.
  • Trash and garbage cans.
  • Cleaning products, medications, hazardous chemicals and pesticides, including mothballs, mouse poison and fabric softener sheets. Antifreeze is particularly dangerous because it has an attractively sweet taste, and it can be lethal even if consumed in small quantities.
  • Human food. Many people know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. But, many more human foods, including onions, grapes, nuts, coffee grounds and alcohol, are dangerous to canines, as well. Avoid giving dogs anything but food and treats formulated specifically for them, unless checking with your veterinarian first.
  • Houseplants. A number of common indoor and outdoor plants can be dangerous, including Dieffenbachia, Chinese evergreen, jade plant, philodendron, dracaena, elephant ears and, that holiday favorite, poinsettia.
  • Electric cords can make tempting chew toys. If you can’t cover them up, unplug them when they’re not in use and store them out of reach.

Keep Your Home Safe From a Puppy

Whether you own your home or you’re a renter, you will want to prevent – or at least minimize – damage to your space. Minimizing her access to certain areas of your home may help, especially while you’re away.

A dog typically won’t soil her own space, so using a crate can help keep your space clean and help with housetraining, too. Buy a crate big enough for her to grow into. One that comes with a divider will help you adjust her space as needed. She should have enough room to stand and turn around.

Or, set up gates to keep your pup out of carpeted rooms, or confined to rooms with easy-to-clean floors. But, make sure to still leave her room to move around.

If you’re not confident about your pup’s housetraining, stock up on absorbent pads that are scented to attract your pet to do her business there. You may also want to consider:

  • Sprays that help protect carpets or fabrics from stains. Make sure to choose a pet-friendly one, and use it before there is an accident.
  • And, after an accident? Enzyme cleaners, commercial stain and odor removers, or home-made cleaners like baking soda, cornstarch, club soda or vinegar all are options for cleaning up. You may want to have a couple of alternatives handy and find out what works best. Vinegar’s strong smell has been said to discourage your pet from finding the same spot attractive for a repeat visit.
  • Non-slip placemats can keep the floor tidy if your dog’s an energetic eater.
  • Bitter tasting, chew-discouraging sprays can be applied to furniture or other objects. But, these often need frequent applications, so read the directions.

Finally, remember that it can be dangerous to leave your dog unattended with certain treats and toys, so discuss safe ways to keep her occupied while you’re away with your vet. And, be sure she has access to water.

With a little advanced planning, you and your new canine companion will soon be settling into a happy routine – and plenty of cuddles! Congrats on your new family member.

More to Know About Dog Care

There’s lots more to know about keeping a dog safe and happy in your home: feeding, exercise, housetraining and general care. The ASPCA provides plenty of good answers to your questions, and you can also check out our blogs on pet first aid, toy and treat safety, and dogs and home insurance.

Topics: Family

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