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New puppies are exciting and adorable. However, they can be equally as exhausting. These little bundles of joy require similar precautions to human children, and most people don’t get nine months to prepare and dog proof the house for them!
In fact, parents may find many child-proofing techniques useful to keep their dogs safe in the home. Taking basic precautions can help avoid serious (even life-threatening) consequences.
When your dog chews through an unsuspecting guest’s shoes, it may be awkward, but it probably won’t be catastrophic. It’s important to remember that when you dog proof, it is for everyone’s benefit. Instead of a pair of loafers, it could easily be a bottle of anti-freeze. Suddenly, a simple lapse can turn deadly.
These principals will help keep the whole household safe and secure, so you can worry less and get back to playing fetch.
It’s important to understand what might pose a hazard to your dog before you can think about changing it.
Start with the basics to dog proof. All the things that are dangerous to toddlers are problematic for pets, too. This ranges from pharmaceuticals to cleaning products. However, it can also include things like plants and certain food groups. For example, raisins are a great snack for toddlers but they can really hurt your dog!
As a good rule of thumb, your dog probably shouldn’t be eating anything that you wouldn’t consider edible yourself. Unless chemicals specifically say they are safe for dogs, assume they are not. The same thing goes for plants.
In general, your dog should not have access to any food except his own. Even healthy items can pose a hazard in excess. This includes compost bins or piles, which are often stored on the ground and in-reach of curious paws.
Remember that your dog, especially as a puppy, is curious and often mouthy. Things that make noise, smell strongly, or taste good are even more enticing.
Store potentially dangerous items so that your dog cannot access them. Child-proofing gadgets can be a great resource for this. Secure cabinets with store bought locks or DIY your own. Another good option is placing hazards high off the ground and out of reach. Remember that your curious pup may begin to jump or climb and plan accordingly.
Trash cans should always be hidden away. These are often smelly and very enticing for pets. Some great options come with secure latches or can only be opened with a pedal.
Close the toilet to prevent drowning or poisoning from cleaning chemicals.
Other items can simply be removed from the equation. Delicate belongings and keepsakes should not have a prominent place in the house with a boisterous puppy. Anything small or sharp has no business being out and about.
Excess wires should be avoided. Pare these back. What you can’t remove, cover or lift out of harm’s way. It’s extremely dangerous for a puppy to chew on a live wire, and they should not be left exposed. Using extra precautions like outlet covers can be a good idea, too.
Certain toxic chemicals are common in homes. These include things like anti-freeze, bleach, fertilizers, weed killers, and many more. A new puppy can be a great opportunity to steer away from harmful products in favor of healthier, natural options.
It’s important to make sure that your dog can’t access unsafe areas, especially when he isn’t being supervised. Fences or an outdoor pet pen are a great way to ensure that he’ll be safe while enjoying time outdoors. Remember that some breeds are better jumpers, climbers, or diggers than others.
Open windows and doors can pose a hazard. Screens can be a good way to let in air while preventing undue access to the outside world.
It is also extremely important to make sure that fencing is in good repair. Balconies and railings are other danger zones. Make sure that they are solid enough to protect your pet. Small holes may allow your dog to squeeze through or get stuck and hurt himself.
Especially when the family is gone, it can be a good idea to keep your pet in a small, safe area of the house. Puppy gates are good for corralling a young puppy to certain, safe, areas of the home. Make your dog’s space welcoming and comfortable, so he doesn’t feel like he’s being locked up as a punishment.
Keep certain hazards, like bodies of water or fire, blocked off if possible. Pools can be dangerous, even for pets that can swim, because they can be difficult to exit. Fires may spit ash and flame unexpectedly. Fences or grates are easy and effective fixes.
Most importantly, remain vigilant. There’s no need to worry about your pet if you think rationally about his needs. Before he arrives, begin to dog proof, and check every once and a while to make sure the home remains a safe space.
Remember that you have a small, unpredictable life in your hands now. Think before making big movements like backing up the car or slamming a door shut.
In case of emergency, it’s a good idea to make a plan. Write down important numbers, including your dog’s vet and poison control.
There are plenty of resources to help you prepare for the new member of the family. Your dog will thank you for the effort.