The following is a guest post by Dr. Jennifer Wallace, a Gainesville, FL veterinarian.
Congratulations on your family’s new addition! Having a puppy in your home is similar to having a new baby. Just like a baby, a puppy explores his/her environment by putting things in its mouth. It is important to puppy proof your home to prevent your puppy from hurting himself/herself as well as prevent your belongings from being chewed.
One of the secrets to puppy training is carefully managing your environment. By puppy proofing your home, you spend more of your time teaching your new puppy what to do versus what not to do.
While puppy proofing will definitely help with training, it is also important to provide plenty of appropriate exercise and toys.
Whether it is by chewing or knocking items over and breaking things with their tails, puppies get into everything.
By following these few simple tips, you can help keep your puppy out of danger.
1. Never leave your new pet unsupervised.
He/she can get into trouble very quickly!
2. Get on the floor.
Look from your puppy’s eye level, and remove any items that are within reach. Items may include, but are not limited to, electrical cords, shoes/socks, toys/game pieces, coins, medications which were accidentally dropped, and insect and mouse traps.
3. Look for items which may be a little higher up, but still in reach.
Items such as plants, food, candles, and remote controls can be enticing.
4. Secure or move breakable items that might get knocked over.
A rambunctious puppy can easily break a lamp/vase or knock over a bookshelf.
5. Use baby gates, closed doors, and crates to limit your puppy’s access to the entire house.
6. Buy trash cans with secure lids or put them in the pantry/closet.
Dogs are natural scavengers and may find the trash irresistible. Eating trash can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal blockage.
7. Become familiar with common items that are poisonous to pets.
Almost everyone is familiar with the dangers of chocolate, but grapes, raisins, sugar-free candies (including gum), and avocados are also toxic. Another newer toxin is laundry detergent pods.
8. In the bathroom, make sure jewelry, hair ties, razors, and sanitary supplies are put up.
9. Keep the toilet lid down so your puppy does not drink the water as it may contain cleaning chemicals.
10. Keep medications and cleaning supplies out of reach.
Either put these items in higher cabinets or use child-proof locks.
11. If you have cats, move the litter boxes so they are out of reach.
12. Be careful around furniture.
A puppy can crawl under a sofa bed or recliner and get stuck and/or injured. Pillows and blankets can be quickly shredded.
13. Secure dangling blinds and curtain cords by tying them up out of reach.
14. Make sure there are no holes in window screens and fences.
Ensure doors and gates close securely.
15. Store containers of antifreeze, gasoline, oil, pesticides, and paint in secure locations.
16. Move fishing line, hooks, and lures out of reach.
17. Cover or fence off pools, hot tubs, and ponds since they present a drowning hazard.
18. Decomposing food, especially coffee grounds, in compost bins can be toxic if ingested.
19. Fire pits, grills, and other heat sources can potentially cause burns.
20. Walk around your property
Eensure it is free of other potentially dangerous items, such as broken glass, exposed nails, or other sharp objects.
It’s important to remember that as your puppy grows, what was out of reach before may become fair game. Every puppy is different, so it’s important to ask your veterinarian for advice to help your puppy develop into a happy and healthy adult.
Dr. Jennifer Wallace graduated from UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. She enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine, with a special interest in internal medicine. Jennifer’s husband Cesar, a canine officer with Alachua PD, shares her devotion to their two dogs and five cats. Dr. Wallace practices at a Veterinary Hospital in Gainesville, FL.