Adopting a puppy is a commitment. In addition to getting the proper supplies — leashes, collars, bowls, etc. — make sure your home is “puppy proof.” Here are some essentials when prepping for your new addition:
1. Crate Training
If your puppy is between two and four months old, use crate training to avoid bathroom accidents. Make sure the crate is a comfy, safe space for your puppy. A comfortable crate will become a den, which dogs naturally avoid soiling. Crate or kennel your puppy when not under supervision. When you let your pup out, go to a designated potty area and use a phrase like, “do your business.” Your pup will associate outdoors with bathroom time, eliminating accidents indoors. Bonus: A crate will protect your puppy from getting into trouble at night.
2. Puppy-safe Zones
Puppies like to explore. Without closing bedrooms or gating stairs, you’re potentially putting your pup in danger. Decide which areas of your home are dog friendly and block off the rest. Make sure to designate puppy-safe zones before you bring your new dog home.
3. Safe Kitchens
Certain human foods are hazardous to dogs: chocolate, grapes, avocados, etc. If you can’t close off your kitchen, invest in childproof locks for your cabinets. Also, keep tempting food away from counters.
4. Poison-free Homes
Puppies are naturally inquisitive and can sometimes see pesticides and other dangerous chemicals as food or chew toys. Store your pesticides and other toxic chemicals in your garage. If your pup does get into something poisonous, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline immediately.
5. Locked Bathrooms
A thirsty puppy will look for water in different places — specifically your toilet. A consistently full water bowl is the easiest way to eliminate toilet drinking. But, it’s still a good idea to keep your bathroom doors shut and toilet lids down.
6. Hidden Trash
Larger puppies have access to your trash. Keep your trash locked below your sink or in a pantry to avoid a messy kitchen and a sick dog.
7. Safe Yards
Use these tips to make sure your backyard is a safe space for your puppy:
- Secure any loose or faulty gates.
- Fence-off flowerbeds to avoid digging.
- Keep a drinking bowl outside, especially on hot days.
- Install a doghouse in a safe, shady area
- Ensure you have a secure fence.
- Block your pool with tarps or fencing.
- Create additional shady areas to keep your dog cool.
Raising a puppy is a lot of responsibility. To avoid any potential mishaps or headaches, puppy proof your home ahead of time. And remember, all your puppy needs is love, patience and a lot of treats.