So you’ve got this new home (and, of course, a mortgage with a low interest rate). With all the additional space, adding a dog to the family is sort of a no-brainer. But while puppies might just be the cutest things in the world, they can also be devious little creatures. An abundance of curiosity and a lack of restraint make them the natural enemy of your beautiful new home. Before introducing the two, make sure to follow these puppy proofing tips.
Lock up your food
It’s a fact—dogs love food. You should limit your puppy’s exposure to people-food until they are 3-5 months old, and even then, be cautious about what kinds of food they have—seemingly innocuous foods like avocado, grapes, onions, and garlic can be deadly for dogs. In the meantime, be mindful. Leave something within reach, and you can pretty much guarantee it won’t be there when you look for it next.
Keep purses and shoes out of reach
Dogs have a thing for leather, and by shucking your shoes and dumping your bag at the front door, you’re essentially giving yours the okay to have at it. Keep these things away from your dog so that she doesn’t think it’s okay to chew them. The more your dog chews, the greater the potential harm (to her and your belongings), and the harder it will be to break the habit later.
Don’t leave clothes lying around
Clothes also make a great chew toy. They smell like you, they’re soft, and they rip easily. Any clothes you leave lying around will most likely end up in your dog’s mouth—or even worse, in his stomach. Large breed puppies will often try to swallow socks, underwear, or other clothing items. These can cause serious intestinal blockage if not digested properly, costing you thousands of dollars for surgery. Buy a sturdy hamper with a lid and throw all your dirty clothes in there so you don’t have to worry.
Keep a lid on your trash
The trash might smell gross to you, but to a puppy, that’s the smell of heaven. Leave your trash out and your dog unattended, and it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll come back to a mess and a bloated puppy.
Know what’s toxic
Puppies lick and chew just about anything they can. This includes your floors, plants, and anything they find laying around. Unfortunately, some things that we don’t even think about can be very toxic to dogs. These toxic items include but aren’t limited to pesticides, certain plants (e.g. hydrangea), and some household cleaners. Keep poisonous plants out of your dog’s reach, and avoid using poisonous cleaners in areas where he may lick. Better yet, keep the bathroom door closed entirely and keep your dog out of the toilet as an added bonus.
Keep all wires as hidden and compact as possible
Puppies will also chew wires. Not only can this ruin your appliances, but it can also seriously injure your puppy. Make sure to keep all wires as hidden as possible. Some vigilance may be necessary as well.
Toys, treats, bones are a must
In case you haven’t noticed, chewing is going to be one of the biggest battles you fight with your new furry family member. Usually, it is a direct result of boredom. If your dog learns how to entertain himself, the risk of these incidents happening is much smaller. Make sure to always give your dog a toy or bone when you’re occupied, and teach him how to be good by playing to get him interested in the toy and rewarding him with treats for good behavior.