Five Points to Consider When Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Maral Cavner is pursuing a career in international relations and is an active participant in her community. Her love of dogs prompted Maral Cavner to become involved with the no-kill shelter Route66 Rescue, Inc., which provides sanctuary to stray and owner-surrendered dogs. Shelter professionals and dog breeders urge families and individuals seeking puppies to consider which breeds and temperaments best fit their lifestyle. Before adoption, they recommend the following tips for ensuring your home is safe for the furry new arrival.

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1. Remove all chewing hazards from reach. Puppies are prone to chewing, especially during teething stages. Items such as toys, clothes, shoes, and small objects like jewelry or writing utensils should be put away and kept inaccessible to puppies. Remove electrical cords from reach or encase them in chew-proof PVC pipe.

2. Secure trash cans. Puppies may rummage through or knock over smaller and lighter trash containers, which can result in messes and harm to the puppy if it swallows something dangerous. Cover trash containers with a lid or place them in secure places the puppy cannot get to.

3. Consider using baby gates and “blockades.” You can secure rooms, hallways, or staircases you don’t want your puppy exploring by using baby gates to block entry. Cat owners can place litter boxes behind baby gates to prevent puppy access, and simple blockades can prevent puppies from hiding in places such as behind or under furniture.

4. Identify items and plants toxic to puppies. Household chemicals and cleaners, insecticides, tobacco products, and some plants can cause severe harm to puppies. Some toxic plants include lilies, morning glories, mushrooms, and aloe plants. Put toxic items in secure places and either relocate or remove toxic plants.

5. Don’t forget your backyard. Inspect your yard for potential hazards to your puppy. Remove chemicals from places within the puppy’s reach, check for holes and spaces in fences your puppy may escape through, and remove toxic outdoor plants. Block off areas you don’t want the puppy exploring.

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