In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through 10 easy and practical ways to puppy proof your house along with a bonus tip you don’t want to miss out on as a final measure!
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you.
You’ll discover how a few small adjustments can make a world of difference in creating a harmonious and safe living space for your puppy, both inside and outside of your home.
Back when my Boxer mix puppies Missy & Buzz moved in with me, they were only 8 weeks old and ready to explore this world!
Since they were my first puppies I ever raised, I wanted to make sure I did everything the “right” way.
So I read quite a few books while I was waiting for them to turn 8 weeks old and come live with me.
I will say, I got a lot of stuff right but also learned a few lessons along the way that I was later able to pass down to some of my dog walking and pet sitting clients.
Keeping that in mind, my guide works whether you’re a first-time puppy parent or looking to refresh your puppy proofing knowledge.
Ready to check it out?
Let’s take a look!
10 Easy Ways to Puppy Proof Your Home
- 1. Store Household Chemicals Safely
- 2. Puppy Proof Plants
- 3. Puppy Proof Fence
- 4. Pick Up Small Objects
- 5. Pick Up Your Shoes
- 6. Protect Your Furniture
- 7. Puppy Proof Low Hanging Objects
- 8. Puppy Proof Electrical Cords
- 9. Puppy Proof Trash Cans
- 10. Puppy Proof Restricted Areas
First things first, please understand that puppy-proofing is a gradual process that adapts as your puppy grows and learns.
It requires a combination of supervision, training, and thoughtful adjustments.
By investing a little time and effort into creating a safe environment, you’ll be setting the stage for a happy, healthy, and worry-free life together.
1. Store Household Chemicals Safely
Keep all cleaning supplies, detergents, and other household chemicals locked away in cabinets or high shelves, as they can be toxic to puppies if ingested.
If you have a garage, check it for dangerous items and move them out of reach for your pup. Examples are:
- Toxic automotive liquids such as antifreeze
- Any car cleaning supplies
2. Puppy Proof Plants
Quite a few common houseplants are toxic to dogs.
That said, here’s a list of some common toxic plants that can be harmful to dogs if ingested:
- Lily of the Valley
- Tulip bulbs
- Daffodil bulbs
- Sago Palm
- Autumn Crocus
- Castor Bean
- English Ivy
- Aloe Vera (if ingested in large quantities)
- Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
So keep plants on high shelves or hanging baskets to prevent your puppy from chewing or ingesting them.
If you have a yard, check it for dangerous plants & weeds, herbs & vegetables if you grow any.
Consider blocking off your garden area with the ideas below to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics:
- Traditional fencing
- Decorate picket fence
- Mesh or metal panels
- Hedges or shrubs
- Decorative trellis
- Raised garden beds
- Potted plants and containers
- Decorative garden gates
3. Puppy Proof Fence
Puppy-proofing a fence is an important step in ensuring the safety and security of your furry friend in your outdoor space.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to puppy proof a fence:
- Inspect the fence: Begin by thoroughly inspecting your fence for any existing holes, gaps, or loose boards. Look for any potential escape routes or areas where your puppy could squeeze through.
- Patch or repair gaps: If you find any gaps or holes in the fence, use appropriate materials like mesh wire or lattice to patch or repair them. Ensure that the repairs are secure and sturdy to prevent your puppy from slipping through.
- Secure the bottom of the fence: Dogs, especially puppies, are known to dig! To prevent digging under the fence, get wire mesh or dig-proof material along the perimeter. Extend it a few inches below the ground and attach it securely to the base of the fence.
- Install puppy panels or fencing: You can attach puppy panels or additional fencing to the bottom section of the existing fence to minimize gaps and prevent your puppy from slipping through. These panels are usually made of metal or PVC and provide a solid barrier.
- Check for climbable objects: Examine the area around the fence for any objects, such as planters, debris, or furniture, that your puppy could potentially use to climb over the fence. Remove or relocate these objects to eliminate the climbing hazards.
- Eliminate potential hazards: Remove any sharp objects, nails, or exposed wires that your puppy could come into contact with while exploring near the fence. Ensure that the area is clear of toxic plants, chemicals, or other substances that could be harmful if ingested.
But remember, no fence is completely foolproof/puppy proof.
That’s why you’ll always want to supervise your puppy when they’re outside, especially in the early stages of puppy-proofing.
4. Pick Up Small Objects
Puppies are naturally curious and tend to explore the world by chewing on objects.
That’s why you should pick up any small objects inside your home such as:
- Kids toys
- Arts & crafts supplies
Puppies can easily swallow them, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages.
5. Pick Up Your Shoes
The same goes for (expensive) shoe wear.
Shoes, with their various components like laces, eyelets, or small parts, can pose a choking hazard if swallowed.
So storing shoes out of your puppy’s reach helps prevent accidental ingestion and potential choking incidents.
For example, you can keep them in your coat closet.
Other places to keep your shoes safe can be:
Good to know: Puppies love chewing on leather items including leather shoes as it soothes their teething pain.
That’s why you’ll always want to provide your puppy with puppy specific dog chews. They’ll avoid torn leather, gnawed laces, or ruined soles while soothing your puppy’s sore gums!
I’ll mention several options later in this blog post.
6. Protect Your Furniture
Use specific furniture couch covers or blankets to protect your upholstery from potential accidents or scratching until your puppy is properly trained.
Also, remove expensive rugs until your pup is housebroken.
The same goes for other valuables such as vases or artwork until your pup has learned to respect their human environment.
7. Puppy Proof Low Hanging Objects
If you have hanging tablecloths, curtains, or other low-hanging objects, secure them out of your puppy’s reach to prevent tugging or pulling accidents.
Here’s what you can use to secure them:
- Tie-Backs or Holdbacks: Use tie-backs or holdbacks to secure curtains and drapes. These can be decorative ropes, clips, or hooks that hold the fabric away from your puppy’s reach. Install them high enough so that the fabric remains out of their grasp.
- Curtain Rod Brackets: Raise the curtain rod brackets higher on the wall to lift the curtains off the ground and out of your puppy’s reach. This helps prevent them from tugging or pulling on the curtains.
- Hook-and-Loop Fasteners: Attach hook-and-loop fasteners, such as Velcro strips, to the edges of the curtains or tablecloths and to the wall or furniture surface. This provides a secure attachment that keeps the fabric in place and prevents your puppy from pulling them down.
- Temporary Pins or Clips: Use temporary pins or clips to secure the lower edges of curtains or tablecloths to nearby furniture or surfaces. Be sure to use gentle and non-damaging clips to avoid any damage to the fabric.
- Extra Curtain Tip: You can also (temporarily) replace curtains with blinds.
- Tablecloth Clips: If you’re dealing with a tablecloth, consider using tablecloth clips. These are small, decorative objects designed to hold down tablecloths, preventing them from easily being pulled or tugged by your curious puppy. They typically work better than tablecloth weights since they’re less boring for puppies!
8. Puppy Proof Electrical Cords
Puppies love to chew, so make sure to keep electrical cords out of their reach or cover them to prevent chewing accidents.
Here are some effective ways to puppy proof electrical cords:
- Cord Covers: Use cord covers or cord protectors specifically designed to encase electrical cords. These covers are typically made of durable materials, such as plastic or rubber, and provide a barrier between the cords and your puppy’s teeth. They can be easily wrapped around the cords, making them less enticing to chew on.
- Cord Concealers: Install cord concealers or cable management systems that can be affixed to walls or baseboards. These channels allow you to tuck the cords securely inside, keeping them out of your puppy’s reach and minimizing the temptation to chew.
- Cord Shorteners or Winders: Use cord shorteners or winders to bundle up excess cord length and keep them neat and tidy. By reducing the amount of exposed cord, you minimize the risk of your puppy getting tangled in them or chewing on them.
- Cord Clips or Holders: Install cord clips or holders designed for organizing and securing cords. These can be attached to walls, furniture, or baseboards to keep the cords elevated and out of your puppy’s reach.
- Cord Hiding Techniques: Employ cord-hiding techniques like routing cords behind furniture, under carpets or rugs, or through cable management sleeves. This helps keep the cords concealed and inaccessible to your puppy.
- Restructuring or Relocating: If possible, consider rearranging your furniture or repositioning electronic devices to minimize cord exposure. By placing them out of your puppy’s reach or behind barriers, you can reduce the chances of your puppy accessing the cords.
9. Puppy Proof Trash Cans
Keeping trash cans secure around puppies is vital to prevent them from accessing potentially harmful or messy items. For example, spoiled food or broken glass.
Here’s how you can puppy proof your trash cans:
- Use Lidded Trash Cans: Invest in lidded trash cans with secure, tight-fitting lids. Opt for cans with locking mechanisms or heavy lids that require manual effort to open. This helps deter your puppy from easily getting into the trash.
- Place Trash Cans in Enclosed Areas: Position your trash cans in enclosed spaces like your pantry, laundry room, or under sinks. Use childproof latches or locks to ensure that the doors remain closed and prevent your puppy from gaining access.
- Use Weighted or Bottom-Weighted Trash Cans: Select trash cans that are weighted at the bottom or have built-in stability features. This makes it harder for your puppy to tip them over or knock them down in an attempt to access the contents.
- Elevate the Trash Can: Place the trash can on a raised platform or use an elevated trash can holder. This makes it less accessible to your puppy, as they would need to make a concerted effort to reach the can.
- Secure Trash Can Lids with Bungee Cords: For outdoor trash cans or larger bins, you can secure the lids using bungee cords or sturdy straps. Crisscross the cords over the top of the lid to keep it tightly closed and prevent your puppy from opening it.
10. Puppy Proof Restricted Areas
Use baby gates or other barriers to block off areas of your home that you don’t want your puppy to access. For example, staircases or rooms with fragile or valuable items.
Here are ideas to help you block off restricted areas:
- Baby Gates: Install sturdy baby gates or pet gates to block off doorways or staircases leading to restricted areas. Choose gates with vertical bars or solid panels that your puppy can’t squeeze through or jump over. Some gates are pressure-mounted, while others are hardware-mounted for added stability.
- Playpens or Exercise Pens: Set up puppy playpens or exercise pens to create a designated area for your puppy. These portable enclosures can be used to restrict access to certain rooms or parts of the house. They provide a safe and contained space for your puppy to play and explore.
- Furniture or Large Objects: Strategically place furniture or large objects in a way that blocks access to restricted areas. For example, position a bookshelf or a freestanding screen to create a physical barrier. Ensure that the objects are stable and cannot be easily moved by your puppy.
- Closed Doors: Simply keep doors to restricted areas closed and securely latched. This method works well for rooms that you don’t use on a regular basis, or areas that don’t require constant access. Ensure that doors remain closed to prevent your puppy from entering those spaces.
If you have an unfenced pool or spa area, make sure to block that off as well!
One Final Thing On Your Puppy Proofing List
Just when you think you’re done puppy proofing your house, here’s something I suggest you do after you’ve checked off everything else.
Get down on all fours or better yet, lie down on your belly, and look at your surroundings from this “puppy” perspective.
You probably overlooked a few items under your couch or your bed that would be easy for your puppy to get to.
I clearly remember crawling around our apartment to do one last puppy check before Missy & Buzz officially moved in.
It’s a good thing I did because I discovered a few things that needed to be removed:
- Rubber bands
- A nail (don’t ask me how that ended up on the floor..)
- a DVD (yep, back then we had DVDs!)
- A few books
So go ahead, get down on all 4, but don’t forget to stretch before and after!
Supervise And Provide Appropriate Dog Toys
Even once you’ve picked up all loose items and moved dangerous plants and chemicals out of your puppy’s reach, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your puppy as they explore your home.
A great way to redirect their attention from anything inappropriate is to provide them with specific dog chew toys to satisfy their natural chewing instincts.
Limit Your Puppy’s Access To Certain Areas
Limit the pup’s access to only a few rooms in your home during the first weeks.
Less stimuli will keep the initial transitioning stress lower, and provide less opportunity for accidents.
Remember, your pup will likely only have experienced the comfort of his mom & siblings, or the stressful environment of a shelter.
He’ll need some time to get used to his new place.
10 Easy Ways to Puppy Proof Your Home: Bottom Line
Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting and joyful experience.
Those adorable little paws and wagging tail can instantly melt your heart!
But along with the boundless cuteness, puppies also come with endless curiosity and energy, which makes it crucial to puppy proof your living space.
Just like baby-proofing a house, ensuring a safe environment for your furry friend is essential to prevent accidents and keep them out of harm’s way.
Now that you’ve prepared your home for your puppy, make sure that your entire family is on the same page regarding those precautions.
You’ll want to keep them up for the first few weeks or even months of puppyhood. The less stuff you leave out and about, the less trouble your puppy will be able to get into!
Remember, supervision and training are also essential during the puppy-proofing phase.
Gradually allow your puppy access to more areas of the house as they learn what is acceptable to chew and what is off-limits.
Do you have any additional puppy house-proofing tips? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below this blog post!
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