K9sOverCoffee | 10 Easy Ways To Puppy Proof Your Home

10 Easy Ways to Puppy Proof Your Home

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!

How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house:Puppies Missy and Buzz in their crate
Buzz (left) and Missy (right) settling into their new home

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

10 easy ways to puppy proof your house

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
  • Pesticides
Keeping my cleaning supplies out of puppy reach
Storing my cleaning supplies high up on a shelf, out of reach of puppies

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:

  1. Azalea
  2. Lily of the Valley
  3. Tulip bulbs
  4. Daffodil bulbs
  5. Sago Palm
  6. Oleander
  7. Hydrangea
  8. Autumn Crocus
  9. Castor Bean
  10. English Ivy
  11. Yew
  12. Aloe Vera (if ingested in large quantities)
  13. Philodendron
  14. Dieffenbachia
  15. Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

Check out the ASPCA’s comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs here.

So keep plants on high shelves or hanging baskets to prevent your puppy from chewing or ingesting them.

Keep plants out of reach of puppies when you puppy proof your home
Keep your plants out of puppy reach

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.

Puppy proof fence
There’s no holes, gaps or loose boards in this fence!

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:

  • Buttons
  • Coins
  • Kids toys
  • Arts & crafts supplies

Puppies can easily swallow them, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages.

Pick up small objects when you puppy proof your house
Pick up small objects like your kids’ toys!

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:

Use a shoe shelf organiser with doors when puppy proofing your home
Use a shoe storage system with doors

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.

Lounging on the couch with my puppies Missy & Buzz
Missy & Buzz with yours truly on the couch lined with a blanket

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.
Puppy proofing a garden with raised beds
Hiding one of our electrical 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.
Securing an under sink area with a childproof latch
Placing a child-and puppy-proof latch on an under-sink area

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.
Puppy proof your home with baby gates
Securing stairs with a baby gate

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:

  • Hairbands
  • 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.

For example:

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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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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23 responses to “10 Easy Ways to Puppy Proof Your Home”

  1. 2 brown dawgs blog Avatar

    Those are fabulous tips and we have used most of them. I would add, keep throw rugs away from the crate. We only had one of the three that could pull a throw rug into the crate to chew. Still cannot figure out how it was accomplished but it was, more than a time or two…lol.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you for the throw rug tip πŸ˜‰ BOL!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thanks, guys! Just in case you want to add a few more puppies to your gang πŸ˜‰

  2. Earl Lover Avatar

    An incredibly important subject!

  3. Kate Obrien Avatar
    Kate Obrien

    Great tips. We haven’t had a puppy in a loooong time, but we used most of these tips to keep us sane.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thanks, Kate – yes, keeping my sanity throughout puppyhood was a crucial factor in deciding which measures to implement πŸ˜‰

  4. Tenacious Little Terrier Avatar
    Tenacious Little Terrier

    We’re terrible dog proofers so it’s a good thing we don’t have a puppy. Mr. N doesn’t get into stuff so….

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Very nice, Mr. N, for not getting into stuff! I have to say that the pups have earned our trust around the house and don’t get into things. With the exception of Missy’s affinity for the bathroom trash can…which is why we keep it locked away under the sinks.

  5. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

    Lol. I thought this meant “puppy proof” as in keep someone from bringing home more puppies. Because I want like 200 more pugs! I keep threatening Pete he will come home to a house full one day. Haha

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Haha, not quite πŸ˜‰ I hear you though…please DO bring home 200 more pugs. That picture of 202 pugs would probably become an internet sensation in no time!!

  6. Diane Silver Avatar

    I agree! We still take preventative measures! Rocco’s naughty of choice was unrolling and shredding the toilet paper. I had to keep it up (off the holder) or the bathroom doors shut when he was a puppy!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      HA! Thanks for adding the toilet paper roll precaution!! I don’t think Missy & Buzz ever got into the unrolling/shredding tp roll business. But a client pup of mine once did πŸ˜‰

  7. Emma Avatar
    Emma

    Those little ones always find something to get into and the moment you forget and leave something out, they get it!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      That is exactly right! They’re better than any maid at finding things that were dropped πŸ˜‰

  8. Elaine Avatar

    Fantastic tips, Barbara! I especially like #10. That would have prevented Haley from chewing through a speaker wire behind the couch that I forgot about when she was a puppy. Luckily, it was just a speaker wire and not an electrical cord with current running through it. Yikes!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you, Elaine! Yes, the army crawl throughout the apartment really payed off πŸ˜‰ We also put some electrical cords out of puppy reach. Missy, our little escape artist & explorer puppy, was a master at wiggling her little body underneath the couch. She’d tease Buzz from under there πŸ˜‰

    2. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      P.S. I meant to tell you that my request for press credentials were approved by the Global Pet Expo – so I’ll be going to Orlando as well! So exciting! We HAVE to meet up!!

      1. Elaine Avatar

        That’s awesome, I’m glad you’re going! I’m so bummed that it looks like I might not be going this year. Haley chased some deer through the yard last week and hurt her knee and after our vet appointment this afternoon, we learned that she ruptured her CCL and needs to have surgery next Monday. I’ll have to see how she’s recuperating, but I’ll probably need to stay home and work with her rehab. I was really looking forward to going and it would be so fun to meet up at the expo. I’ll keep you posted though and see how it’s going. Bummed πŸ™

        1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

          Oh no!!!! Poor Haley girl – of course you need to stay home with her. I’m so sorry you’re facing this.

  9. Julie Smith Avatar
    Julie Smith

    I remember puppy proofing our house for Cocoa. We never had a puppy before and really did not plan on getting one so we were not ready!! She still finds things she should not and we are like, where did she find that!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Lol, she’s still a puppy at heart πŸ˜‰

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