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Puppy proofing, for a safe home.

Male Boxer, Daku, 5 months.
Male Boxer, Daku, 5 months.
Picture (c) Erika Wisan

     So you just bought a puppy and you would like to puppy proof your home. Here are some tips and methods you can use to ensure that your belongings do not get destroyed.

     Keeping wires out of reach is a smart method that can prevent loss of phone chargers, computer cables and T.V. cables along with the guarantee of the puppies’ health. Electric shock can occur to dogs that chew through wires. It is always safer, and less expensive to keep the wires out of reach rather than take a puppy to the vet or replace damages. If you have a phone charger out in the open, try to keep it out of reach by placing a night stand in front of it and keeping it hidden. Computer wires can be taped to the back of the desk using duct tape and/or cable ties. T.V. wires may be able to remain concealed behind an entertainment center if appropriate.

     Furniture can be saved by damaging puppy teeth by spraying the area with a product called Bitter Apple spray. It will not harm the puppy but they do not like the taste and it will keep them from chewing on larger objects.

     Always put shoes away. Shoes are most commonly chewed by puppies because they are easily accessible. When taking off your shoes, create a habit of putting them into a closet and not leaving them where the puppy can reach. Puppies cannot be expected to understand they are off limits. Training will occur later on, but young dogs cannot assume.

     Do not leave anything on the floor that you do not intend for them to chew. Along with shoes, the easily accessible items are what the puppy will go for. Rubber bands, coins, jewelry, needles and other small items that can be swallowed are a danger. Boxes, bags, litter boxes and other various items should be kept out of reach. Assuming their toys are kept on the floor when provided it is hard for young puppies to distinguish good and bad. Learning the differences and calming down as they age will also prevent them from damages later on.

     Some stores also may carry stuffed shoes, or for an inexpensive way to give them something to chew on you may give them an old sock. These two ideas are bad because they are confusing. They will not be able to distinguish old socks from new socks, what they see is sock and sock. Same idea applies to stuffed shoes vs. real shoes, even though the materials may vary.
Always keep the toilet lid down. It is self explanatory and a habit that can easily be prevented. As long as they do not learn from an early age the wonders of drinking from a toilet, older dogs do not tend to explore as often.

     Trash can exploring can also be a horrible habit to break later on. Keep the bathroom trash safe by closing the bathroom door. Kitchen trash can be avoided by placing it in a cupboard if available or buying one with a lid. If neither is accessible then make a loud noise that will distract them whenever they get curious. Clapping or shaking a can full of pennies whenever they venture towards the trash is sufficient.

     Many household items can be toxic. Cleaners and plants can be harmful to puppies. Toxic household plants and outdoor plants should be checked. Cleaning items, antifreeze and poison control (such as insecticides and poisons) are among the list of items your puppy should never be able to reach. Ashtrays are also harmful if the contents are ingested. Keep drugs of all kinds out of reach such as over the counter or prescription.

     Make sure that outdoors there is no potential pool or water hazard and that there is not holes in the fence. If a puppy can escape, it will. They naturally want to explore.

     A puppy can be in many ways like a child. Safety latches on cabinets, keeping harmful objects out of reach and keeping your items safe are common between them. Keeping a dog-friendly environment will keep your dog safe.