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Puppy Proofing - Getting your Home Ready

Cute-puppy-sleeping-in-hammock

Bringing your puppy home for the first time is a lot like having a baby – only this new arrival has the ability to chew straight through electrical cables or your favourite pair of shoes! It will mean a few sleepless nights, undoubtedly a few little “accidents” and a period of mess and upheaval but it will be all worth it, we promise!

From digging up your fragile flowers to unravelling an entire string of tinsel from the Christmas tree, getting a puppy is not for the faint-hearted or the houseproud. That's why planning ahead is key to enjoying these first few weeks.

From budgeting and researching the best quality puppy food, finding a great local vet for health checks and vaccinations, as well as buying bedding and a good supply of toys, there's a lot to prepare before welcoming your new furry family member into your home. For some advice on all the puppy essentials you will need, you can check these "Must-Haves in your Puppy ToolKit".

There are also a few precautions you can take in advance to prevent your cute bundle of joy from completely destroying your home.


MAKE LIKE A PUPPY…

… by getting down on your hands and knees and crawling around your home. Yes, the neighbours will think you’ve lost your marbles (they already do anyway...), but getting a dog’s-eye view will give you a good idea of all the potential dangers that lurk around your home.


Remove potential hazards, such as hanging tablecloths (which can be pulled down, along with any heavy objects on top of it). Put poisons, medicines and cleaning products in cupboards complete with childproof locks.

Remove loose nails, plastic bags or other tempting objects that are in reach. Pick up buttons, string, sewing needles, pins and other sharp objects, and look out for anything small enough to be swallowed (particularly coins or stones).

If your puppy swallows any of these objects, they may cause damage to the mouth and internal organs. String and other entangling objects like curtain pulls may cause abrasions or strangulation. Buy cable protectors for electrical and data cords around your home.


INSIDE THE HOME

#1. Keep the toilet seat down

Puppies are often tempted to play in or drink the toilet bowl water. This habit can be very hard to break. It’s unsanitary and toilet cleaning products may be harmful if swallowed.

#2. Garbage

Household garbage is one of the most common sources of things that can make a puppy sick. Spoiled food, sharp lids and discarded toxic materials are just a few of the risks that can lurk inside. And with its tempting smell of food scraps, the kitchen waste can is sure to be of interest. 

Use a bin with a lid that closes securely, or put it in an inaccessible place when you’re not home. 

Remember that your puppy will be eager to investigate wastebaskets (apparently those containing dirty tissues have a special appeal...) in other rooms of your house as well.


#3. Buy a playpen or baby gates


It may not be a good idea to let your puppy play unsupervised at first, until he’s toilet-trained and out of the ‘chew everything in sight’ stage. 

Baby gates that keep certain areas of your home out of bounds are a great way to keep him safe. Failing that, you can even buy a crate or a puppy playpen. 

These will give him adequate room to move and play until you can give him your full attention again.


#4. Help him feel secure


While all puppies like to chew and play, they are more likely to be destructive if they feel unhappy or insecure. Before you take your puppy home, give the breeder a soft blanket or towel to put in with his mum, so it picks up the scent of the litter, and then using this to line your new puppy dog bed. 

You may want your pup to sleep in the laundry or kitchen away from the family eventually, but it may be a good idea to let him sleep in your bedroom initially, before moving him to the landing and downstairs when required. In cases where your puppy has to sleep in a room away from you, a night light and a ticking clock or soft music may help him to sleep better.

#5. Stop the chewing


If your puppy chews up your most expensive pair of shoes, you may be upset. But look at things from his point of view. All puppies chew – the very act releases endorphins and makes them feel happy. But if he’s bored or lonely, the chewing can get out of hand and may be a sign that your pup is suffering from separation anxiety.

Shoes smell powerfully of their owner and chewing them may be your pup’s way of feeling close to you once you’ve gone. You can keep your shoes out of reach and provide plenty of chew toys for appropriate chewing or puzzle toys to stimulate his mind as it is important to find a way to relieve his loneliness whilst you're away at work.
Shar-pei-dog-with-toy
Perhaps a friend or neighbour could pop in once a day to keep him company? Most people love puppies and would jump at the chance to pet one!

If you're working long hours and don't have the time and energy that your dog requires for a daily walk or playtime for mental stimulation, why not consider using one of your local dog walking services or doggie daycare facilities?

Your puppy will get out of the house and enjoy a fun-filled day of play and socialisation and you will be happy knowing your pooch is receiving special care and attention.

PROOFING YOUR BACKYARD 

If you have a fenced yard, terrific! Walk around your fencing and look for any place that your puppy might be able to squeeze through or under. See if anything else in the backyard needs puppy proofing.

Do not let your puppy near a swimming pool, spa or dam where he could fall in and drown.


Many indoor and outdoor plants, flowers and shrubs are poisonous. To check what plants to avoid, check with your veterinarian or read our post on "Common Plants Toxic to Your Dog".
Also, don't let your new puppy eat his way through your vegetable garden! 

Plan your potty-training arrangements. Where do you want the puppy to do its stuff? How will you clean it up

Don't use fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides on the ground in your puppy's area if possible. If these chemicals must be used, keep the puppy off the lawn for at least 48 hours afterwards. 

By preparing your home ahead of time for this inquisitive, adventurous new family member, and keeping careful watch over him once he arrives, you’ll help ensure that he’ll grow up to be your happy, healthy companion for years to come.

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