How to puppy proof your house?

Preparing your home, garden and yourself for your new arrival

Before you even get your puppy, there are a few things to think about, like preparing yourself and your home. Although your home is perfect for yourself and your family to live in, it might not necessarily be puppy-friendly enough. Because puppies don’t know the lay of the land yet, you need to prepare your home to keep them safe while teaching them boundaries. So, let’s look at some tips and tricks to keep your puppy out of harm’s way.

Puppy Proof Your Home

When you prepare your home keep the puppy in mind. Look around and ask yourself whether the puppy will be safe and comfortable in each room. As you do this, remove or secure potential hazards and create cosy nooks to ensure a puppy-friendly area. Here are the tips and tricks to prepare your home:

Barricade entrances to off-limits areas. Decide which areas you don’t want your puppy to go, whether it’s rooms you wish to keep dog-free or whether it’s to keep your pup out of harm’s way. For example, some people don’t want dogs to go into their bedrooms. Other times people put a puppy gate at the top and bottom of stairs to keep the pups from falling. So, block the entrances to areas where your puppy could be in harm’s way or where you don’t want them to go.

Lock cleaning chemicals away. Be mindful of where you store your cleaning chemicals. Puppies don’t know that it can make them sick, so they might ingest it if they get the chance. So, be sure that you safely store the cleaning chemicals where your puppy can’t reach them. Even if you keep those supplies in a bottom cabinet, ask yourself whether your puppy will be able to get the door open. If so, consider moving the chemicals to a top-shelf.

Secure loose wires and electric cables. Puppies tend to chew on everything at first, so ensure that your puppy can’t reach the electric wires or cables. It can cause serious electric harm to the pup if s/he chews on one of those wires, and it can even be fatal. Not only can a puppy chew on the cables, but they can trip over them and drag items to fall on top of them, causing unwanted injuries.

Put items on side tables or coffee tables away. Any objects on coffee tables or side tables that are not secure in place can fall over and harm your puppy. So, ask yourself what the likelihood of the item falling down is. If it’s a high probability, secure the item so it won’t fall or store it somewhere else until the puppy is old enough not to bump things off.

Store medications out of reach. Many human medications are hazardous to a dog’s health. So, instead of keeping medicine where a puppy can reach it, store it someplace safe. For example, some people keep their medication on the bedside table, but if your puppy sleeps on your bed, s/he can get hold of the pills.

Keep windows and doors closed. While puppies still figure out how to manoeuvre their bodies, keep doors and windows closed, so they don’t accidentally fall or jump out and get hurt. Be mindful of this, especially if you live in an apartment or where your pup can fall far down.

Ensure that the bin is secured. Puppies are curious little things and will explore anything that smells alluring. It includes accidentally bumping over the trashcan for further investigation. Then the puppies can chew or swallow items that are either not good for their diet, get stuck in their throats, or seriously harm them. So, ensure your trashcan is secured in place or stored away from your pup’s reach.

Keep dangerous house plants out of reach. There are so many houseplants that are toxic to dogs and can cause harmful side effects. So, do some research about the house plants in your area that are hazardous to dogs. Then, if you have some of those, either get rid of them or ensure that your puppy can’t reach them and start chewing on them.

Create a safe space to sleep. Get your puppy a dog bed and blanket or pillow. A puppy must have a place to nap where s/he can feel safe. When these pups were still in a litter, they counted on their littermates and mum to help keep them warm. Now that the puppy doesn’t have that anymore, s/he needs a cosy spot to meet those needs. A dog crate with the door off and a blanket inside is the perfect safety nest for a pup.

Puppy Proof Your Garden

Just like making your home puppy-safe, you should do the same with your garden, paddock, or any outside area your puppy will have access to. Here are some things to consider when doing that:

Fencing so your puppy can’t escape. Ensure that you barricade your outside area properly so your puppy can’t escape. Some fences have large holes where the pup can fit through, so consider adding reinforced material (like mesh) to keep the puppy from squeezing through.

Keep your puppy away from hazardous plants. Again, many garden plants are toxic to dogs. So, research the plants you have in your garden and whether they’re safe for your puppy. If not, consider either getting rid of the plants or putting up barriers so your puppy can’t reach them. WE have already written an article detailing poisonous garden plants, which you might find helpful.

Lock garden or pool chemicals away. Be careful of any garden or pool chemicals lying around. Your puppy can ingest them and get very sick. So, consider locking it away in a shed, cupboard, or shelf high enough so the puppy can’t reach them.

Block access to pools or ponds. Keep in mind that this is only applicable if you’re lucky enough to have a pool or pond built into the ground. Most puppies have an instinct to swim, so a pool or pond isn’t dangerous because a puppy can’t swim. It’s dangerous because the puppies get shocked when falling into the water and panic. They also don’t know where the steps are to exit the water. So, until you didn’t teach this to your puppy numerous times, block access to pools or ponds.

Provide enough shelter from the elements. Give puppies protection from weather elements like the sun, wind, or rain, especially if they will spend most of their time outside. And when it snows, bring your puppy inside. Some people prefer to leave their dogs out when they go to work, and that’s perfectly fine. As long as the dog has a shelter, s/he should be fine. With this in mind, think about how comfortable the puppy will be in the sheltered area. Is it warm enough, cool enough, doesn’t let the wind through, and is water-resistant?

Have fresh water available. Your puppy should always have fresh water available both inside and outside every day (unless your vet advises you otherwise). Puppies can quickly get dehydrated, so they need continuous access to water. And you’ll have to put out fresh water every day to ensure that there aren’t any bacteria, fungus, or parasites that can enter your puppy’s system.

If you have a lawn, keep it trimmed. Ticks and parasites usually like to hide in the long grass. So if you have a yard, ensure that it is cut regularly.

Have a designated toileting area and keep it clean. Create a designated toileting area for your pup and pick up the faeces as soon as possible. It helps keep the site hygienic and prevents the puppy from eating the excretions.

Prepare Yourself

Next, you have to be prepared for all aspects of puppy parenthood. Take some time to research the puppy you’re getting and how to be a good puppy parent. Here are some tips and tricks that might help:

Know what to expect from your puppy

Every puppy is different, so prepare yourself for your specific puppy. You can consult your breeder, the rescue centre, or even your vet. As you do this, find out more about your puppy’s:

  • Feeding schedule: what, how much, how often, and when should s/he eat?
  • House training needs: is s/he housetrained? (if not, read the next chapter) (Separate article on How to toilet-train a puppy?)
  • Amount of exercise needed: It’s usually 5 minutes per month of age daily
  • Your puppy’s character traits: every breed has different character traits, so be prepared for what your puppy’s characteristics may be

Choose your local vet

Look for the local veterinarians in your area and choose one as your go-to vet for your puppy. It’s good to narrow this down because you won’t have time to do this research in an emergency. Also, ensure that you have an emergency number written down.

What will you do with the puppy when you work or travel?

Dogs should usually not be home alone for more than 6 hours. It may be shorter for puppies, especially when they first arrive at their new homes. So, consider taking your puppy to daycare, getting a pet sitter, or having a friend or family member look after the pup. Until you’re confident your puppy can cope when home alone, don’t let them be alone for too long at first.

There is also quite a lot of basic equipment that you will need, such as bowls, crate, collar, toothbrush, etc. (please see our Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Owners for a comprehensive list), it is not essential to purchase everything brand new or at once. It’s best to start with items that are essential for keeping them safe and well-looked after.

Puppies, just like babies, are completely dependent on you and their safety should be your number one priority. It’s a big responsibility but totally worth it!


SUMMARY – Prepare your home

  1. Barricade entrances to off-limits areas
  2. Lock cleaning chemicals away
  3. Secure loose wires and electric cables
  4. Put items on side tables or coffee tables away
  5. Store medications out of reach
  6. Keep windows and doors closed
  7. Ensure that the bin is secured
  8. Keep dangerous house plants out of reach
  9. Create a safe space to sleep

SUMMARY – Prepare Your Garden

  1. Fencing so your puppy can’t escape
  2. Keep your puppy away from hazardous plants
  3. Lock garden or pool chemicals away
  4. Block access to pools or ponds
  5. Provide enough shelter from the elements
  6. Have fresh water available
  7. If you have a lawn, keep it trimmed
  8. If you have a lawn, keep it trimmed
  9. Keep garden tools out of reach

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