National Puppy Day: how to puppy-proof your home
Marking this National Puppy Day Lorna Winter, co-founder and head of training at Zigzag and a Director of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charterand, offers her top tips for puppy proofing your home...
- Time for a home audit!
This means sitting down in your house and taking a good look around. What might be dangerous for your puppy? Write down everything you see that you think could be a hazard. Check for dangers like electrical cables, cleaning supplies, strings from hanging blinds, poisonous plants, small ornaments or sharp objects, expensive rugs etc.
- Put your plants on a pedestal
Puppies LOVE to sniff - they want to explore their new environment, including plants. It’s important that you keep plants on a high ledge where your puppy isn't likely to knock and/ or ingest the plant. Some plants are toxic for dogs and may cause gastrointestinal upset or vomiting. Essentially, puppy-proofing is about making sure your puppy’s world has nothing dangerous in it!
- Scan for small objects
Your pup will think that everything and anything it can pick up, big or small, is a toy that must be played with and put in their mouth. Clearing away any small objects that could be a choking hazard to your pup will stop you from worrying if you take your eyes off them for a short time. This also includes things like batteries, remote controls, electronic toys and key fobs - it’s also a good idea to pack those expensive shoes away somewhere safe!
- Roll up the rugs
As new puppies are not toilet trained they can be prone to peeing on the floor, which is completely normal, however, it does mean that puppy-proofing your home may involve rolling up any expensive rugs. As well as peeing, your puppy may chew on them too so it's probably best to just pack them away for a while! Don’t worry, as soon as your puppy is toilet-trained, that lovely teddy rug can come back out.
- Create the space
A key part of making your puppy feel safe is creating a space for them where they can sniff, play and sleep to their heart's content. Shutting off the doors to rooms such as bathrooms (where your puppy may drink the toilet water) as well as any other rooms which may have small, hazardous objects lying around is the best way to keep them safe, and make them feel nice and secure.
6) Keep the bins away
Rummaging around for food, whether it's fresh or not-so-fresh, isn’t a deterrent for pups. Locking bin lids and putting the recycling out is a good way to stop your pup from dragging your chicken carcass from last Sunday's roast around your home!
7) Stay clear on cleaning products
Make sure any cleaning products you use are pet-safe and non-toxic. Also, make sure they are kept locked up safely, you don’t want your pup getting hold of your floor cleaner! Some super smart pups have even been known to open cupboards and draws, so keep these items locked away nice and safe.
Once you’ve closed off any potentially harmful rooms; that’s where the fun can start. Creating a puppy play-pen full of their favourite toys, blankets and chews will create a safe place for your puppy to play and relax in.
It’s an incredibly exciting time bringing your pup home that first time and those first few weeks together are precious moments you’ll never forget. So - let’s ensure those precious memories are full of cuddles and playtime, and not emergency trips to the vet! Just think about your pup coming home, in the same way, you would a little toddler who has just discovered they have legs and can ‘find’ things. This way, with a little safety proofing - you’ll keep them out of trouble, and out of the vets, which means you’ll have a safe, happy and content puppy to spend your days with.