One thing you’ll definitely want to do prior to getting a puppy, and also when you bring them into the place you’re living, is puppy proof that place.
Puppy proofing can serve two important functions:
1. Protect your puppy (from sharp objects, from electric shock, from escaping the house and running onto the road, and so on)
2. Protect your possessions, and the inside of your house/apartment (or backyard)
We’ve put together a list of the best and most helpful tips for puppy proofing your house, apartment or backyard.
This guide can be seen as complementary to our guide on considerations for leaving a puppy home for the first time.
Let’s check out the puppy proofing tips below …
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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How To Puppy Proof Your House, Apartment Or Backyard
How To Puppy Proof Your House Or Apartment
Some tips to take into consideration might be:
1) Confine your puppy to one part of the house or one room in the first few weeks
In the first few weeks your puppy is going to be getting comfortable with you, with the house, exploring the world, peeing and pooping everywhere and generally being an excited and energetic little soul.
In this time it helps to keep them confined to one part of the house, or one room when you have to go off to work and leave them alone.
You limit where they can move and what they can interact with, but you also keep mess to one spot as well which helps with cleaning up.
2) Use newspaper or puppy pads to protect carpets and floors until housetrained
Whether you are isolating them to a spare room, a lounge room, a laundry or wherever in your house, placing some newspaper or puppy pads down is a good idea.
Newspaper isn’t waterproof, but will save some of the clean up. Puppy pads are made to absorb liquid, catch poop, deodorise mess and be leak proof.
This protects your floors, minimises clean up and makes it easy to dispose of pads/newspaper.
3) Know how to disinfect, clean up and deodorise mess and doggy accidents
No matter how much planning and isolating and housetraining you do, your puppy is still going to leave accidents for you inside in the first few weeks you have them.
Having some cleaning and deodorising supplies, and know how to clean up will help you be prepared and keep your house looking and smelling fresh and clean.
Check out these guides for more info on cleaning and deodorising pet mess and stains:
- Break up, disinfect and remove/clean up puppy mess and stains
- and, deodorise and leave puppy stains smelling fresh and clean
4) Turn off power points and appliances when not in use, and put away power cords
Puppies can be drawn to power cords like bees to honey.
Put power cords behind cabinets and out of reach of puppies, and make sure appliances are turned off in areas your puppy is (especially when unsupervised), just in case.
5) Put away anything they will chew, and replace with dog toys, bones and other mentally stimulating items
Beanbags, clothes, bags of food, the edges of table cloths – really anything that you value, or can make a big mess.
I’ve seen kitchens and lounge rooms COVERED in dog food or bean bag foam from puppies that have torn apart bean bags or bags of dog food when left unsupervised.
Rolls of paper are also popular items for puppies to see how much mess they cause.
Having dog toys, large uncooked meaty bones (as long as OK’d by your vet) and things like BPA free plastic containers will help your puppy keep stimulated while you’re away.
6) Keep human food out of reach
Raisins, chocolate and grapes are just a few of the human foods that dogs can’t eat.
It’s best to keep all human food in the cupboard or in the fridge and away from your puppy.
7) Lock away chemicals and household cleaning products
Washing machine powders, dishwasher powders, house cleaners, bleaches, mineral turpentine – anything that is hazardous or toxic you’ll want to lock away – especially after use.
Get it out, use it and then put it back away straight away.
8) Lock off rooms you don’t want your puppy to enter
Make sure the doors are closed to any rooms you don’t want your puppy to enter and explore.
Walking in to find a poop in the middle of your bedroom floor or your pillow torn to pieces is never fun.
9) Cover over expensive furniture, and put away things they might damage or jump on
Throwing an old sheet over expensive furniture and chairs, or replacing them with old ones from your shed, especially in common areas might be a smart idea.
Chewing, jumping on, leaving dirt on or even peeing/pooping on furniture is something your puppy might do.
10) Cover up or shut away anything your puppy can get stuck in or harmed by
Washing machines, the back of lounges, down the sides of beds, under cupboards…
Puppies are small and most are mischievous and will get into any crevice they can physically access.
If you have a balcony on an apartment, it’s worth putting up a temporary barrier to the balcony whilst your puppy is still learning where they can and can’t go.
Pay attention to things like heaters – the outside iron/steel on some heaters can get hot to touch, so keep them away from a puppies face and paws.
Also, anything sharp or anything that could fall on your puppy and harm them you’ll want to tidy up or make safer. An iron cord dangling down from an ironing board is an example of this – you don’t want your puppy pulling it and the iron falling on your puppy.
11) Make sure doors leading outside, and windows are full closed
Some puppies are escape artists.
Make sure doors leading outside and windows – especially the ones on your front yard side – are fully closed so puppy doesn’t escape.
For people who live in apartments – ABSOLUTELY make sure doors to balconies are closed at all times.
12) A puppy litter tray will help for people with apartments
You should really only be getting a tiny-small dog if you live in an apartment, and even then, you still want regular access to outdoor areas for your dog to walk and play.
If for what ever reason your dog can’t get outside all the time to do their business, a doggy litter tray can help in these situations.
Something like the Puppy Go Here Indoor Litter Tray (on Amazon) might be a good option.
13) Consider pet gates as barriers to stairs or areas of the house you don’t want your puppy going
Pet gates and dog gates are a good idea for creating barriers to parts of the house that you cant block off with doors.
They might also be good if you have a baby in the house and you don’t fully trust your puppy with your baby when left unsupervised yet.
Pet gates come in different heights and different widths for different applications.
How To Puppy Proof Your Backyard
Letting your puppy out in the back yard is not only important to give them some exercise and to explore the world, but also to teach them important things like house training and where to go potty.
If your puppy is exploring around your yard, you’ll not only want to supervise them closely in the first few weeks, but you’ll want to puppy proof the backyard
The following are some tips you might consider:
1) Walk around the boundary of your yard, and make a list of all the things your puppy can access within 1 to 2 metres high
This is a good thing to do first. Walk around the perimeter of your yard, and within your yard, and make a list of all the things your puppy can access within 1 to 2 meters high.
2) Put away anything sharp, cover it up, or remove it
Sharp objects might include gardening tools, the edges of metal lying around or things like exposed steel sticking out of walls or other objects.
Put them away, cover them up or blunt off the edges of sharp objects.
3) Put away anything toxic
Usually all the toxic chemicals are stored in your shed, but you might have things like cleaning products, fertilisers, pool chlorine and gardening chemicals lying around that your pup can get access to.
Put them away in a cupboard or lock them inside a shed.
4) Make neat and put away anything your pup can get tangled in
We are talking things like ropes, cords and any lines that might be hanging down on the ground.
Put them out of reach of your puppy, or organise them into a neat pile and put them away.
5) Pick up and put away any choking hazards
Any small little objects like broken pieces of plastic, broken toys, or break offs of bones that your dog can pick up and swallow.
6) Put away chewing hazards
Puppies go through teething up until about 6 months of age, so they do lots of chewing.
Anything and everything your puppy might like to pick up or lath onto and chew it’s safer to put away out of their reach.
Outdoor power cords especially are something that you want to make sure your puppy doesn’t get chewing on.
7) Turn off outside power points, and heaters when not in use
Whether it’s been raining or not, and whether there are cords connected to the power points, it’s a safe idea to turn off outdoor power supplies or outdoor heaters when not in use
8) Do you spray the lawn or treat the garden with anything that can harm your pup?
Do you spray the lawn with anything, or treat the garden with any sprays or mixes that might cause harm to your pup? Things like pesticides and limestone can be toxic for or burn your puppy, so watch out.
You may want to discontinue use.
9) Do you have any poisonous or nasty plants in the backyard
Things like stinging plants, rose bushes or things like toxic mushrooms that might grow after heavy rain.
Either get rid of them or keep your pup well isolated from them.
10) Block off escape routes in fences, and lock gates
Definitely lock the gates around your yard and don’t leave them open at any point.
Block off or fix any holes in fences, or holes going under fences that your pup might be able to squeeze through or escape through.
If you’ve got a small fence, it may be time to replace or upgrade it.
11) Put away anything that could fall on your pup
Objects that might be top heavy like outdoor heaters, and materials that could fall on your pup like bundles of bricks or other heavy materials should be organised safely.
12) Pick up poop regularly
Even healthy dogs can have poop containing pathogens/viruses.
Pick up your puppy’s poop regularly to avoid them sniffing around it, licking it or rolling in it.
13) Lock sheds
Lock any main sheds or garden sheds. The last thing you want is your puppy getting into the shed and sniffing around all those harmful chemicals.
14) Make sure there is fresh water
More a preventative than an out and out danger, but make sure your puppy has fresh water in the back yard at all times so they don’t resort to drinking out of puddles or your pool
15) Watch the weather
An underrated one, but if it’s very cold or very hot outside, you probably wan’t to keep a young puppy inside.
Also, if you get a lot of direct sun where you are and you have a dog with light fur, be careful of letting them out in direct sun too long because puppies can get sunburnt, and even skin cancer.
16) Don’t let puppy near the pool
If you have a pool in your backyard, don’t let your puppy near it – even if it has a pool cover.
Puppies can very easily fall into a pool without making much of a sound because of their light bodyweight.
Having a gate around your pool helps or keeping your puppy inside until you know they are bigger and know how to swim and get out safely by themselves.
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