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Puppy-proofing your home and yard

Puppies love getting into things that's why it's important you take the time to puppy-proof your home and yard. Picture Shutterstock
Puppies love getting into things that's why it's important you take the time to puppy-proof your home and yard. Picture Shutterstock

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There's nothing more adorable than a puppy. They add joy to your life the moment they walk into it. But puppies, like their feline counterparts, can be a nuisance at times. Their enormous curiosity and seemingly boundless energy combine to make them a bit of a handful, to put it mildly.

Puppies love getting into things, especially things they shouldn't get into. That's why it's so important that you take the time to puppy-proof your home and yard.

This article lists all the steps you should take to create a safe and comfortable living space for your furry new friend (and yourself!). Ideally, these things should be done before you bring the puppy into your home. If that's not possible, do them immediately afterwards.

Note also that it's never too soon to begin training your dog. Having a well-trained dog eliminates a lot of the hazards discussed in the following paragraphs.


If you have a habit of leaving food out on the counters and other areas of the kitchen, you'll need to change your ways. Dogs love human food and rarely miss a chance to gobble some up. The main problem here is that dogs are sometimes attracted to foods which are toxic to them. Chocolate, xylitol (an artificial sweetener used in chewing gum and other things), onions, garlic, and avocado are a few examples of foods that can make dogs very sick.

To be on the safe side, you should keep all human food where your puppy can't get it. It's also critical that you store cleaning products, detergents, and other chemicals out of reach. Keep a lid on your trash bins, and keep the doors of your pantry, cupboards, and cabinets closed at all times.

Many dog owners choose to buy child safety locks for this purpose. You can find them online and have a courier company send the parcel right to your doorstep.

Lastly, don't leave plastic bags lying around, as they're a suffocation hazard for puppies.

Living room and bedrooms

Puppy-proofing your living room and bedrooms involves a few things. Foremost among them is covering and/or hiding all your exposed electrical cords. Puppies are prodigious chewers, and for obvious reasons you don't want them chewing on wires and cables.

Consider routing your cords around the perimeter of your living room where the floor meets the wall, and taping them in place. Bundle cords and cables whenever possible. Unplug lamps, laptops, oil diffusers, and so on when they're not in use. And train your dog to understand that these things are not for chewing.

If you have house plants in your living room (or any other room), ensure they're not toxic to dogs. The importance of this can't be overstated. Certain plants are toxic enough to cause severe illness and even death. Some of them are very common.

Examples of plants you should not have in the house if you own a dog include:

  • Sago palm
  • Tulips
  • Snake plant
  • Hibiscus
  • Aloe vera
  • Milkweed
  • Azalea
  • Dumbcane
  • Elephant's ear


Yes, puppies will drink from the toilet bowl if you let them and they could even fall in, which is dangerous in addition to being gross. Keep the seat and lid in the down position whenever the toilet is not in use. Of course, you should also take the time to train your pup to know that toilet water is not for drinking.

For many people, the bathroom is the main storage room for medications, along with hair and skincare products, and accessories like hair clips and bobby pins. All of which should be kept out of reach of your dog. Medications are especially dangerous, as dogs have been known to ingest pills and other medicines that are intended for humans, which can be highly toxic.

You can keep your puppy out of your bathroom altogether by using a baby gate. They're widely available online and can be delivered by any company that offers road freight and express courier services.

Yard and garage

Unlike cats, which are often kept indoors for their entire lives, dogs need a regular dose of fresh air. Also, if you have a house with a yard, your yard will serve as your dog's toilet.

Puppy-proofing your yard isn't as straightforward as puppy-proofing your kitchen, but there are still a few things you can and should do to make it more dog-friendly.

As with houseplants, your garden should not contain any plants that are toxic to dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a full list of toxic plants on its website.

Strongly consider putting a fence around the perimetre of your backyard. Doing so enables you to control your dog's outdoor environment, which goes a long way in keeping him or her safe. If you don't have a fence, make sure that your puppy's outings are supervised from start to finish.

Pools are generally safe for dogs, so long as the pool is well-maintained. Still, exercise caution.

Do not leave any machines, landscaping equipment, gardening tools, etc. around the yard. Put them back in the garage as soon as you're finished.

Speaking of the garage, this is one of the most hazardous areas for a puppy. Most garages contain a variety of sharp and/or heavy objects, not to mention pesticides, fertilizer, anti-freeze, and other harmful chemicals.

It's imperative that you store these things in such a way that makes it impossible for your puppy to access them. Moreover, use boundary training to teach him or her that the garage is off-limits.