puppy proofing tips for your home yard and car | Pupford

21 Puppy Proofing Tips for Your Home, Yard and Car

So you just became a puppy parent, yay! Now (or hopefully before you actually got your puppy)… you need to puppy proof everything!

Bringing home your new pooch is full of excitement, for both you and the puppy.

With that excitement comes wanting to explore their new home, learning the smells, the sites, the textures, and the sounds.

And while exploring new environments is great for puppy socialization, it can sometimes lead to a new puppy getting into trouble, or even danger.

Puppy proofing will help keep pups safe so they can explore with less worry.

We’ve put together a list of tips to have a puppy-proof home, to help you make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Note: Make sure to keep a close eye on your puppy. Although these tips are a good way to help keep your dog safe, they are NOT a replacement for supervision, training, and controlling the environment!

You can use this table of contents to jump around different areas you will need to puppy proof:

So let’s get into the top 21 tips for a puppy proof house!

Puppy Proofing Tips for the Home

a puppy in a puppy proofed area of a home | Pupford

Since your home is where you and your pup spend most of your time, it’s no surprise that the bulk of our tips are for inside your house.

Later on, I’ll cover general house puppy-proofing tips. But for now, let’s take this room by room.

Puppy Proofing Tips for the Kitchen

puppy proofing your kitchen | Pupford

TL;DR – Here’s what you should do to puppy proof your kitchen:

  • Put away cleaning products
  • Keep your garbage covered
  • Keep food out of reach
  • Clean counters daily
  • Don’t leave plastic bags out
  • Secure sharp objects
  • Childproof lock your cabinets

Your dog will probably get familiar with your kitchen pretty quickly.

Don’t believe us?

Just open that snack draw and see how quickly those little paws come running. But the kitchen can also pose a number of dangers to your puppy, so here are some puppy proofing tips for your kitchen!

Put Away Your Cleaners

You may want to keep your kitchen/household cleaners on hand for convenience, but they can be dangerous to your dog.

Keep them in locked areas or on high shelves that aren’t accessible.

Keep Your Garbage Covered

Your kitchen garbage can is home to so many smells that will make your dog curious. It’s also filled with things that dogs shouldn’t eat.

Not to mention, your dog getting into your garbage is just a big smelly mess.

So keep it tightly covered and/or put it in a place your dog can’t get to.

Just trust us, you’ll avoid lots of headaches and other problems by doing so!

Keep Food Out of Reach

keep food away from your puppy and out of their reach | Pupford

You’ve all seen the memes — the family is upset about a missing roast chicken only to see the ‘guilt’ in their dog’s eyes.

Dogs are food motivated by nature, so they will usually go for food that’s left on tables or counters within their reach.

This can be a big problem if the food in question is dangerous to your dog. But even if it’s not dangerous food, having your dog eat an entire chicken and veggie dinner isn’t the best idea.

Curious about what fruits and veggies are safe for dogs? Check out this article.

Clear Your Counters Daily

The best way to avoid counter surfing is to make an effort to clear your counters daily.

This will also prevent your pup from getting to any other dangerous countertop items. Which brings us to our next two tips ?

Don’t Leave Your Plastic Bags Out

Plastic bags are a suffocation risk for dogs. However, the noise they make certainly piques your pup’s attention.

Plus, if you’ve just come home from the grocery store and had food in the bags, the smells will be tempting.

Make sure to put plastic bags out of reach as soon as you are done using them to avoid a dangerous situation.

Secure Sharp Objects

Knives and other kitchen tools with sharp edges should never be left out when your dog is home. They can easily cut their paws if they jump up to the counter or injure their mouths if they try to chew or lick it.

Childproof Lock Your Cabinets

If you have cabinets below your sink or anywhere within your dog’s reach, secure them with childproof locks — especially if your cabinet has cleaners or pantry items that are dangerous for dogs.

Don’t think your dog can figure out how to open doors and cabinets? Think again…

Puppy Proofing Your Living Room

dog in a puppy proofed living room | Pupford

TL;DR – Here is how you should puppy proof your living room:

  • Secure electrical cords
  • Close and secure windows and doors
  • Secure furniture and fireplaces
  • Cover your couch

The living room is where your family probably spends a lot of time, so these next few tips will keep your newest family member safe there!

Secure Electrical Cords

You don’t want your dog to get tangled up in electrical cords or chew on them, so hide them away or secure them so your puppy doesn’t end up with an electric shock.

Close and Secure Windows and Doors

You see windows and doors, but your dog sees ways to escape to the outdoors and explore! Remember, your puppy is learning the lay of the land and doesn’t yet understand household boundaries — to them, the other side of the door is just more room to play!

Make sure windows and doors are closed and locked so your pup can’t escape.

Also, be sure to tuck away the cords on your blinds to avoid strangulation.

Secure Furniture and Fireplaces

dog sitting on puppy proofed furniture | Pupford

Any furniture that can possibly fall when your dog knocks into it (and let’s be honest, puppies aren’t always graceful) should be secured or have their access restricted.

Small furniture pieces like end tables or lamps should be anchored down or fenced off with a baby gate.

And if you have a fireplace, be sure to restrict access either to the whole room or the fireplace area using a gate.

Cover Your Couch

If your dog is welcome to join you on your couch, consider adding a cover at least for the first few months.

This will protect your couch from any messes your dog makes or tracks onto the couch.

Just make sure the couch cover you select doesn’t have many fringes, as that can be enticing for a puppy to chew.

Puppy Proofing Must-Do’s For a Bathroom

dog in a puppy proofed bathtub | Pupford

Your bathroom is bound to spark some curiosity from your puppy since they typically can’t see you when you go in there.

So make sure to puppy proof in some of the following ways! ?

Keep Medication Bottles Closed and Away

Make sure any prescription or over the counter medicine is not only out of reach but is tightly secured in its bottle. That way, if it falls off a counter or out of the cabinet, your dog can’t reach what’s inside.

Here are some action steps to take if you think your dog has eaten human medication.

Be Wary of the Toilet Bowl and Tub

Puppies may be drawn to the toilet bowl and the tub because of the water, but this can be a drowning risk.

Make sure the lid to the toilet is always closed when not in use. Also, limit access to the bathroom when the tub has water in it.

It might be helpful to restrict access to your bathroom altogether, either with a baby gate or by keeping the door closed.

The Whole House

Here are more puppy proofing tips that can apply to any room in your house ?

Contain Your Pup

the cool crate game | Pupford

It’s really important to not give puppies too much freedom until they are fully trained. This can stop them from getting into trouble and will allow them to gradually become more comfortable with their surroundings without being overwhelmed.

Utilize crates, pens, and baby gates to confine them to a limited area until they know what is (or more importantly, what isn’t) a toy.

Read this article for more tips on keeping your dog contained and stopping them from destroying your things when you’re gone.

Be Aware of Poisonous Plants

Are all of your indoor and outdoor plants safe in case your dog takes a bite?

If you don’t know the answer, don’t worry, here’s a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants from the ASPCA.

While it’s best to keep all plants away from your dog to avoid a mess, sometimes (like in the case of plants in your garden or yard) that’s not possible. Unless it’s absolutely essential that you have a certain plant, dispose of all toxic ones before you bring your puppy home.

But if you must have a toxic plant, or just want to avoid messes with plants in general, use fences, gates, and other barriers to keep your dog away from them.

Keep Clothes, Shoes, and Toys Off the Floor

puppy proofing your home tips | Pupford

The earlier you prevent bad chewing habits, the better. Keeping clothes, shoes, toys, or any other exciting items away from where your puppy can get to them will prevent the bad habit from forming.

Remove All Choking Hazards

Puppies. Put. Everything. In. Their. Mouths.

Let me repeat that… ?

Puppies put EVERYTHING in their mouths.

It’s part of puppy nature, and they can’t help it.

While training is in progress, keep them safe by removing anything with small pieces, or that can easily break into small pieces, so your dog doesn’t choke.

Puppy Proofing Tips for Your Yard

Your new puppy needs plenty of time outdoors for exercise and time to explore.

So here are tips for puppy proofing your yard! ?

Secure Your Yard and Pool Area With a Fence

Fences, whether permanent or removable, are going to be your greatest ally in raising a puppy. This will give them room to run and play but will keep them in a contained area away from anywhere they could cause trouble or get hurt.

If you have an inground pool, fence the pool area completely. If you have an above ground pool, fence the deck steps.

Always be sure to keep an eye on your puppy when playing outside, just in case the fence is not enough.

Pay Attention to Your Landscaping

two dogs in backyard after owner puppy proofed the yard | Pupford

Believe it or not, landscaping is an important part of puppy proofing. Long grass can invite ticks, which can be dangerous for your dog and family.

Also, make sure that anything you plant in your yard is safe for your dog.

Puppy Proofing Tips for Your Car

tips for puppy proofing your car | Pupford

Bringing your four-legged friend along for a road trip? No matter how short the drive, it’s important that the car is a safe environment for your dog:

Confine Your Pup to One Area of the Car

Again, you want to limit your dog’s freedom in the car. It’s more difficult to stop unwanted behavior in a car, so your best bet is to prevent it.

Use a divider, a travel crate, or a harness with a doggy seat belt to make sure your dog is comfortable but doesn’t have the freedom to roam the car.

Lock Loose Items In the Glovebox

A lot of the items you have laying around your car pose potential threats to your dog — gum, wrappers, etc.

Make sure to clean out any trash from your car before your dog gets in, and lock any dangerous items in your glovebox.

For more on road-tripping with your dog, check out this article.

Recap & Overview

Remember, puppy-proofing isn’t just about protecting your house from damage — it’s about keeping your dog safe.

Over time as training progresses, your home may need less puppy-proofing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Here are some simple principles to remember when you puppy proof your home ⤵️

  • If it’s out, your dog might put it in their mouth
  • If it can be knocked over, limit access or secure it
  • Puppies have limited understanding about boundaries, so create boundaries with playpens, gates, closed doors, etc.
  • Do NOT give your pup the benefit of the doubt… if you think it might happen, it probably will
  • Know what items are safe and not safe for your pup, and plan accordingly
  • Don’t set your dog up for failure by leaving out toys, food, shoes, etc.

Also, when in doubt, make sure your pup is occupied!

Here are 21 games, ideas, and exercises that will keep your dog engaged and occupied.

And if you do need to leave your dog, consider leaving them with a dog chew to keep them happy and busy!

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Written by Devin Stagg

Since being deprived of dogs during his childhood, he and his wife decided to make up for it by having three dogs, two Lab puppies, and one grandpa Puggle. Meaning he is ALWAYS covered in dog hair. When he’s not busy training his dogs and/or picking up their poop, you can find him cheering on Tottenham Hotspur and the Cleveland Browns (yes, you read that right).

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44 Comments on “21 Puppy Proofing Tips for Your Home, Yard and Car

  1. These are all good tips and tricks for new puppy owners! Essentially you’re baby-proofing your home, but also noting that puppies can jump and will sink their teeth into anything – food or not.

  2. I feel as though I did most of these when I brought my puppy and I was also able to learn new information that can keep my puppy safe and sound. This is definitely a great read for anyone that wants to get a puppy/dog or already has one.

  3. Our pup is coming home in 10 days. We are proud to say we have done all these things other than the car! Never thought of that. And I DO have 4 kids, so working on socks and shoes and toys put away is a chore, but we’re getting there!

  4. These are all great ideas! It’s much like having a toddler, which I do, so my house is already locked down like Fort Knox 🤣

  5. These are extremely good tips, especially for people who have no idea what to do before or even after bringing their fur baby home. This has actually helped me tons in which this is my first dog all by myself. Keep being amazing!

  6. Great information. I had a lot of this stuff done but there are always things you don’t think of. Thank you for providing such valuable information!

  7. All of these are great! Getting into the trash and human medications can have serious consequences so education about these items is great!

  8. I think the hardest part for me to remember is cords… not the big ones… the charging cords! Also I threw a towel on my couch but am now reconsidering getting a cover for it… 🤔

  9. I think the hardest part for me to remember is cords… not the big ones… the charging cords! Also I threw a towel on my couch but am now reconsidering getting a cover for it…

  10. I think it’s very important to lock the cabinets if your dog is going in the kitchen. I’ve seen my dogs try to open them once.

  11. I see mistakes that have ended up an emergency at the clinic I work at. I’ve even made these mistakes of not puppy proofing. These are great tips and ones I can give to new pet owners.

  12. Boy! I wish I would have read this sooner. I gave my lips all the liberties around the house and he got into everything. I feel as though I can’t get a moments peace. I have to be watching him every second. Going to take the advice and hope to see changes.

  13. All Great advice & info. The only thing I would add is watch putting down throw rugs. I have known puppies to get one of the strings chewed into and start swallowing and couldn’t stop. Result, stomach surgery and a lifetime of special food.

  14. I love all of these tips! Especially the landscaping of the yard. We had pea gravel under our back porch and we had to cover it up because our puppy kept trying to eat it! Lol

  15. Very helpful article & tips. I have a VERY active & curious 15 week old Chihuahua. When I brought her home it was just like having a toddler again lol.

  16. Awesome read. Although a little long, I agree that puppy proofing your home can make it easier for you and your pet. That way if they get into anything, you’ll know you did the best you can!

  17. Something that everyone should read before bringing a puppy home! I’ve had my cavapoo with me for 2 weeks now and I laughed when I read how they quickly run once you open the food cabinet haha too true!

  18. We just got our puppy last week and *thought* that we had decently puppy-proofed our room, but she quickly proved us wrong! All the suggestions in this article are really helpful, especially because we haven’t worked up to allowing her to explore the kitchen or living room on her own— those areas still need to be puppy proofed, and I’m sure she will still find something to chew on that she shouldn’t!

  19. Such great reminders on how to keep our pups safe! I especially loved the list of safe fruits and vegetables and the suggestions for exercise activities!

  20. Excellent tips! Great for individuals who have never had a puppy and a good refresher for those who have. Another good tip I would recommend is watch the litterbox! Our little pup loves to sneak “snacks” from the litterbox. It’s gross but for some reason she loves it. Yuck!

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