How to Puppy Proof Your House, Yard, Rooms & Car: 21 Essential Tips | Pupford
January 9th, 2024
Filed under New Puppies
So you just became a puppy parent, yay! Now (or hopefully before you actually got your puppy)... you need to puppy proof your home, yard and car!
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 see the areas you'll need to puppy proof that we'll be talking about in this article:
- Living Room
- Whole House
So let’s get into the top 21 tips for a puppy proof house!
Related Reading: 31 Vital Things to Know Before Getting a Dog
PUPPY PROOFING TIPS FOR THE HOUSE
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
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!
Related Reading: What Not To Do With a Puppy
PUT AWAY YOUR CLEANING SUPPLIES
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
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.
On that note... 👇
And outside of fruits and veggies, here are 20 foods dogs can and can not eat.
Keep your pup safe! 😀
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
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 or get loose.
Also, be sure to tuck away the cords on your blinds to avoid strangulation.
SECURE FURNITURE AND FIREPLACES
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
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.
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.
PUPPY PROOFING YOUR WHOLE HOUSE
Here are more puppy proofing tips that can apply to any room in your house!
CONTAIN YOUR PUP
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.
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.
Related Reading: THC (Cannabis/Weed) & Dogs
KEEP CLOTHES, TOYS, AND SHOES OFF THE FLOOR
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!
Related Reading: 3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting a Dog
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.
Related Reading: Puppy Fear Periods
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR LANDSCAPING
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
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 GLOVE BOX
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.
RECAP AND OVERVIEW OF PUPPY PROOFING YOUR HOUSE
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 house ⤵️
- 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!
And if you do need to leave your dog, consider leaving them with a dog chew to keep them happy and busy!
Don't forget! At Pupford we offer a 100% free (no credit card required) online puppy training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George!