Bringing home a puppy generates huge excitement, and you want to ensure your home is safe for your new companion, not to mention making sure your home is safe from your new companion. Puppies are babies – they love to explore and are prone to putting everything they find into their mouths since it is one of their main ways of discovering their world. Their depth perception and coordination are still developing, so you have to be the safety warden until they learn their limits and the house rules. Some things you’ll need to consider include:
1. Most importantly, do not wait until the puppy arrives. You’ll be way too busy getting acquainted to do the proofing then. Start looking for hazards and fixes the minute you knows there’s a pup on the way. This will help so you’re not constantly pulling cotton balls, socks and other choking hazards out of their mouth after you bring them home.
2. Electrical cords and outlets. Get some of the outlet-blocking plugs available for keeping human infant fingers out of electrical outlet slots. Make sure all loose power and computer cords are tied up, taped down, sprayed with anti-chew spray or otherwise out of the reach of the puppy. Not only do puppies love to pick up, taste and carry things they find, most of them are teething and one bitten power cord is a huge hazard. A technique to use for heavy chewers is to hide the cord in a PVC pipe.
3. Make sure that all toxic cleaning products are either out of reach or in cabinets with baby-proof latches. Most puppies can paw open low-level cabinets, and get into all manner of mischief with what they find inside.
4. Puppies are well-known for being cute, soft, and cuddly, but not known for their coordination. Watch your baby if you have him up on a couch or bed for snuggle time, so he doesn’t fall off until he’s old enough to get down without injury. Resale stores and garage sales are great places to pick up inexpensive baby/toddler gates to prevent falls down stairs.
5. Shoes, socks and other small clothing pieces are particularly attractive not only for their chewable texture, but because they smell of you. Unfortunately, not only are they annoying to lose and expensive to replace, socks and underwear can cause life-threatening blockages if swallowed, so no leaving your shoes and laundry on the floor with a puppy in the house.
6. Spoiling your puppy with toys is fun for both of you, but make sure you use toys made for dogs, and ones that are too big to present a choking or swallowing hazard. Human baby toys, as a rule, aren’t strong enough to stand up to doggy jaws and teeth and can be dangerous.
7. Check around the house and make sure any houseplants are either non-toxic or out of reach. It really isn’t a bad idea to make a circuit of the areas your dog will share on your hands and knees – you may be surprised at what you can reach from down there
Get the phone numbers for the nearest emergency veterinary clinic and poison control center and post them where you can find them if you need them. Then, knowing you’ve done all you can to prevent problems you’re ready to start enjoying time with your new baby.