You’ve moved into your new home and now you’re thinking about adding a new family member: a puppy. Bringing a puppy home is, in many ways, like bringing a new baby home, though not quite as complicated. Still, you’ll need new puppy gear, and you’ll need to ensure your home is ready to receive a very curious animal.
1. Consider moving all toxic chemicals to high shelves, or installing child safety latches to cupboards in kitchens and bathrooms. Puppies like to explore and will try eating just about anything available.
2. Tuck power cords out of reach. These thick cords look like fun chew toys to a new puppy. Make sure they’re stowed out of reach or enclosed in a chew-proof PVC tube.
3. Keep toilet lids closed or bathroom doors firmly closed. Puppies can leap into an open bowl and drown if you’re not careful.
4. Keep razors and soap out of reach in the bathroom. Anything left along the rim of the bathtub is easily reached by a puppy.
5. Stow shoes and clothing out of reach. Puppies like items that smell like their owners, and they want to chew on these items. Enough said.
6. Make sure jewelry, coins, and other items that sometimes end up on the floor are out of reach. Like a new baby, puppies will put these items in their mouths and they could cause harm.
7. Block off the bottom of your bed if you don’t want your puppy hiding out underneath. Dogs love the den-like quality of being under the bed, and it can be difficult to get them out if they decide to hunker down under there.
8. Put away couch pillows and blankets if you don’t want them to be chewed up! Also, make sure not to leave iPods or paperback books on low tables where they will be tempting to taste.
9. Put indoor plants out of reach until your puppy has passed the curious stage. Also, some house plants are poisonous, so make sure nothing toxic is in chewable range.
10. Securely hide away toxic chemicals in your garage too. Antifreeze, for example, attracts dogs with its sweetness, but can be deadly. Stow it out of reach.
11. Make sure you don’t have poisonous plants in your backyard; if you do, fence them off for the puppy stage. Some plants, such as daffodils, foxglove, bird-of-paradise, and lupine, can be poisonous to your dog and cause varied reactions, ranging from a rash to vomiting and diarrhea. You can find a list of the most commonly encountered toxic plants at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website
Once your dog is past the puppy stage, you won’t need to be as vigilant. But for the early stages of development, it’s important to protect your new family member.