How To Puppy Proof Your House (10 Things That Actually Work)


Last Updated: May 25, 2023 | 6 min read | 3 Comments

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small dog with slipper in mouth

Congratulations on your new puppy! We are so excited for your growing family. And since you’re going to be a great pet parent, you’re looking into puppy-proofing your home. You’re probably already aware that your hands are going to be full with a rambunctious puppy who will get in everything imaginable. That’s why a puppy-proof house is a happy house (and so important). Learn how to puppy-proof your apartment or home with these 10 simple steps.

10 Ways To Puppy Proof Your Home

We’ll give you step-by-step instructions (and our personal experience) on how you can puppy-proof elements of your house so your furry children are safe.

1. Plants Can Be Dangerous

Like a baby, puppies explore the world by putting everything in their mouths. Many plants can be harmful to dogs, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or even organ failure. Research all of the plants you have in your home and make sure they are not harmful to dogs. Learn more in our poisonous plants for dogs article.

2. Keep Medications In A Safe Place

Put all of your medications and your pet’s medicines kept up in a safe place. Many of us are guilty of laying our pills on the counter and then returning to take them later in the day. It’s critical to stop this habit because your dog could get to them before you.

If your pup is a determined chewer, he may be able to chew through the plastic of a pill container. So, be sure to keep all receptacles in a safe place. Consider storing your pills in a high cabinet or drawer in your bathroom or kitchen. Be sure to keep the drawer or cabinet closed too. Educate yourself on what medications are safe for dogs.

3. Get A Dog Proof Trash Can

Dogs, and puppies for that matter, can get into trash cans quickly. Something about the smell of garbage gets dogs excited. Bathroom trash can be dangerous with razors, and kitchen trash can be life-threatening with toxic foods to dogs. Keep your waste in a higher place your dog cannot reach or in a dog-proof trash can so it is not open.

4. Cleaning Supplies Are Toxic

Cleaning supplies include chemicals that are toxic to all animals and people. Secure them in an enclosed area, away from your pets. A high shelf in a closet is always a good idea. Don’t forget to keep that closet closed. You might consider using pet-safe cleaning products that are less toxic.

5. Cords & Puppies Don’t Go Together

cord covers

Electrical cords are like the treat of all treats to a puppy. They love to chew on earbuds and cords to anything and everything. Unfortunately, there are going to be cords in your home. But be sure to keep wires protected or in a safe place and watch your pup to make sure they are not chewing on electrical cords. How to chew proof wires in your home? You can get puppy-proof cords like this spiral cable wrap, cord concealers, or PVC pipe to hide cords from your dog.

6. Try A Dog Proof Couch Or Cover

couch cover

When you get a dog, you have to decide if they will be allowed on the furniture. Each pet parent is different. There are no judgments here. Would you like to snuggle up on the couch with your dog? Or do you want a longer lifespan out of your sofa and it not be covered in dog hair? You decide. You can also get dog-proof couch covers, like this bestseller from Amazon, to have pet-friendly couches. That way, your dog can lay on the sofa all they want, and you don’t have to worry about them damaging it.

7. Put Away Small Objects & Chewable Things

Now is the time when you need to be cleaner than ever. Stop leaving your earrings on the end table or your socks on the floor. Puppies can get into anything! That’s why you need to put things away where they belong and out of their reach. Pick up after yourself and stay vigilant!

Taking your dog to the vet and seeing an x-ray of his abdomen full of bobby pins, q-tips, and other unappetizing blockages are not ideal. So keep those objects put away from your dog. If your dog does digest something they shouldn’t, you should call or visit the vet immediately.

Tip: Sign up for pet insurance when your puppy is young to save money in the long run on vet bills. Pet insurance rates will increase throughout the dog’s life. But prices will be lower for a puppy than for an older dog. Why? Because as a dog ages, they are likely to have accidents or health concerns that disqualify them for related coverages due to pre-existing conditions. So start them young!

While dogs are teething, they might also be inclined to chew on other soft things like slippers, pillows, or furniture. Be prepared to keep a close eye on them at all times and replace bad habits (like chewing on a poof) with good ones (toys or bones).

Our Personal Experience With Puppy Chewing

puppy chewing bad vs good jpg

“When our dog Georgie was a puppy, he wanted to knaw on just about everything. He was especially fixated on a couple items, including our leather poof. He loved the rope seams and insisted on chewing the corners of it. Even when we put it uphigh so he couldn’t get to it, he’d find a way. Whenever he did chew on it, we’d give him a ball to chew on instead which shows him what’s okay to chew and setting an example for good behavior.”

– Sadie C., Canine Journal

8. Don’t Let Your Dog In The Cat Litter Box

It’s gross, but many dogs like to explore the kitty litter box. Not only is this disgusting, but it’s also dangerous. Cat litter can cause health problems if ingested, and if the cat has any health issues, they could pass those on to your dog. Place the cat litter box in an area your dog cannot access.

Perhaps get a baby gate and place it behind the gate. You can raise the gate a little to allow your cat to go under it (unless the dog is smaller, too), or you can have your cat jump over the gate.

9. Consider Dog-Proof Rugs & Carpet

You can “dog-proof” your rugs by purchasing ones with small patterns and the same color as your dog’s fur (black for a black dog, white or cream for a white dog). You can also purchase rugs meant for outdoors to use indoors since they are often more durable and easier to clean. If your puppy has an accident, here are some recommendations to get the pee smell out of the carpet.

10. Backyard Safety For Dogs

You can puppy-proof your backyard by getting a dog-proof fence. A dog-proof fence is one that cannot be jumped over or dug beneath by your dog. This will vary by each dog. For example, I know someone who had a standard 8-foot tall open pen, and when they were away from home, the dog was able to jump it. This scared them all immensely, but fortunately, he is okay.

If you have an iron fence, also make sure your dog can’t crawl through the bars. Their tiny bodies are able to squeeze through tight spots, and their curious minds will be eager to explore.

Our Personal Experience With Puppy Proofing Fence

puppy proofing fence jpg

“We had a 6 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who we could let out in our front fenced yard off leash. She could go potty and roam around without any worry. However, when we first brought our puppy Georgie home at around 6 weeks old, it was a different story. He is an escape artist and we learned quickly (the hard way) that he could wiggle his way out (and had to chase him down the block). We immediately got some plastic netting to put up temporarily that would prevent any future situations.”

– Sadie C., Canine Journal

If you don’t have a yard or a fenced yard, a puppy playpen is a good solution to keep pets contained while giving them room to exercise and play.

Puppies Can Get Into Lots Of Mischief, Pet Insurance Can Help

Whether your dog gets into your medication, eats a harmful plant, ingests cleaning supplies, or is at risk for poisoning from something else, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. The professional you speak with may suggest a visit to the emergency vet.

Depending on your dog’s health status, an array of treatment options and procedures may be necessary. By the end, you could face thousands of dollars in vet bills. Pet insurance can help cushion the cost because most policies cover poisoning.

Don’t Forget The Holidays!

Holidays are another time to be vigilant about your dog’s safety. The house I decorated throughout, and the kitchen is constantly busy with baking and cooking. Identify holiday-specific dangers around your home.

Consider Dog Training For Your Pup

It might be a worthwhile investment to hire a professional trainer to help start good habits while your puppy is young. While you can teach an old dog new tricks, it doesn’t hurt to get off on the right “paw” from the start. You can even do dog training from the comfort of your own home with Doggy Dan’s online dog training course.

Video: Tips From Faris From Super Awesome Dogs

Dog trainer, Faris Jaclyn, has some other tips for puppy-proofing your house.

Considering a Puppy? Adopt, Don’t Shop

The ASPCA estimates approximately 6.5 million dogs are put in shelters every year. Before you get a puppy:

  • Consider adopting from your local shelter.
  • Help a dog in need and give him a second chance at a family he deserves.
  • Learn more about animals in need in our pet adoption article.

More Puppy Training Tips

In addition to puppy-proofing your house, read our other puppy articles to ensure your new pup gets acclimated as quickly and best as possible, including a puppy checklist, how to crate train a puppy, tips for bringing a new puppy home, and more.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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