Bringing home a new puppy is thrilling, but also a little nerve-wracking. It’s no secret that puppies take a lot of looking after (think fluffy, four-legged, and much cuter toddlers), but you ought to be worried about far more than your puppy pooping on the carpet.
Just like babies and toddlers, puppies can be seriously hurt or even die if they aren’t properly looked after. That means it's up to us as the owners to puppy-proof our homes - before your little rascal comes home.
Let’s look at a few common dangers to puppies in the home, and then we’ll discuss a few ideas for keeping your puppy safe.
Dangers To Puppies In The Home
You might be surprised at how dangerous the average home can be to a puppy. Older dogs often have a sense of danger and can be trained not to chew on cords or eat food that falls on the floor. Puppies, however, don’t have any sense of danger. This can lead to horrible accidents.
So, what sort of dangers will puppies encounter in your home and garden? Let’s find out.
Choking on small objects
Just like small children, puppies can try and eat small items and end up choking on them. Small objects can also get stuck in a dog’s bowels. This can cause an obstruction or other injuries and can result in death if not treated in time.
Don’t let your puppy chew on sticks (these can splinter), or bones (these can also splinter, and shouldn’t be given to puppies), and make sure that they have age and size-appropriate toys. Never give your dog a toy that’s too small, as they could swallow it.
Eating dangerous food
Most of us know that dogs can’t eat chocolate, but did you know that dogs also shouldn’t eat grapes, raisins, citrus fruits, macadamia nuts, onions, sugar-free chewing gum, anything with nicotine in it, and more? If an adult dog eats something they shouldn’t, like a piece of chocolate, they may be able to work the toxins through their systems. However, puppies are small and fragile, and eating even a small amount of something dangerous could be fatal.
Escaping and running into traffic
Technically, this danger is outside the home, but it needs to be prevented inside the home and garden. Puppies (and even adult dogs) don’t understand the dangers of roads. Keep your garden gate closed if you have one. Otherwise, make sure that your dog can’t squeeze past your legs and out of the front door. Consider putting your puppy in a secure room or crate, if they have a reputation for escaping.
Even if you don’t live near a busy road, an unvaccinated puppy may pick up diseases outside.
That’s right, not all dogs can swim! If not properly supervised around a pool or pond, your puppy could fall in and drown. Even if your dog can swim, they shouldn’t be allowed in a pool containing blue or green algae.
Everyone knows not to leave dogs in hot cars - on a hot day, they can fatally overheat in just a few minutes. However, vigorous playtime in the sun can also cause your dog to overheat, even if water is available. Keep an eye on your dog for the first signs of heatstroke, and take them inside immediately. If you’re still concerned, contact a vet. Puppies may be more at risk of heat exhaustion.
Some plants in our gardens may be fatally poisonous to dogs. Try and keep your puppy out of the way while you’re gardening, especially if you’re using fertilizer or insecticide.
Horrendous injuries can occur when boiling fat, oil, or water is spilt. If your puppy is tall enough to reach the cooker top, keep a close eye on them to prevent them from knocking pans down. Make sure you don’t trip or step on your dog while you’re cooking.
Damaging power cables
Chewed power cables can electrocute your dog, and even pose a serious fire hazard later on.
Puppy Proofing Ideas
So, now that you’ve been convinced that your home is full of death traps and accidents waiting to happen, let’s talk about how you can puppy-proof your house to keep your new fur baby safe.
The best way to keep your puppy safe is to keep them contained. It’s not a good idea to give your new pup the run of the house straight away. Keep your puppy in a few safe areas, to begin with. For example, you could add puppy gates on the stairs and at the kitchen door. That will stop your pup from running upstairs when you can’t supervise, and can keep them in (or out!) of the kitchen.
Keep dangerous items away from your pup
Anything that’s toxic to your puppy (human medicines, cleaning products, antifreeze, pesticides, the contents of your handbag, etc) should be kept out of reach. Don’t expect anything to be sacred - your puppy will definitely eat your lipstick out of your bag if they think it might taste good. Keep medicines and other dangerous items in high cupboards out of your puppy’s reach, or in cabinets your pup can’t open.
Pack away power cords and cables
Wrap up power cords and keep them away from your dog. Easier said than done, but keeping wires away from your pup could prevent fire, electrocution, or just ruining your new Xbox controller.
Keep things tidy
Don’t leave food on the floor, or any other items that you don’t want your puppy to eat. For example, letting your children play with lego around your puppy is a spectacularly bad idea. If you don’t want it chewed, don’t leave it on the floor.
Supervise your pup
The number one best way to keep your puppy out of danger is to keep an eye on them. Even when they’re playing with puppy-friendly toys, watch them. As your dog gets older, it will need less supervision - but for now, you’d better have eyes in the back of your head!