Guest article provided by Katie Hanson of katiesnook.com
If you’re like most soon-to-be pet parents, you’re probably eagerly awaiting the day when you can bring your new puppy home. Puppies are adorable, and they provide a lot of love and companionship to their owners, so it is easy to get lost in the excitement of it all. However, it is important to remember that puppies require a lot of care and attention, and there are some things you need to do to get your home ready for their arrival. In this blog post, we will discuss how to puppy-proof your home and make it safe for your new furry friend!
1: Start with the basics
To begin, ensure you have all the items for basic puppy care, including a crate, collars, leashes, toys, bedding, and food. You’ll want to designate places for the puppy to sleep, eat, and play. Puppies need a lot of supervision and guidance, so having everything set up before they arrive will make the transition smoother for both you and your new pup.
Double up on items that will require thorough cleaning
For the collars, leashes, toys, and bedding, you want at least two of each for the times when the main ones are in the wash. Puppies are so interested in exploring their new environment and they don’t have full control of their potty needs at first, so it is common to need to clean the soft fabrics of their belongings often.
As for the crate, for the first few weeks in your home, you may want to allow your new puppy to sleep near you. The first weeks in a new home are scary and it can help your pup enormously to know you are nearby. If you don’t plan to keep the crate in your room permanently, after they are more settled in and are sleeping through the night, you can start to crate them at night in another part of the house. You may want to consider a crate that is easy to move from room to room, so you have a space to safely keep your puppy when you are unable to fully monitor them (like when trying to take that important work call or cooking dinner). Alternatively, investing in a secondary crate for the main rooms in your home where you spend most of your time can make it easier to manage them during the day and to transition your puppy to independent sleeping at night.
Your puppy is going to grow quickly, so when considering what food container to buy, be sure to select one that will accommodate their future adult size.
Start with a food storage container, to prevent your new puppy from helping themselves to mealtime whenever they want, since you want to ensure they are getting the right amount of food. Be sure to also have food and water bowls for your puppy. You may want to add a water feeder to their crate. If you find your puppy guzzles water and coughs it up, you can even find slow-feeder water bowls now! The same goes for food – if your puppy gulps their meal down too quickly, it can come back up. Slow-feeder puppy bowls are a great way to help with this common issue and can help reduce the risk of bloat, which is a life-threatening condition for dogs.
You’ll also want to ensure you pick up enough food for the first month. If you plan to transition them to a new food, it can help to start quickly after they arrive, since they will already be experiencing so many changes. Ask your vet for a recommendation on puppy food brands and for how much to feed them. You can also check out advice from reputable sites like Dog Food Advisor for information on the best foods for puppies. Many dog owners sign up for their alerts, too, to stay on top of food recall updates.
Now that you have the supplies you need, it’s time to puppy-proof your home!
2: If they can reach it, they can chew it
When puppy-proofing your home, it is important to remember that puppies experience much of the world through their mouths until they are several months old.
This means that anything within their reach is fair game for chewing, including your furniture, shoes, clothing, cords, and trash.
You’ll want to puppy-proof your home by removing anything that might be tempting for a puppy to chew on. Start by putting away loose items, like shoes. Try keeping them in the closet until the puppy is more familiar with what is and isn’t okay to chew.
Be sure to puppy-proof your furniture by using bitter spray or otherwise blocking the legs of chairs and tables by covering them with furniture protectors. In a pinch, you can repurpose cardboard boxes as makeshift blockades around the bottom of furniture until the puppy stops trying to chew on them. You’ll also want to invest in soft furniture protection pads for your couch and bed if you plan to ever let your puppy on them.
You’ll also want to block access to any cords and wires in your home, as puppies like to chew on electrical cords. If possible, put them behind furniture or under rugs so they are out of the puppy’s reach. You can also buy cord protectors to not only keep your cords from chewing but also prevent your puppy from accidental electrocution.
Finally, be sure to puppy-proof your trash cans by keeping them out of the puppy’s reach or getting locking lids for them. Puppies are also attracted to food waste, so it is important to keep your garbage can inaccessible to avoid any accidents.
Another way to puppy-proof your home is to provide your puppy with plenty of chew toys so they can satisfy their chewing urge without destroying your belongings. There are many different kinds of chew toys available, so be sure to ask your veterinarian or another puppy owner for their recommendations. One popular tip is to keep a puppy bone in your pocket for quick correction of chewing behavior – chew this, not that!
3: Be prepared for accidental messes
Housebreaking a puppy takes time, patience, and consistency. In the meantime, you should be prepared for some accidents by puppy-proofing your home with absorbent mats or potty pads in strategic locations. You’ll also want to keep a good stock of cleaning supplies on hand to deal with any messes quickly, like carpet cleaning spray, paper towels, and enzymatic cleaners. You may also want to consider a portable carpet cleaner that doubles as a furniture cleaner to make clean-up even easier.
It is also important to puppy-proof your home by keeping any potentially harmful cleaning supplies out of reach, like bleach or other harsh chemicals. Be sure to use products that are safe for puppies, as some chemicals can be harmful to their health.
By following these tips, you can rest assured you’ve covered the most important bases in preparing and puppy-proofing your home. By taking the time to do this, you can relax and enjoy all the fun that comes with raising a new puppy!