Puppy Proofing your House
So! You’ve picked out your puppy, and you are getting excited for him/her to come home with you. You are buying supplies and dreaming about holding the sweet baby, smelling the puppy breath, and rubbing that soft, warm, fat little tummy. For some of you, this may be your first puppy, or at least the first one you have had as an individual that you have not shared with your family. How exciting! I remember how on top of the world I was when I finally got to have my very own dog…my sweet Br’er Bear. No matter how many puppies I have raised and house trained (which has been a fair few), I found that it was quite different when it was just me, and when it was a home I owned (instead of living at home with Mom and Dad). It is a lot like bringing home a new baby – only this new baby is totally mobile and already in the toddler/destructive stage!
I remember when Maggie was a puppy, she went after the mouse and keyboard cords under the computer. I think because of that, we’ve had wireless ever since!
Here are a few tips to puppy proof your house! For those veteran dog owners out there, this is still a good refresher…we often take for granted how well trained our older pets are or were. This information is something that we hand out in our puppy kits at the clinic I work for in Saint Cloud.
Puppies are naturally inquisitive, which can often lead to serious injury. Here are some tips on how you can make your house safer for the new arrival.
- That’s shocking – Young animals love to chew when they are teething. Keep electrical wires out of reach, or use a pet-repellent spray.
- They’d die for some chocolate – Chocolate can be dangerous. It contains theobromine, a powerful stimulant that is toxic to pets. Sweets, cakes and cookies can also upset an animal’s GI tract and lead to diarrhea and vomiting which can be serious.
- Treats can be threats – Never give turkey, chicken or rib bones as a treat. They can splinter and cause serious injury.
- Common household killers – Cleaning agents bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint gasoline, rat poison. Keep them locked up.
- Check the antifreeze – Pets are attracted to the odor and sweet taste of antifreeze. Store it high and tightly sealed, wiping up any spills on the garage floor. Use the newer and safer brands of antifreeze. Window-washing solution also contains antifreeze. And remember, engine warmth promotes catnaps, so honk your horn to wake pets under the hood.
- Killer house plants – Poisonous plants include lilies, philodendron, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, eucalyptus, spider plants, azaleas, ivy, amaryllis, pyracantha, oleander, boxwood, Jerusalem Cherry and plant bulbs.
- Keep off the grass – If you treat your lawn with chemicals, keep pets away. Read and follow label directions carefully.
- It fit yesterday – Puppies and kittens grow rapidly. Collars and harnesses can be rapidly outgrown, leading to serious wounds.
- Take care of personal care items and medications – Cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams, hair “perm” solutions, depilatories, suntan lotions, sleeping pills, antihistamines, aspirin and acetaminophen can all be lethal to pets.
- It is not a toy – Don’t leave plastic bags out. Inquisitive young animals, especially kittens, can suffocate.
- The heat is on – Watch out for hot irons, coffeepots and space heaters. Kittens and puppies will suddenly be able to jump to new heights.
- A dip tip – Keep covers on hot tubs & swimming pools. Kittens & even young puppies can fall in and not be able to get out.
- ‘Tis the season – Keep holly, mistletoe and especially Christmas tree tinsel out of reach.
- Cozy up – Always use a fireplace screen.
- Do you eat with that mouth? – Rule of thumb: If any or all of something will fit in a mouth, it is dangerous. Watch out for cigarette butts, rubber bands, balloons, sewing needles, thread, string, ribbons, and yes, even pantyhose. What goes in must come out, often via surgery.