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How to puppy-proof your house

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Got a new four legged friend joining your clan? Here’s four simple steps to preparing a safe environment for them.

1. Create a quiet place for them.

Puppies tire easily and need a place they can rest away from the hustle and bustle of your household (especially if you have children). An ideal solution is a puppy crate that can be turned into a mini oasis for them with blankets and favoured toys. This also offers the added bonus of being an easy way to toilet train your puppy – access to too much space makes it hard for puppies to learn to toilet correctly.

2. Think like a puppy

The best way to ensure there is nothing dangerous at puppy level is to sit in each room at puppy level and look around. Items under the bed, roach traps under couches and small spaces they could become stuck in are far more apparent when sitting or lying on the floor than when surveying a space at head height.  

The kinds of household items that can be dangerous to puppies include power cords they may chew and electrocute themselves with, breakables that may cut them if they smash, and open bodies of water – so keep toilet seats closed. Also ensure doorways to balconies are closed, and any windows that pose a falls risk are kept shut. Close off rooms that present too many dangers that can’t be removed or covered and make sure other members of the family know to keep them closed. Baby safety gates can be a good way to close off rooms or areas that are unsafe for your pup. And remove any tempting chewables that are important to you but will detrimental to your new puppy. Provide them with a chewing toy to discourage them from chewing your brand new shoes!

3. Poison control

Puppies will poke around in cupboards they can get into, so ensure you put household poisons in locked or high cabinets. These can include cleaners, detergents, bleach, disinfectants, insecticides, cleaning fluid, fertilisers, mothballs, antifreeze, insect poisons and rat poisons. And you’ll need to change your habit of leaving food on the countertop if you have a puppy of a large breed. Especially foods like chocolate that can be bad for them.

Read more: Keeping your pooch safe at Christmas

4. Prepare their great outdoors

Puppies will spend plenty of time outdoors – for toilet training, play and sleeping in the sunlight. Being naturally curious, they will also do plenty of digging and exploring. As well as ensuring all gates and exit points are sufficiently blocked (this is a really good place to use the “take a puppy’s eye view” method and walk around to make sure there are no spots they can wriggle or dig through), outdoor poisons present a huge risk to their health.  

The RSPCA offers comprehensive advice on fertilisers, insecticides and mulches that are not recommended for gardens used by puppies, as they may ingest them.  There are a range of plants and trees that also present a risk to dogs, so it’s advised you check the plants in your garden rel="noopener noreferrer" against a database of plants poisonous to dogs, and if you are unsure of any, chat to your vet.