Puppy-Proof Your Home

Your puppy can also be in danger if he ingests items that can cause choking or problems with his intestinal tract. Hunting and fishing gear, such as lures and hooks, can cause major intestinal damage if eaten. Children’s toys and holiday items, such as ornaments and lights, have small parts that can cause choking and blockage. Some puppies enjoy eating the stuffing out of toys, including dog plush toys, which can cause problems when swallowed. Dogs also enjoy chewing on items that smell like their people, such as shoes and clothing, and surprisingly, clothing can be dangerous for dogs — in fact, underwear are a top choking hazard for dogs. Even a harmless looking string or rubber band can put your pup at risk for emergency surgery if it is swallowed and twists up in the intestines.

Puppy-Proof Your Home

Use baby gates to section off rooms that are difficult to keep picked up, such as children’s rooms or bathrooms. Keep other areas of the house immaculately clean, paying careful attention to any items left on the floor, on the table or on low shelves. In addition, potentially hazardous items should be stored in locked, childproofed cabinets or on high shelving that your dog can’t reach when he stands on his hind legs or when he jumps. Keep in mind, too, that photo albums, journals, antiques, expensive furniture, cherished books and other valuable and sentimental items are all fair game to your puppy unless they are properly secured.

Dogs are scavengers who can problem-solve ways to get to food, which means that even if you throw it away, your dog can find a way to get to it. Unless the trash can is safely secured, the plastic wrap, tinfoil or other discarded items that were wrapped around your leftovers may be discovered — and eaten — by your puppy. Use garbage cans with locking lids or hide garbage under locked, childproof cabinets.

Block access to toxic plants inside or outside your house with fencing, or remove them altogether. Cords, such as those on window blinds, should be wrapped up and tied to prevent strangulation. Conceal electrical cords in PVC pipe, cord concealers or spiral cable wrap.

Even with all these precautions, when you are away from home or unable to supervise him, your puppy should be kept in a puppy-proofed area, such as a crate, a dog-proofed room or a fenced dog area, ideally on a hard floor away from carpeting and the edges of the wall or furniture, which can be chewed on. When he is out of the puppy-proofed area, he should be tethered on a short leash and actively supervised and redirected away from dangerous situations. To keep your puppy productively busy, provide ample food puzzles, chew items and toys.

Of course, if your puppy eats something he shouldn't, it’s essential to get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible to get immediate help.

Change Your Perspective

Your puppy is new to the world and is just figuring out how stuff works. To keep him safe, it's important to look at the world from his perspective. Just like a human toddler, your puppy has limited experience with danger.

A puppy will not know to avoid something hot, such as the oven, the fireplace, a space heater, or the stove. Protect him by keeping areas with open heat sources off-limits.

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