Congratulations! You have decided to take the next big step in expanding your family! Soon you will be welcoming a four-pawed bundle of love into your home.
As fun as that sounds, owning a puppy is no picnic. There are so many questions!
- What do I need before my puppy arrives?
- Why isn’t my puppy eating his food?
- Does my puppy really need all these vaccines?
We get it. We’re here to help.
While we can’t answer every question in one article, we can help you gain confidence in preparing for a new puppy.
In this article, we will give tons of practical tips and tricks on preparing you and your home for a puppy. They are easy and practical, and you can start doing them right away.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
10 Things To Do To Puppy-Proof Your Home
- Hide the trash
- Eliminate electrical hazards
- Secure furniture
- Protect your plants
- Safely store medication
- Lock the bathroom
- Watch out for cleaning supplies
- Put garage and yard supplies out of reach
- Designate a dog-free room
- See from a puppy's perspective
12 Things To Have Before You Get Your Puppy
- High-quality puppy food
- Food and water bowls
- Grooming tools and brushes
- A puppy bed
- Collar and leash
- Puppy toys
- Dog ID tag
- Puppy gate
- Puppy crate
- Puppy training pads
- Healthy dog treats
- Flea and tick prevention
10 Things To Do To Puppy-proof You Home
Continually dealing with unanticipated puppy problems is like toying with a stress bomb. If it happens enough, you quit enjoying your puppy, and start to worry about what will go wrong next.
It’s possible to avoid that sickening worry with forethought and planning. So without further delay, let’s get into tips for puppy-proofing your home!
Let's go over 10 ways to plan ahead and puppy-proof your home. Doing these will help ensure your puppy (and you) are happy and healthy!
Hide The Trash
Hide your trash cans and diaper pails in closets or get securely locking lids. Also, watch out for any trash or recycling strewn around the house, such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and cans with sharp edges.
Trash also contains plenty of food hazards for curious puppies. Raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, chocolate, and other items that puppies might find in the garbage can be toxic to their health.
Eliminate Electrical Hazards
Electricity is an incredible modern convenience, but we all know it can be dangerous too - especially for those who don’t understand its power.
Your puppy may be quite intelligent, but they don’t understand the danger of electric currents.
Invest in covers for your outlets—puppies can lick outlets and end up seriously hurting themselves. You should also get covers to secure wires and strands of lights, especially around the holidays. Puppies are known for chewing, so you will want to puppy-proof the wires in your home before your puppy can get their teeth near them.
Puppies are curious, and nothing is off-limits for them. Make sure you secure the furniture in your home, especially if it’s a bit unsteady or fragile.
Securing an item like a lamp or TV seems impossible at first, but with the right products, it's a breeze.
And don’t be easily fooled - a puppy can even topple larger furniture like bookshelves if they aren’t secured. Best practice for bookshelves is to put them near a wall, so a playful puppy will only bump them into the wall.
Protect Your Plants
While it is always nice to have some greenery in your home, you will need to consider which plants are safe for puppies. Some plants are toxic for pets and can lead to serious health issues that require a veterinary visit.
No matter which plants you choose to fully puppy-proof a house, you will need to keep them out of reach of your puppy. This prevents them from chewing the plant or digging in the dirt.
Safely Store Medication
Does it matter if your puppy gets into your medicine and ingests a few pills?
Each year, there are almost 214,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these cases were caused by household items that may seem perfectly harmless.
Even your most benign medications are harmful to dogs. Over-the-counter medications, allergy medications, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications are just a few of the poisonous medicines for dogs.
Puppies have no problem chewing up childproof lids and ingesting what’s inside, so all medications have to be out of reach.
Lock the Bathroom
Hygiene items found in bathroom trash cans are a hazard for puppies, so opt for a can with a locking lid. Also, be sure to keep toilet bowls closed to prevent puppies from drinking from them, as this poses health risks.
Watch Out for Cleaning Supplies
Drain cleaners are deadly if swallowed, and many other household cleaners are toxic.
Make sure all your products are safely stored out of reach for the puppy, even if the products are labeled as having natural ingredients. Cleaners with natural ingredients are still often harmful to puppies.
Put Garage and Yard Supplies Out of Reach
Antifreeze is fatal, so lock it up and clean up spills using a clay-based litter or by hosing the area down thoroughly. Any liquid you keep in the garage, whether it’s fuel or a household cleaner, is probably toxic to your puppy.
Bug sprays, rat poison, and herbicides might be fatal if consumed, so don’t use them unless necessary.
Make sure heavy tools are secure, and that small items like screws and nails are stored high off the ground.
Designate a Puppy-Free Room
By now, you might be feeling like your entire life is being lived inside of cupboards and on high shelves!
It’s true - there’s a lot of things a puppy can get into.
Of course, not every single item in your house can be secured or stored away. For that reason, it’s usually best to have at least one room in your home that is puppy free.
Puppies are bundles of fun, but sometimes you need a little break. A puppy-free room allows you to sit back and relax without worrying about everything your puppy may be destroying.
A puppy-free room gives you a place to display glass decorations, string Christmas lights, and store prized possessions that can’t get damaged.
See From a Puppy’s Perspective
After you’ve finished puppy-proofing your home, get down on all fours to gain a puppy perspective. It sounds a bit strange, but it helps you identify possible problem spots that you might not have noticed while standing up.
Anything that looks like a hazard from a hands and knees level should be moved or secured.
As you can see, puppy-proofing your home is no picnic! In this case, it’s completely worth it, though. Puppy-proofing your home before the puppy arrives at your house guarantees a healthier puppy (and owner)!
12 Things To Have Before You Get Your Puppy
You might have the safest home for a puppy on earth, but if you don’t have the right tools to care for him, your puppy won’t be healthy or happy.
What are the critical things to have around for a healthy and happy puppy? Keep reading for our list of 12 things...
High-Quality Puppy Food
Have you ever noticed that eating healthy food is more expensive than making a diet of freezer meals? The same is true for puppies!
High-quality puppy food is one of the most significant ongoing expenses of having a puppy, but vets agree that the investment is worth it.
Different breeds, sizes, and ages of puppies require different foods. There’s no formula that fits all, so do your research. Your vet or breeder are great resources for getting breed specific advice for feeding your puppy.
Just make sure you are feeding your puppy food designed for them. Puppies are growing much more quickly than adult dogs and need special food to accommodate those needs. Look for a label that proves the food is made for puppies, and check to make sure it has the correct ratio of protein, fat, carbs, and fiber.
Food and Water Bowls
Puppies aren’t too picky when it comes to eating their food, but choosing the right bowl matters.
Springing for the cute bowls with bright colors and prints is tempting, but plastic bowls can harbor bacteria. Instead, choose a stainless-steel set that is safer and more durable.
Some bowls come with a silicone mat or rubber bottom that keeps them from sliding across the floor. Purchasing this kind of dish will save your puppy the frustration of chasing their food and save you the headache of cleaning up food and water spills.
Grooming Tools and Brushes
Different breeds of puppies have varying needs, but all of them need grooming from time to time. Whether you choose to take your puppy to a professional groomer or not, having a few tools around the house keeps your puppy healthy and looking great.
The first thing to buy is a brush. Soft, rubber, bristle brushes are ideal for puppies. They work well both wet and dry and are gentler than metal bristles.
Your second purchase should be a good puppy shampoo. Your best efforts will not keep your puppy clean - we guarantee it! Baths will be needed. Look for a shampoo that is tearless, easy on the puppy’s skin, and smells great!
A Puppy Bed
Puppies are active, but they also need plenty of sleep. Having a bed that puppies can curl up on and get rest is important to their health.
A bed also gives a puppy a sort of home base within your house where they feel safe and secure, much like a crate does.
Most people are attracted to soft puppy beds. While soft puppy beds work great for some puppies, they aren’t always ideal - especially if your puppy likes to chew.
Soft puppy beds offer a great chew toy for many puppies. If your puppy finds their bed better than toys for chewing, you might consider a chew-proof elevated bed.
Chew-proof, elevated beds like those from Kuranda make a durable, yet comfortable spot for your puppy to sleep.
Collar and Leash
Buying a collar and leash isn’t rocket science, but they are vital materials to have around if you own a puppy.
When buying a collar, consider purchasing a head collar or harness. These both prevent your puppy from straining on a leash and also protect your puppy’s neck.
When it comes to leashes, a flat, nylon leash is a good starter. Nylons are washable and come in many different colors to complement your puppy’s fur or match the season.
It is a commonly known fact that puppies love to chew - and nothing is off limits! While you probably won’t be able to stop your puppy from chewing, giving them chew toys minimizes the damage they do to your home.
It’s important to know that puppies don’t chew just for the sake of chewing.
Around four months old, puppies start to teethe as adult teeth, and molars replace their baby teeth. As any parent of a teething baby knows, teething is painful, so your puppy will need ways to reduce the discomfort of sore gums.
So, don’t just buy toys for the sake of buying toys. Buying the right toys will actually help your puppy’s overall health.
Here are a few categories you might consider
- Soothing toys for when puppies are teething. Different textures are specifically designed to clean teeth and massage gums
- Teeth cleaning toys. Buying these toys gives you bang for your buck. Your puppy is entertained, their breath smells better, and their gums stay healthier.
- Entertainment toys. Toys like KONG can be filled with peanut butter, kibble, or other treats that keep your puppy occupied for hours!
Just like humans, puppies are not all the same. Different puppies prefer different toys. So, buy a few different toys and let the puppy choose which one is their favorite. Once you have the right toy, your puppy will be content.
Just make sure your toy isn’t too small for your puppy, and that the puppy isn’t breaking off bits of the toy and eating them. As a general rule of thumb, simply discard your puppy’s toy if it appears to be nearing its breaking point.
Dog ID Tag
The last thing any puppy owner wants is to lose their dog. It’s both embarrassing and heartbreaking. There is always the possibility of an accident, but having an ID tag for your puppy dramatically reduces the risk of him getting lost.
ID tags don’t have to be flashy - your puppy's name and a phone number are adequate. If you’d like, you might consider adding your address or name as well.
Metal ID tags are preferable because of the musical jingling noise they make while your puppy runs. The jingling decreases the chance of your puppy being mistaken as a wild animal and being harmed.
Of course, ID tags can be removed or lost, so if you want to be sure you won’t lose your puppy, consider asking your vet to implant a microchip in your dog.
Keeping your puppy contained likely includes purchasing a quality pet gate.
There are plenty of extendable gates that can be popped in a doorway, or even used outside with minimal hassle.
Puppy gates are essential in training too. By using a puppy gate along with positive reinforcement, a puppy eventually learns to respect specific spaces whether or not the gate is there.
To crate train or not to crate train, that is one of the many questions pet parents face when they bring home a new puppy! And while some pet parents may have guilt about putting that sweet little puppy (and those big brown eyes!) behind bars, the consequences of not doing so are far worse.
The truth is, a puppy crate keeps your puppy safe while you are gone, and gets them off to a great start in potty training.
When choosing a crate, remember that size matters. Choose a crate that is big enough for your puppy to turn around, lie down and stand up - but not so big that he can potty in one corner and rest in another! You might need to upgrade as your puppy grows.
If you’re worried about the puppy being in a crate, try these tips to get him and you more comfortable:
- Let your puppy spend short periods of time in the crate at first, and then slowly increase the time.
- Put a soft, warm blanket in the crate along with a durable toy or two.
- Give lots of praise and a treat once the door is closed, so your puppy learns how delightful it is to be in the crate!
Puppy Training Pads
Even the perfect crate and expert training can’t keep your puppy from having an accident or two, especially while they are still learning. Just be patient with them and buy puppy training pads!
Puppy training pads help to train your puppy to potty in particular areas. Scented puppy pads even encourage puppies to potty on them.
Healthy Dog Treats
A lot of puppies are motivated by food, and treats are a significant component in training your puppy.
However, you don’t want to be feeding your puppy unhealthy treats every day, especially if you are investing in healthy puppy food.
Look for treats that are backed by veterinary research and are lean, so you’re not adding unnecessary calories to your puppy’s diet.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are just plain nasty, but they are more than just gross. They also carry diseases capable of making your puppy extremely sick.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks that seriously affect your puppy. It can cause fever, loss of appetite, reduced energy, and lameness. In extreme cases, it can progress to kidney failure, which can be fatal.
In other words, you want to protect your puppy from Lyme disease.
Unfortunately, Lyme disease is only one of the adverse effects of having a dog with fleas or ticks. If you want a healthy puppy, it’s vital that you always use flea and tick prevention.
In this case, a flea collar doesn’t cut it. Go ahead and get a vet-approved pill like Advantix to protect against fleas and ticks.
Owning a puppy is a big responsibility, even for grown adults. When unanticipated situations arise, it’s easy to panic.
However, when you follow the steps in this article, you can be prepared for problems before they happen, instead of reacting to them.
And remember - you can always check with your local vet if you have concerns about your puppy's health or behavior.