The Essential Puppy-Proofing Checklist For Apartment Dwellers
There’s nothing better than bringing your puppy home for the first time.
Watching them bolt around sniffing everything in the den of their new fur-ever friend is a bonding experience with the little guy.
And funny as hell to watch – until in the span of 10 minutes they’ve knocked over your tabletop cactus garden, dragged a pair of underwear out of your bedroom and start racing around the house with it in their mouth like a trophy playing keep away from you until they finally stop to take a rest stop on your favorite rug.
That’s when you make the belated realization that, yeah, maybe I should’ve prepared my apartment a little bit before bringing him home.
After the fun of buying squeaky chew toys, food and treats, a collar (spiked, of course) and leash, bedding and the rest of it – it’s easy to forget that perhaps the most important thing you need to do for your pup is prepping your home for them.
Not only do you need to protect your favorite pair of Redwings from becoming a chew toy, you’ve got to make sure any potential dangers are either removed or out of reach of a curious little pup.
And there are a lot of them.
So to help you with the most common home hazards for your new pup, we’ve created a checklist for you to run through.
- Buy Childproof Locks
Household cleaners, kitchen knives, small objects and more are just waiting in cabinets under the sink and in low-lying junk drawers for a curious nose to find. Keep them off limits by putting child-proof locks on every cabinet and drawer.
- Prevent Access To Electrical Cords
Electrical cords are chewy delights for puppies – and a potentially lethal shock hazard. Move them up out of the way, block them with furniture or cover them with cord protectors or run them through PVC pipe. Here’s a tutorial to help you out.
- Keep It Clean
No matter how much of a clean-freak you are, you’re going to have to do extra duty now that there’s a little fur monster in the home.
Never leave food or drinks out, don’t leave things on coffee tables or low-lying furniture and be especially alert to small items such as coins, paperclips, pens, rubber bands, etc. on the floor or within reach of the little guy.
Clothing smells like you so of course they’re going to be interested in it. But socks, hose and underwear can cause serious intestinal blockages if ingested. Always keep your clothes picked up.
Depending on the size of your pup (and how high they can jump) anything under about 4 feet will be within their reach. Consider relocating anything in this zone. This was learned the hard way when my pup decided to chew up some books I had on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. This goes for every room in the house from the bathroom to the living room.
Find a box or dedicated spot for your remotes, because if you can’t find the remote it’s probably because your puppy already has and is currently making it her bitch.
- Relocate Your Houseplants
Digging in and chewing on are not listed among the ways to care for a plant. Besides it being bad for your plants, many houseplants are toxic to pets. Move them up out of the way or to another room.
Here’s a list of toxic houseplants.
- Move Breakables
If you’ve got anything fragile you don’t want broken – move it. With a puppy in the home the chances of it being broken go up exponentially.
- Define “Safe Zones” With Baby Gates
Baby gates are the perfect way to deny access to areas of your home to the pup. Keep them away from back rooms and stairs. Also create a safe space for them where they can play without getting into trouble (also good for while you’re away from home). The kitchen is a common area to block off for a safe space.
- Keep Doors Closed
Seems a bit self-explanatory, but yeah, keep all the doors of any room you’re not in closed. It only takes a distracted second for a puppy to disappear into the home searching for trouble to get into.
- Hide The Trash
It’s a free buffet of great stuff you just threw out. Save yourself a disgusting mess and keep your pup from eating something dangerous by putting all of your trash cans (including the bathroom) in cabinets or closets. If you can’t do that, get some lid locks or a pet-proof trash can.
- Move The Blind Cords
The cords on blinds can possibly strangle a puppy if they get twisted up in it. Tie them up out of the way. Here’s a couple of products to do just that.
- Put The Lid Down
A small puppy can drown in the toilet bowl, not to mention that toilet bowl cleaners are toxic. Keep the lid down and them out.
- Consider Crate Training
Crate training your pup is a good way to create a safe space where you can put them at night and when you’re away. If you do it the right way, making it enjoyable for them, it won’t feel like a punishment when you put them in there.
Here’s a definitive how-to on crate training.
- Buy Potty Pads
Until your puppy is house trained, there will be mistakes and potty pads are the answer. Keep a couple around in strategic areas so they'll have options.
- Get Scratch Guards
If you’re living in a rental you don’t want that pup thrashing your doors and walls with scratching. Protect with with scratch guards.
- Hide The Litter Box
Who knows why dogs love cat turds so much, but if you’re going to have a blended family – hide the litter box. Not only is it gross, litter can cause intestinal blockages and cat feces can transmit parasites. You’ll keep your pup safer without giving your cat one more thing to be pissed off about.
This is a good starting place on making your home safe for your new canine co-pilot. Even so, the little guy will probably find a few more ways to get into trouble. But with a little care and a lot of puppy love your pup will grow up healthy, happy and safe.
The Bryant, a stylish, next-generation apartment community in Charlotte, NC is the perfect new home for you and your fur buddy. It offers contemporary, spacious floor plans, first-class amenities (including a dog park and pet wash station), a prime location and pet-friendly community.