by Ms Dany Canino
Bringing a new puppy into your home is a very big responsibility. Not only do you need to make sure you have a dog crate on hand for housebreaking and quiet time for your new family addition, but you also need to make sure that your house is going to be safe for your puppy.
If you had a toddler in your home you would make sure that there was nothing harmful within this child´s reach. You would make sure that all electrical outlets had safety plugs in them so that this baby wouldn´t get shocked through curiosity.
Well, there are things you´ll need to check out for safety before you bring this puppy into your home.
One of the most dangerous things is any small object that a puppy could grab to chew, running the risk of the object lodging in the puppy´s throat.
These things should be put in a higher place when the puppy is loose to roam.
A safe situation is to not allow the puppy complete freedom to roam through your house. The puppy should be monitored so he doesn´t get into dangerous things, and to scold him when he does. Puppies like to taste, mouth, and chew anything within their reach. They are typically curious.
Find out from your local nursery which plants that are in your home and on the floor are toxic. Put them out of the pup´s reach. Remember, it won´t be long before this pup is old enough for training classes and he will learn to leave these things alone. However, for now, it´s your job to make these things disappear from his path of curiosity.
If you´re a chocoholic and like to keep a candy dish handy and within reach, make sure it´s not within the puppy´s reach. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is very toxic to dogs. So put the chocolate up. Just thinks of the pounds you won´t put on!
Low garbage cans are also an invitation to trouble. That small trash can that´s in your bathroom that you throw your Kleenex in can prove harmful to your puppy. The kitchen trash can should be safe if it´s much taller than your pup, but if it too is very low to the ground your puppy is going to be sure it was put there for him to investigate. If he successfully gets in to it, he´ll have the time of his life; until the diarrhea sets in.
If you get your puppy during the Christmas holidays be sure to put a barrier around the tree, or your puppy will surely peek at all the presents before Santa wants him to. The ornaments, tinsel and tree are also dangerous.
Stairs should be closed off until the puppy is old enough to go up and down them safely. Puppies don´t realize that they should slow down in this situation so that they don´t injure themselves.
Basically, when the puppy is inside your house he should be monitored or be in his crate for safety. If he gets into something, destroys something, or gets hurt; you probably have yourself to blame. It means you weren´t being an observant puppy owner.
All of this “danger time” will pass before you know it, so just take the time to look around and use some common sense.
Now, onto the backyard and the garage. I once made the mistake of leaving the side door open to the garage. My curious puppy decided to check out the fishing tackle box. He got a fish hook speared into his lip. Of course this happened late at night, so it became an emergency situation and the vet bill reminded me to not be so careless again.
I once had a client whose puppy ate part of a baby shoe. He ate the tongue and the laces and had to undergo emergency surgery. He obviously had too much freedom or someone wasn´t being very observant.
If you have a pool, you´ll definitely need to make this area puppy proof. Until your pup is old enough for you to take him into the pool several times so that he learns where the steps are, he should not have access to this area at all.
Your backyard is also a place that the pup should not have complete freedom for long periods of time. If you do give him unobserved freedom in this area, be prepared to have your flowers dug up, your patio furniture will probably be chewed, the garden hose will most likely become quite holey, and that good smelling barbeque will be invaded. So don´t leave this infant alone in this area too long.
I´m sure that after reading this you´re wondering why you got a puppy in the first place. Well, that´s a healthy thought. If your lifestyle is such that you don´t have the time to puppy proof your home or property, or perhaps you don´t want to rearrange things, then maybe you should think about getting an older dog that is past the puppy stage and is looking for someone to adopt him or her. There are a lot of these animals available.
However, if a puppy is what you really want and, if you´re willing to go through a little work, this time of change in your household should pass very quickly.
Just use your common sense before you bring a puppy into your home. Look around and try to get a mental picture of the puppy in each room. You´d be surprised at how aware you can become about safety for your new friend.
Be sure to plan for an obedience class for your pup when he´s about 4 months old. You might even want to contact a dog trainer to come to your home when the puppy is around 9-10 weeks old. The professional trainer should be able to go through your house and property with you to make sure everything is okay. Also, don´t forget to get that dog crate for your puppy before you bring him home. Next to you observing the puppy, this is going to be a great safety and training device.
Your puppy will grow up so quickly that you´ll almost forget what you went through to make your house a safe place. It won´t be long before the puppy you brought home is the adult dog sharing your home as a wonderful member of your family.