McNeil Labradors

Puppy Proofing Your Home 

So, you think you shouldn’t puppy proof your house?  “A puppy needs to have good and bad experiences”,  “puppies should learn what they can play with and what they should leave alone”,  “I’m not going to put everything up, they will just have to learn to leave things alone”.  These are typical thoughts geared toward setting your puppy up for failure.  If you were bringing a baby home, you’d probably do everything possible to make sure he couldn’t harm himself, so what’s the difference with a puppy? 

You might want to get down on your puppy’s level and look at all the things that would be potentially tempting and accessible that you never imagined.  If he can’t reach it, he can’t harm it, or worse yet, harm himself!  Think of your puppy as a three or four year old child constantly curious and always investigating….   The best time to puppy-proof is before the puppy arrives, but it’s not too late if you haven’t already started. 

The kitchen, laundry room, or den is a nice place for a crate, and I do strongly encourage crate training.  It’s your peace of mind, and for the protection of your puppy.  Your puppy wants to be close to you and these areas of the house usually provide more of a feeling of togetherness for your puppy when he must be crated and you can’t watch him every minute.  Isolated areas such as the basement or garage are no places for puppies. 

It’s practically impossible to completely puppy proof your home, but for your puppy’s safety some of the following will prove helpful:

* Assess the whereabouts of houseplants and flower arrangements.  Some of the most noxious plants are those that adorn the house at Christmas time – mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettia.

* An all-time favorite is drinking out of the toilet – keep the lid down.  Your puppy might not only be drinking water, but ingesting bacteria as well as cleaning chemicals from the water tank.

* If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, make sure hot tub cover or pool fencing is in good repair.  Although Labradors are “water dogs”, puppies and dogs still drown because they don’t know the way out!

* Unplug and remove electrical cords, and cover outlets with plug covers when not in use.

Puppies are intensely curious which can get them into a lot of trouble.  Most people store cleaning supplies in lower kitchen cabinets. 

* Cabinets should be locked securely with a childproof lock, or cleaning supplies should be stored on high storage shelves in closed cabinets.  Bleach and other cleaners are not intriguing enough to swallow in most cases, but when licked by the tongue, the chemicals burn mouth tissue which is slow to heal, and interferes with the ability to eat and drink. 

This alone would be very detrimental to the proper growth and development of a puppy especially when nutrition is so important! 

Many people practice hobbies in the family room or den such as sewing or painting.  Put everything away and out of reach of your puppy.  Dogs who eat even one penny risk zinc toxicity. 

     * Balls of string or yarn, buttons, beads, needles, pins, staples, paper clips rubber bands, ball point pens and craft paints can hurt your puppy’s mouth or internal organs if swallowed.
* Pieces of children’s games can also be harmful – jacks, marbles, metal game tokens, etc.  Lead drapery weights or fishing sinkers can cause lead poisoning as well as eating craft paint or chewing paint off door jams.

Garbage eating is a popular pass time for puppies.

     * Any bone that your puppy can crunch should be kept away, as tiny fragments can cut his insides.  Of greater concern in the garbage can are mold, bacteria, and toxins from apple cores, potato skins, and moldy cheese.  These can make puppies very sick.

Bones from the pet supply catalog or pet store such as Nylabones and Gumabones should be given to your puppy.  Rawhide is fine IF you supervise however long periods of chewing soften a rawhide and this can be easily swallowed and choked on, or cause intestinal blockage.   

Other edible dangers can be found on the nightstand – jewlry and medications.  Part of a canine’s omnivorous evolution is their attraction to sweet tasting substances like candy-coated medications.  While we’re on the subject of sweet tasting substances, chocolate is toxic to dogs – keep it out of reach!  Get in the habit of putting things away and out of reach of your puppy when you’re finished using something.  This is the safest approach for protection – yours and your puppy’s. 

Puppies are drawn to things that smell like you such as, socks and pantyhose which pose potential danger to your puppy when swallowed.  Pieces of string, rope and the like when tangled in the intestines of a puppy can be deadly. 

The garage and open storage shed is a place for curious puppies to get in all kinds of trouble.  Sweet, green and fatal is found in garages underneath parked cars.

* Antifreeze is a very fast poison, which crystallizes the kidneys usually causing irreversible damage.  Don’t tempt your puppy’s curiosity - keep all toxins out of reach. 

* Fertilizers, pesticides, rodenticides, slug and snail bait, rock salt, rat poisons, pool chemicals, and auto supplies like oil, antifreeze, and gasoline should be stored in an adequately ventilated, secure storage area, but not for long periods of time.  Many toxic substances when stored in plastic, deteriorate the container resulting in leakage.  Although there are so-called “pet safe” antifreeze and fertilizer products, even these are toxic if enough is ingested. 

* Rodenticides are extremely potent poisons and extremely lethal when they’re spread directly on the ground around the home by you, or as in professional applications. 

Keep your compost pile fenced securely.  Compost produces bacteria that produces the toxin that causes botulism. 

Improperly screened woodstoves and fireplaces can be hazardous to your puppy.  Never leave a candle burning and unattended. 

Carpet cleaners and fresheners are also dangerous when residue is left for the puppy to get in his mouth.  There are orange-oil based products on the market that are safe if you’re concerned about  puppy odor. 

Your puppy should not be left unsupervised inside or outside – period!! 

Keep your puppy off high porches, balconies, or high decks. 

Check to see where your puppy is before opening or closing doors.  Make sure you conduct a “puppy check” before leaving or going to bed.  Hopefully your puppy will be asleep in his crate. 

Don’t be overwhelmed by potential dangers, use common sense and make a few changes at the time.  Provide adequate supervision and plenty of toys for your puppy.  Crate when you can’t supervise – this is your peace of mind and your puppy’s safety place.  

McNeil Labradors
Statesville, NC 28677

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Last Updated:  January 29, 2008

© Copyright 2001 - 2008 by Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors, All Rights Reserved.
Page Created By:  Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors

  Thought For The Day:

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can
spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's
the best deal man has ever made." - M. Facklam