What's the best way to dog-proof your home?

Getting a new dog is a lot of fun but also a big responsibility, and as with any new arrival into your home, you need to ensure the environment is safe and the boundaries are clear.

Watch what they eat

One of the biggest challenges with dogs is that they will often chew or eat anything they can - even if those substances end up being dangerous. As you would with a toddler, go around your house securing any areas which present potential hazards. If you have any toxic cleaning products or substances which would not agree with a dog, either move them to higher shelves where they are inaccessible or use a tie to keep the cupboard doors shut. Remember that some foods which we would not think of as toxic can be lethal for dogs, such as chocolate. Trying to give your kids an entertaining Easter egg hunt could result in a costly vet trip. Likewise with sharp objects or the litter trays of other pets which you may have in the house. Dogs will eat poo too! Keep the lid of your toilet closed otherwise they'll lick you with a toilet water tongue. Here are some potentially hazardous items that your dog may try to eat:

  • House plants
  • Medicines
  • Rubbish bags and waste bin contents
  • Cables such as iPhone chargers
  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute found in products such as sugar free gum which is poisonous to puppies)

For anyone wanting more info, there's an exhaustive list created by the Dog Trust.

Puppy proofing your home

Puppies are double the trouble but twice as cute! Check your home and garden for any narrow gaps where they might escape and always be careful when opening the door on your return if you live on a busy road. Puppies also love to chew things so your proofing may consist of putting all your best quality furniture in one room which puppy doesn't go in!

Give them an alternative

The best way to stop your dog or puppy from chewing something dear or dangerous is to give them a great alternative. If your puppy has a favourite toy they are less likely to destroy your furniture or eat something inappropriate. Get advice from a good pet shop about which toys are best or read reviews and ensure that the toys aren't small enough to swallow.

Make them feel safe

Your puppy will be less likely to act out if they feel safe in your home. One of the best ways to do this is to create a space that's belongs to them such as a bed, hideaway or cavern.