Puppy Proofing Your House or Apartment | The Ultimate Guide & Checklist

Puppy Proofing Your House or Apartment | The Ultimate Guide & Checklist

Welcome to the wonderful world of pet parenting! There’s nothing quite so heartwarming as the pitter-patter of puppy paws dancing across your floor and the wriggling embrace of a fluffy, loving canine friend. However, before you bring a puppy into your home, you need to make sure your home is safe for your newest family member. 

By nature, puppies are highly curious and inquisitive, and they are capable of getting into anything and everything. Puppies also like to pick up, chew, and eat whatever they can get their little paws and baby teeth on, including items that can be toxic or cause dangerous health conditions. 

Remember, puppies are just naturally exploring their new environment, and they need their pet parent to keep them out of trouble. To give your puppy the best life possible, your home needs to be the safest environment for her. When you thoroughly puppy proof your house, you ensure that your dog has the most secure start to her life with you.    

The Puppy Proofing Basics

There’s a lot of room to cover when you bring a puppy into your home, and you might be wondering how to puppy proof your house when so many parts of it can pose a danger to your dog. One of the best approaches is to start indoors, room by room, then work your way outside. 

Puppy Proofing Indoors

Take these steps to prepare your living rooms and family rooms for a puppy:

  • Puppy Proofing Your House or Apartment | The Ultimate Guide & ChecklistRemove electrical cords and wires from reach or run them through cord covers. You probably have lots of cables in these rooms from lamps, televisions, video games, and stereos. This rule is incredibly important during the holiday season to correctly puppy proof Christmas trees.

Because puppies can suffer burns to the mouth or electrical shock from chewing on cords, it is critical to puppy proof wires and puppy proof electrical cords in your living spaces.

  • Screen fireplaces as flying embers and ashes can easily burn a puppy lying too close to the heat. Keep fire-starting sticks away from dogs, too, as they can be chewing temptations due to their sweet taste.
  • Cover all air and heating vents. Small spaces are attractive to inquisitive pups who are tiny enough to crawl into these locations and become stuck and injured.
  • Secure all drapes or blinds, especially the cords, as those can quickly become choking hazards for your pup.
  • Keep hazardous and poisonous plants out of reach. Plants should be kept up high away from puppies who love to chew on leaves and dig dirt. Many common household plants, such as lilies and ferns, can harm your puppy. Don’t forget to keep hanging plants out of your dog’s reach as well.
  • Close or screen doors and windows. Fresh air, other animals and dogs, and general neighborhood activity are tempting to a puppy who may eagerly scoot out a door or jump or fall out a window. Screen windows and doors or close them altogether if you are not alongside your puppy.
  • Keep toys and keepsakes, like knick-knacks, out of sight. Puppies love stuffed animals — to remove the stuffing, of course — and they enjoy chewing on small items. These actions can result in blockages or choking, both of which threaten your dog’s life. Remove your pup’s access to these belongings by storing them up high in shelving units or in closets with closed doors. 

For kitchens and bathrooms, puppy proof the following areas:

  • Puppy Proofing Your House or Apartment | The Ultimate Guide & ChecklistClose and lock your cabinets. Use childproof latches to secure items like medications and cleaning supplies. 
  • Secure trash can lids. Open or easy-access trash can lids means a puppy can knock them over and consume whatever she finds within. Some of that garbage may upset her stomach, pose a choking hazard, or be poisonous. Dog-proof your cans instead and prevent high veterinary bills later.
  • Keep sharp objects away from your pup—items such as clippers, knives, razors or scissors equal dangers to your puppy’s wellbeing.
  • Close the toilet lid. Puppies like to drink out of the toilet, and they can easily fall in. Close that lid to prevent drowning and to keep your dog from drinking any cleaning chemicals. 

Puppy Proofing Outdoors

You and your family will be spending more time outdoors training your puppy and bonding with her. Therefore, puppy-proofing outside is just as important as inside. Here are some steps to prepare your yard for your pup:

  • Secure the property. If possible, build a puppy proof fence that is high enough to stop your puppy from jumping over it. Keep the fence maintained so the puppy cannot dig under or squeeze through any holes.

If you have an inground pool, be sure there is a secure fence around it to prevent your puppy from falling in and drowning. The same goes for any outdoor landsca[ed ponds,  fire pits, or bonfire areas: make sure there is a barrier around them, so your puppy stays safe.

  • Remove hazardous plants and materials. Some outdoor plants can cause stomach upset or poisoning for dogs. Other important substances to keep your puppy away from include pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and compost. 
  • Keep the lawn mowed, and gardens edged and trimmed. Pests like ticks love to wait in taller grasses and shrubs and can easily latch on to dogs walking nearby. 

Although it can seem a daunting task, a careful review of the inside and outside of your home can help you catch trouble spots and remove them from your puppy’s path.

Puppy Proofing an Apartment

What if you rent an apartment instead of owning a home? There are some additional steps to puppy proof an apartment, so your dog is happy and safe, and so you can keep your security deposit. Aside from puppy-proofing the apartment according to the indoor and outdoor guide above, include the following actions:

  • Puppy Proofing Your House or Apartment | The Ultimate Guide & ChecklistDedicate a space for your puppy. Choose a spot in the apartment, preferably in a non-carpeted area, and make it your dog’s space. Use pet or baby gates to cordon off the area and place your puppy’s toys, food and water, and puppy pads, if necessary. Don’t forget to puppy proof the dog bed by choosing a chew-proof model or flat without additional stuffing that can be pulled out and ingested. 
  • Secure all outdoor access points. Apartments with patios, porches, or balconies can pose a variety of problems for your puppy. Small puppies can fall through or escape between the gaps in railings. Installing chew-proof railings can help puppy proof a balcony or other outdoor space.
  • Protect your furniture. Use a naturally bitter no-chew spray on your couches, chairs, and table legs to discourage your puppy from chewing on and damaging the property. If you choose to allow your puppy on your furniture, consider purchasing washable furniture covers.
  • Get your pet cleaners ready. Puppies will have accidents, and whether your apartment has carpeting or laminate flooring, you’ll need cleaners on hand to swiftly remove any waste. Use pet-proof carpet pads, plastic covering, pet-stain carpet cleaners, and urine odor removers to keep your apartment looking and smelling clean. Remember to keep your curious puppy away from any cleaners while you use them and store them out of her reach. 

Don’t Forget! Important Steps for Puppy Proofing Success

Here are some vital steps to puppy-proofing success and a happy, safe pup. Remember, puppies are naturally curious, and it’s not their fault if they get into something they shouldn’t; that’s why puppy proofing your home is critical to your dog’s health. 

Choose a puppy who fits your home.

Larger dogs mean more puppy proofing in your home, and smaller dogs can get into tiny spaces and scoot outdoors and windows quickly. Evaluate your home and choose a puppy who will fit best in your environment.

Remove potential hazardous dangers.

From keeping medications and cleaners behind locked cabinet doors to covering or removing electrical cords to securing the lid on the trash can, be sure to remove or eliminate anything that poses a danger to your puppy.

Create a puppy “safe space.” 

Invest in a puppy playpen or choose a corner or section of a room in your home and designate it in your puppy’s area. Use baby or pet gates to close off the area and stop your puppy from wandering and getting into trouble. The puppy’s space is ideal for food and water locations, toy and play area, and as a place for a crate of puppy bed.

See your home through your puppy’s eyes.

Use your imagination and think about what your home will look like from a puppy’s perspective. What might catch her attention? What might she try to grab or chew? Try your best to anticipate problem areas and solve them before your puppy walks into the room. 

Puppy Proofing Your House or Apartment | The Ultimate Guide & Checklist

Puppy Proofing Checklist

Here’s a quick checklist to help you prepare your home or apartment for the new four-legged companion in your life. Remember to check, then double-check, each step before your puppy arrives.

  • Check all electrical cords and outlets; use cord covers and outlet plugs for protection.
  • Lock chemical cleaning supplies and medications in high cabinets with childproof latches.
  • Secure the lids on any trash cans in the house.
  • Keep toilet bowl covers closed to prevent puppy access.
  • Remove indoor plants from your puppy’s reach.
  • Screen windows and doors or ensure they are closed when you are not in the room with your puppy.
  • Fence your yard and create barriers around any inground pools, ponds, outdoor fireplaces, and bonfire areas.
  • Keep your grass mowed to prevent tick infestations and do not allow your puppy outside after the use of fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides.

Stay alert for your puppy’s sake and properly puppy proof your home. You will ensure a lifetime of health and happiness for your loving, loyal canine companion. 

Pet Insurance ReviewThis article is written by our friends at Pet Insurance Review (PIR). Since 2005, PIR has helped pet owners across North America and Canada compare pet insurance policies to ensure an informed choice can be made for both the owner and pet. PIR is committed to providing unbiased recommendations and informative data to help pet owners share lasting relationships with their furry friends.

Let’s keep our pets safe and healthy for years to come. Get a quote today.



Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect: john@lastartups.com

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