Is your house as ready as you are for a new puppy?

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Tan pug stands up on dining room bench investigates bread on table top
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty

When you live with dogs, especially a new pup, you learn quickly how fast your home turns into one big chew toy and just how much, ahem, mess (no judgement here) is left in each room. It doesn't take long for a curious dog to discover trash and socks under your couch and oh doggie, all those interesting cords plugged in everywhere! A treasure trove to our dogs that just happen to be quite dangerous.

Every room in your home offers another opportunity for dog-proofing. From the kitchen and laundry room to the bedroom and living room, there are some surprising hazards. But don't worry! It doesn't take long to modify your decor and furniture so that your dog has lots of comfy room for relaxation.

3 Things to Consider to Dog-Proof Your Home

Dogs investigate the world through their nose and mouth, making them fluffy danger vacuums on four legs. If you take into consideration a dog's point of view, literally, you are more likely to notice things that may become an unintentional danger to your canine best friend. 

1. What Is in Your Dog's Line of Sight?

When evaluating a room in your home for safety, I always recommend looking at your dog's vantage point; how tall is your dog and where is their line of sight? Assessing your home from the height of your dog can help you identify unsafe objects that may grab their attention. You might be surprised to find that your brand new watch you placed on your bedside table is at a perfect height for your golden retriever to snag. Small items that can be easily reached should be removed and placed in safe locations like drawers or closets that cannot be opened by your dog.

2. Does Your Dog Jump up on Things?

Your bed, your rocking chair, your end table. If you have a dog that can easily jump up on things and is a nibble climber, consider removing furniture items that may pose a danger. Chairs that move when jumped on can swing back and damage other items in your home as well as injure your dog. End tables that have breakable family heirlooms or glass picture frames can become safety hazards in no time for a dog that follows his nose and will put his paws up on furniture.

3. Where Does Your Dog Like to Rest?

Does your dog like a comfy spot on the couch? Does he prefer to snuggle up on a blanket? The position of those items is an important consideration when dog proofing your home. Blankets, dog beds, or rugs should never be placed near electrical cords or outlets, fans, fireplaces, or heaters as they can quickly become dangerous. 

How to Dog-Proof Your Home Room-by-Room

Of all the rooms inside your home, the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms tend to be the most hazardous, but any room can pose risks, so it is imperative to spend time in each room in your home. Invest in sturdy baby gates to help section off rooms or prevent access to spaces you don't want your dog to enter. Once you make these areas in your home safe, your dog will have plenty of great places for rest and relaxation.

Dog-Proofing the Kitchen

Kitchens are riddled with not-dog-friendly items like food, medications, and cleaning supplies. They offer your dog the most chances to find, and consume, things they shouldn't. But once they are dog-proofed, kitchens can make great doggie hangouts.

  • Keep medications stored in cabinets that can be locked or on high, secure shelves
  • Keep all food off of counters and store in containers with tightly closed lids
  • Consider installing child proof latches on low cabinets
  • Keep garbage in pet-safe trash containers that lock via a pedal mechanism
  • Install baby gates and pet gates that prevent access to the kitchen

Dog-Proofing the Living Room

The most common concerns in living rooms are electrical cords, fireplaces, opened windows, and reclining chairs. This is likely the room your dog will frequent the most with you so making sure it is safe for them is of the utmost importance.

  • Unplug cords and put them away when not in use
  • Block off access to the fireplace with a baby gate or fireplace screen
  • Keep windows closed and cover them with curtains when not at home
  • Make sure reclining chairs are never left open when not in use
  • Make sure any plants you have are safe for dogs and keep them out of reach
  • Put away breakable items and remove decor from coffee and end tables
  • Put away any small toys, like puzzle pieces or Legos, in bins with lids 

Dog-Proofing the Bathroom

Bathrooms can be a dog's favorite place to check for interesting morsels to taste and fun "toys" to test out. Keeping cabinets closed, and better yet the door to the bathroom shut, is the best way to practice good management.

  • Keep the toilet lid closed and consider installing a seat-lock
  • Keep trash cans in a cabinet or use pet-safe containers
  • Remove bath toys and loofahs or sponges when not using them
  • Never leave curling irons on counters and unplug and put away blow dryers
  • Keep toilet paper rolls stored in containers or use a roll protector or cover

Dog-Proofing the Bedroom

Bedrooms are commonly used for confining a dog to a safe area. Before you use your bedroom as a place for your dog to relax, be sure to remove items that can become a choking hazard and don't leave out things you'd rather not become a chew toy.

  • Close drawers and closets
  • Check for loose socks and undergarments under the bed and put them away
  • Make sure things like hangers, belts, and purses are safely put away and out of reach
  • Keep jewelry, hair bands, and any small accessories in containers high on shelves
  • Don’t use mothballs! They are toxic to pets

Dog-Proofing the Laundry Room

Laundry rooms can pose lots of risks to curious canines. Some hazards are obvious and others are more discreet. When in doubt, prevent access to the laundry room entirely.

  • Keep cleaners in secure closets or high on shelves
  • Clothing, towels, and undergarments should be kept off the floor
  • Keep the doors to the dryer and washer closed at all times
  • Dryer sheets should be kept in a closed container high on a shelf

Dog-Proofing the Yard

Dogs should not be left outside unsupervised but if you decide to let your dog use a doggie door to the backyard for potty breaks you must ensure the space is safe and secure. Holes, loose posts, and unlatched gates can make easy escape routes for bored dogs and dogs should never be left unattended near pools or play equipment.

  • Make sure all plants in the yard are pet-safe
  • Remove all lawn equipment including gardening tools 
  • Double check that the fence is in good repair and an appropriate height 
  • Block access to balconies and high steps to prevent falls
  • Block all access from swimming pools of any size

Our dogs are great at adapting when we help them to do so safely and are quick to find relaxing spots in any home. Making your home dog-safe is necessary for any dog you invite inside and will ensure your dog is happy, and secure, when you can't be right by their side.