Getting a new puppy is naturally very exciting for the whole family, and there are a lot of different things you need to do and think about before you bring the pup home – such as puppy-proofing everything to prevent accidents, injuries, and damage to your things as well!
Puppy proofing involves assessing your whole home and garden from the point of view of a curious and inquisitive puppy looking for mischief, and removing or negating any risks that might land them in hot water – both figuratively and literally!
However, even if you spend days assessing and puppy-proofing your home, have asked other people to check if you’ve missed anything, and are really vigilant about worst case scenarios, there are still a few things you might not have thought of – and that are hard to pre-empt or mitigate in advance.
These things tend to be situational rather than physical changes you can make (such as covering wires) and so depend on what is going on at the time – but by learning to recognise potential risks that can’t be definitively prevented, you stand a better chance of supervising your pup effectively, and managing them in such a way as to keep them safe.
Read on to learn five potential hazards to your puppy that you should look out for at home, even after puppy proofing it.
Hard wood floors, laminate, tiles and other flooring options that don’t involve carpet are really popular today, often particularly so with dog owners because they are that much easier to keep clean and free of shed hair.
Many types of hard flooring like polished wood, tiles and laminate are smooth and so, somewhat slippery if tackled at speed – which isn’t an issue for most people as we don’t usually run around the house as a rule, but the chances of your new pup turning the hallways into a race track are fairly high!
Floors that can result in your pup slipping or skidding when running or cornering can benefit from being treated with products that make them somewhat less smooth to the touch, and you should try to discourage your dog from haring around the house in general, lest that sharp corner results in an epic wipeout on the way around!
Rugs too can slip from underfoot if not secured carefully, so bear this in mind and use underlay or anchors to keep them in place.
If your kitchen bin is fairly tall, you might automatically discount the need to puppy proof it because your new pooch will be too small to reach it – but think again! Dogs will often go to great lengths to get into a forbidden source of food, so be prepared for your pup to attempt to push the bin over, dislodge the lid or even climb or jump to get into the bin, and mitigate accordingly.
Using a child lock on the bin’s lid is the best approach, as weights holding the lid in place may become dislodged if your dog pushes the bin over, and also because it is easy to forget to put them back after use!
Pups often need to be taught how to tackle flights of stairs, but after their first few tentative attempts, they will usually be very gung-ho about it all! However, you should try to teach your pup to go up, and particularly, down the stairs calmly and sensibly, to prevent tumbles and accidents.
Additionally, hip dysplasia is a threat to many dog breeds like the German shepherd, and the onset of hip dysplasia can be worsened or sped up by too much vigorous climbing and leaping, including haring up and down stairs, so try to teach your pup to be sensible about using the stairs and to avoid seeing them as a playground!
Windows. Should be safe for dogs, right? Assuming they’re not at floor level, your dog isn’t going to climb out of them or be able to do anything other than look out through them if you’ve puppy-proofed them with the appropriate guard.
However, there is one type of window glass that is found in many homes and that results in numerous canine injuries every year – patio doors. Because patio doors are comprised of large plates of glass, it won’t always be evident to your dog that there is a barrier in place at all – and if your patio door is frequently open and used by the dog to go in and out of the garden, and especially if the glass is very clean, your pup might not notice that it is closed and run head-first into it.
Teach your pup to wait for a command to go out through the patio door, use another door for them to go in and out, or use a mark or barrier on the glass to let your dog know when the door is closed.
Puppy proofing isn’t something you do once and then it’s all good forever – as our houses are lived in and not frozen in time, it is important to think about the pup when you go about your day to day life at home too.
Things put down on coffee tables or at the bottom of the stairs are things that we humans don’t tend to think about too much, but they will of course be in reach of your puppy, and if that something is food, or a potential danger, your pup may get into bother.
Always be speculative and think of the pup when it comes to putting things down and how easily your puppy would be able to reach them if they tried.