Making Your Home Safe for a New Puppy

Bringing a new puppy home is a big event, and it's easy to overlook some important details that will ensure a safe and happy start for everyone.

Pre-Puppy Planning

Before you bring your puppy home, make sure everyone in the family knows that a new dog is a big responsibility. Your puppy will need time, attention and patience, especially in the beginning.

If you plan to crate train your puppy, be sure the crate is the right size. For house training, puppy crates should be large enough for her to lie down and turn around.

If you will not be using a crate and you plan to leave your puppy unattended for periods of time during the day, prepare a room to confine her safely. A bathroom works well for this, providing all chemicals and electrical hazards are eliminated from the space.

Some items to have on hand before the arrival:

  • Stainless steel or ceramic bowls
  • A 6-foot leather or nylon leash
  • A sleeping mat or bed
  • A selection of safe puppy chews

Remove Hazards

Your puppy will explore with his mouth. Anything that looks or smells interesting will end up in his mouth. This includes shoes, backpacks, phone and electrical cords and throw rugs. Look around your house. Get down to your puppy's level and move or protect anything that looks tempting.

Move any toxic chemicals out of reach. Mothballs, mouse and ant baits, cleaning products and garden chemicals are all potential dangers to your new pup.

Plants can be dangerous to your chewing puppy. Several common houseplants and landscaping favorites can be hazardous if eaten. Some toxic plants include:

  • Tomato vines
  • Daffodils
  • English Ivy
  • Dracaena
  • Philodendron
  • Azalea
  • Sago Palm

The ASPCA maintains a complete list of toxic plants.

Never leave your puppy outdoors without supervision. It only takes a few minutes for a curious puppy to wander off the borders of your property and into a potentially dangerous situation.

Until the teething and chewing stage is over, restrict your puppy's unattended access to most parts of your house. Always have an alternative chew on hand.

Encourage appropriate chewing with enthusiastic praise. If your puppy picks up something inappropriate, clap your hands loudly and issue a firm "no." Never hit or harshly punish your puppy. Training with patience and understanding will result in a well-adjusted, responsive dog.

Tip: A local group dog training class will help you and your puppy communicate.

Remember that your puppy is going through a big change. Leaving her mother and littermates can be frightening and stressful. Allow her several secure, quiet rests during the day.

Planning for your new puppy includes planning for her safety. Simple precautions will make this exciting time easier and less stressful for the whole family.