Photo by Sara Budisantoso

How to puppy-proof your home


Welcoming a new dog into the family can mean a lot of joy, unconditional love and adorable Instagram posts. But a big part of taking care of your fur baby is keeping the little one safe from harm. You may not realize it, but your home can hold many hidden dangers, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. These 13 precautions apply whether your dog is a mischievous pup or a full-grown adult.

And no matter what happens, just accept that there will be accidents, broken items and pet hair everywhere. When you look into your dog’s loving eyes, you’ll know it’s all worth it.

1. Dogs like to chew on things they’re not supposed to, so place tempting objects on higher shelves and cupboards. My dogs love to eat paper — mail, books, facial tissue, you name it — and I have to survey the entire home before leaving to make sure there is no paper within reach.

2. Install childproof latches on lower cabinets to prevent dogs from poking their noses into them.

3. Chewing on furniture can occur when dogs are bored or anxious. Training can go a long way in preventing this behavior, but in the meantime, you can apply some bitter spray to the furniture. These deterrent sprays are available at pet stores, or you can make your own version by searching for recipes online.

4. Use blankets and throws on sofas and chairs. They’re easier to clean than the furniture.

5. Do some research on your houseplants to see if they are toxic. You’ll be surprised at some of the plants that are poisonous for dogs — for example, ivy, aloe vera, philodendron and asparagus fern.

6. Keep toxic food out of reach. Dogs can’t eat chocolate, onions, grapes, coffee, avocados and many other common foods you have in the kitchen.

7. Childproof lids on medications are no match for a dog’s teeth. Keep all your medicine out of reach because Fido may think pills are treats.

8. If your dog likes to drink out of the toilet, keep the seat cover down at all times and avoid using automatic toilet bowl cleansers. Open toilets also are a drowning hazard for puppies. A safe bet is to keep the bathroom doors closed at all times.

9. Change open trash cans to “step on” canisters with lids to keep dogs from doing scavenger hunts through your garbage.

10. Watch out for electrical cords. If dogs chew on them, they can be electrocuted. Wrap them with cord covers and tuck them out of sight.

11. Dogs love your dirty laundry because it smells like you, but if they swallow your socks or other clothing, it can lead to serious digestive tract problems. Now you have another reason to put away your clothes. And invest in tall hampers with lids instead of using open laundry baskets that sit on the floor.

12. Drapery cords that extend to the floor can cause strangulation. Knot up excess cord so your dog doesn’t accidentally get caught in it.

13. Many dogs scratch at the door when they want to go out. Mine scratch the door when I come home and they can’t contain their excitement. To prevent scratch marks on the door, install a plastic or metal kick plate to the bottom. 


Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at jonathanfongstyle.com.