Puppy-Proofing the House

by Wendy Rose Gould
 

"Before bringing home that furry addition to your family, take a moment to puppy-proof. "When your home is puppy-proofed [ahead of time], you can focus on just bonding with the pup and being in a state of enjoyment and excitement," says Cynthia Okimoto, New York dog nanny and caregiver."

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"Puppies need something to chew on for a minimum of four to six hours every day through the first year of life, says Okimoto. Make sure you have a large supply of pet-approved chewies, including bully sticks and hollow rubber toys stuffed with yummy treats."

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""Eliminate caustic chemicals and check labels to determine safety for pets," advises Rachel Friedman, founder of A Better Pet, LLC, and author of "The Six Pillars of Dog Training Wisdom." Make sure cleaners are behind closed doors and out of reach, get rid of any potentially toxic plants and put away any toys or items that may be tempting for your puppy to chew on or swallow."

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"Purchase -- or create -- a dog playpen in which to place your pet whenever you have to step away. Friedman explains that this gives your puppy a safe spot, a place where he can feel comfortable around the clock. Fill the playpen with toys, a bed, a warm blanket and a piddle pad."

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"If there's a room you have yet to puppy-proof -- or one you'd like to keep your puppy out of for other reasons -- make sure to keep the door closed at all times. If your puppy plays outside, make sure the gate is locked so you don't have to worry about Fido wandering away."

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"Move any furniture that's near counters, tabletops or other surfaces you don't want your pup exploring. Okimoto explains that, by nature, dogs are always on the prowl for food and a closer spot next to you. "They can be very clever [about how] to get to you, or the snacks, by any means possible," she says."

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"Since puppies are prone to chewing on anything and everything in sight, use a taste deterrent spray, available at pet supply stores, on all corners, molding, furniture legs and cords you don't want your puppy to chew on. Reapply the deterrent once weekly, advises Okimoto."

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"Assume that everything is fair game for your new puppy. If you don't want something to get ruined, your best bet is to keep it completely out of puppy's reach. Tuck away fragile vases and valuables, and cover or relocate expensive furniture and rugs."

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"Keep groceries, food leftovers and trash out of puppy's reach to prevent accidental ingestion. That includes chicken bones, onions, garlic, plastic bags, broken dishes and other hazardous items that can cause serious damage if eaten."

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