Prepping Your Home for a New Puppy

Melinda smiling holding her black, brown, and white puppy close to her face
Melinda Benbow
A small fluffy puppy asleep on a plaid dog bed

Bringing home a new dog or puppy is one of the greatest moments a human can experience. Unfortunately, for our new canine friend, it can be overwhelming to be in a new environment. As pups and dogs explore and get to know new spaces, they tend to use their nose and mouth to navigate these new places and the items in them. This means that many items in and around your home can fall victim to your new dog, or your dog could get hurt by things around your home. That’s why you need to take the time to puppy-proof your home before they arrive. In this article, we will go over how to make sure your home is ready for its newest occupant.

A small gray dog laying on the floor surrounded by fluff

Deep Clean

A good deep cleaning allows your dog to come into an environment free of harmful bacteria and disease. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you clean:

  • Some adopted dogs may not be fully vaccinated, and if you have purchased a puppy, they may not have any vaccinations at all. A sanitized home helps keep them healthy until full immunizations are completed.
  • Combing over your home will also give you time to assess items in your living space and how they relate to your dog's safety. While cleaning, take notice of items that seem too low to the ground and move them out of a dog's reach.
  • Because dogs can fit into awkward spaces, be sure to move furniture and clean it underneath and behind.
  • If you already have pets in your home, remove any past urine odors to prevent your new pup from depositing waste in those same indoor areas. The past scent of other accidents can be attractive to a new animal, and although we may not smell the old odor, dogs certainly can.
A little golden retriever puppy sitting on a tile floor

Remove Harmful Items

There are plenty of items around your home that are obvious dangers to the safety of your dogs and others that are less noticeable. Take the following actions to prevent harm to your pup:

  • Address items that would be dangerous for a child, such as household cleaning supplies, pesticides, auto-related chemicals, medications, and recreational drugs. Find a safe place to store these items where your dog cannot get to them.
  • Move cords and cables that present hazards. Purchase cord protectors for those wires that cannot be moved.
  • Pick up anything that your dog can get in their mouth, including toys that should only be played with under supervision, and place them at safe levels. Ideally, with future training, you will teach your dog dependable “leave it” and “drop it” commands, but until then you must keep these items out of reach. Anything your dog can get in their mouth is a potential choking hazard or has the potential to create an intestinal obstruction.

Dangerous Cleaning Supplies/Chemicals: 

  • Laundry detergents, dish soaps, and other cleaning products 
  • Bleach 
  • Pesticides 
  • Weed killer 
  • Fertilizer 
  • Motor oil, gasoline, kerosene 
  • Antifreeze 
  • Transmission fluid 
  • Paint/thinner 
  • Drugs/medications 
A tiny brown puppy with a wrinkly nose nestled in some tall green grass

Check Your Yard

Check your yard for any hazards, old pet waste, old toys, toxic plants, or other things that may present an issue.

  • Identify toxic plants early to be able to remove, relocate, or fence them off.
  • Clean up waste in your yard from other pets and animals to help prevent your dog from ingesting or tampering with bacteria-ridden fecal matter.
  • Comb the yard for out-of-place items such as trash, gardening tools, human toys, or other items that could end up in your dog's mouth. If you have a fenced-in yard, be sure that there aren't any spots your pup can squeeze through. Take time to reinforce these holes or weak points.
A freckled setter emerges from their travel crate

Crate When You Can’t Supervise

Crates keep curious puppies safely contained when you cannot supervise them. Dogs instinctively try to keep their sleeping areas free of bodily waste. Crate training also helps puppies learn to hold and strengthen their bladder and bowel muscles, making housebreaking less of a chore for you and your dog. Check out this article to learn more about how crate training can help your pup. While your dog is young and learning the rules of your home, there will be instances when they will have to be home alone. Crate training will allow you to leave your dog home comfortably and, most importantly, safely.

Accidents happen, but you can limit the severity and number of accidents by puppy-proofing your home beforehand. While future training will help you redirect your dog from tampering with some household items, other items are too dangerous to risk exposure. Set your dog up for success and safety by proofing your home!