The Essentials New Pet Owners Need to Puppy-Proof Their Homes

There isn’t much out there that’s more exciting than bringing a new puppy home. Whether you’re introducing Rover to the family for the first time, adding him to your current canines or just puppy-sitting for a friend, prepping for your pup’s stay is key to keeping him happy and healthy—and making sure your home stays clean and clutter-free. Thoughtful pre-puppy preparations and a well-planned space can make your dreams of the perfect family dog come true.

A Month Before

You’ve set your sights on your pup and thrown around a few cute names, but maybe have given little thought to much else. When you’re a month out, it’s hard to picture any worst-case scenarios, like Rover getting into hazardous food or materials, creating spills and messes or having house-training accidents. However, these occurrences are very real and happen with almost every new pup. To make sure your home (and sanity) is ready for a fuzzy new family member, there are a few housekeeping tips to keep in mind:

- Put hazardous or potentially dangerous food, materials and medications up high and out of reach. Don’t keep anything dangerous in lower cabinets, even if it’s in a lidded container.

- Start buying containers, storage bins and labels. Put puppy food, leashes, canine medicine and other belongings in labeled bins to stay organized while training your new dog.

- Add easy-to-reach bins full of toys to the mix. Your new pup will likely want to get hold of his toys easily (which can also help in the training process). Encourage exploration, but keep his attention on toys like rope, balls and stuffed animals in low-to-the-ground bins that he can’t bite or chew.

A Week Before

It’s almost go-time! Before bringing your dog home, it’s time to puppy proof the house. Even if you already have dogs, they’re likely grown up and house trained. Your new addition will be curious and adventurous, and it’s likely he won’t adhere to house rules without proper training.

- Set up a puppy gate and decide which rooms your fuzzy friend can and cannot be in.

- Decide where his “room” will be, then set up an area with his crate, bed, toys and extra food and water dishes so he knows which spot in the house is his.

- Collect grooming supplies like shampoo, brushes and deodorizing sprays and place them in properly labeled, out-of-reach totes or bins.

- Remove any remaining materials that could pose a threat to your pup—house plants, cords, outlets and rugs are all things to be aware of with a new dog.

The Day Of

You’ve brought your pup home and he’s getting acclimated to his space and new family. While this is an exciting time, it can also be nerve-wracking for existing canine family members and your new little one. Here are some ways you can keep everyone comfortable and safe:

- Establish a routine. Let your pup know when he’ll be taken out of the crate for potty breaks, meal time and play dates.

- Keep toys, beds and supplies clean and ready to use.

- Use natural products like lavender spray, humidifiers and small treats to calm your adventurous pup after a long day of exploring.

After a few days in his new home, your pup will adjust and you can start to feel more comfortable having a new fuzzy friend following you around the house. What are some ways you prepare for bringing home a puppy?

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