Your new adopted dog or puppy is here! But how do you prepare your home for when they come in? Preparing for a new puppy or dog requires a top-to-bottom overview of their soon to be surroundings. Besides getting the essentials like a leash, dog treats, and toys, to welcome your new best friend, there are things your dog SHOULDN’T be able to get. Before bringing your new pup in, make sure to complete these steps to dog-proof your home.

How Do I Puppy-Proof My Home?

Even more so than a new dog, puppies are as curious and mischievous as they are adorable, and love to eat and taste new things, so puppy-proofing will require a few extra steps.

  • You can use gates to block off certain off-limit rooms or areas. Your new puppy will be very curious, and likely not housetrained. Pet gates or child gates can keep them into dog-proofed and safe areas to keep unwanted accidents to a minimum.
  • Your puppy is an adventurous new creature, so make sure you always have an eye on them! For safety, and the sake of house and potty training, supervision will be required. If you must step away, keep them in a create or puppy pen to reduce the possibility of a roaming pup.
  • Your puppy would love to be on the couch or bed with you if you will allow them! But your puppy’s bones are still developing, and big leaps or falls can be dangerous. Dog steps, ramps, or any other climbing device can prevent these injuries.
  • Training can never start early enough! Focus on teaching them Leave it and Drop it, as these essential skills can help teach them boundaries within their new home and encourage them to stay away from dangerous things. At THRIVE, clients that join our THRIVE PLUS™  program enjoy 10% off all dog training at PetcoEnroll today to enjoy this discounted training, plus unlimited, free pet exams, 10% off pet services and more!
  • Puppy Pads are accident insurance you’ll be glad to have. Sometimes you won’t be able to stick around all day – if you must go, considering using puppy pads to offer an easy-to-clean place for your puppy to use the bathroom when they can no longer hold it in.

How Do I Dog-Proof My Home?

In a new home, each room can present a different danger to your new best friend. But if you dog-proof one room at a time, you can make sure your home is dog-proof in no time!


  • Clean off your counters to make sure they’re clear of food, and make sure to do so after any food preparation. Snacks and crumbs present tasty treats to any dog, and they’ll follow their nose to scraps. And be sure to keep medications and supplements – yours or theirs – off the counters too!
  • Secure or store any food in closed cupboards, drawers, or the pantry to prevent your dog from eating anything potentially toxic. Xylitol, chocolate, grapes, onions, and people foods are toxic to dogs and can present life-threating issues if not properly stored or avoided.
  • Secure your garbage! Your dog does not know the definition of trash and will always enjoy a good dumpster dive. Get a trash can with a secure lid and put a weight at the bottom to prevent your dog from knocking it over and enjoying the new treats. This is a common culprit to dog-proof.
  • Cut any chip or food bags on both sides so it folds out flat and doesn’t become a suffocation hazard. Pet suffocation is a common but preventable issue. By storing food bags in cupboards, or transferring bagged food to other containers, you can avoid this crucial problem. Don’t leave treats or kibble anywhere your clever pup could access to get some early meals and rewards.
  • Store and safe keep your kitchen cleaning products and detergents. Unlike children, a child-proof cap doesn’t stand a chance compared to a dog’s chewing, so keep these out of reach and out of sight.

Living room and bedroom

  • Cover up or store electrical or cable cords. Everyone knows both puppies and adult dogs find chewing on these irresistible! Bundling these cords and cables up and covering them can prevent chewing. You can put away your phone or laptop chargers when not in use as well. These cords and cables can cause electric shock with burns and breathing difficulties if your pup gets a nibble.
  • Remove toxic plants from the environment. Many common houseplants, such as Sago Palms, Cyclamen, and Autumn Crocus can be poisonous to dogs, so it’s best to look up dog-friendly plants before expanding your indoor garden!
  • If using candles or essential oil diffusers, keep them up and out of reach. Your dog can knock over a lit candle and start a fire, or ingest scented essential oils, causing massive problems. And if you use essential oils, make sure the scent isn’t something that can be harmful or irritating to your dog’s skin, nose, or eyes.
  • Hang and put away coats or bags. Dogs are natural explorers, and will sniff away at anything in your coat or bag pockets. Toxic items like nicotine products, medication, or xylitol in sugar-free gum are dangerous treats to find.

Laundry room and garage

  • Store laundry products out of reach. Cleaning products, laundry detergents, dryer sheets, and many other common laundry products can be toxic to your new pup, so keep them out of reach on a high shelf.
    Store or hide any toxic garage products. Many things you would keep in your garage, from anti-freeze and rodent poison to slug baits and de-icers, are extremely dangerous for pets. If pet-safer versions are available, use those – if not, store and hide!
  • Keep your dirty laundry to yourself! Dogs love laundry diving and carrying in embarrassing items at the worst times. But aside from a joke, socks, underwear, washcloths, and any other small items can cause intestinal blockage and other health issues if they’re eaten. Get a laundry basket with a secured lid to keep prying noses out.
  • Your medicine cabinet is your best friend. Human medication is almost always fatal for dogs – keeping them stored in a closed medicine cabinet keeps your puppy or dog out! Making sure your medicine is dog-proof is key!
  • Take medication over the sink to prevent dropping pills where a curious dog can think they’re a treat.
  • Cover your trash! Bathroom trash cans can be especially enticing to your dog. Lidden cans are great options for kitchen and bathroom trash cans.
  • Close your bathroom door! Unwanted guests during bathroom time can be common, but when you’re outside the bathroom, a closed bathroom door can prevent your dog from playing with toilet paper rolls or pulling out all your tissues.


Do you have more questions about being a pet parent? Be sure to check out the THRIVE Guide for Pet Parents weekly to get the answers to your most popular questions. For specific questions and routine care, book an appointment at your local THRIVE. Our veterinarians are here to provide exceptional and essential care for your pet. Don’t wait – book a nose-to-tail pet exam today!