I learned the hard way about puppy proofing when I adopted my dog Roxie. I had just moved into a new one-bedroom apartment, and I was on a mission to adopt a rescue pup. After a co-worker sent me a photo of a poor puppy who was abandoned on the side of the road, I knew I had to bring her home. Little did I know how much damage she would cause.
Considering she was the first dog I had ever cared for, I tried to be as prepared as possible. If you’re planning to bring a puppy into your apartment, these are a few real-life lessons I learned along the way that will help you care for the new member of your family:
1. Keep your pup confined to one area. At first, I kept Roxie in my bathroom while I was away at work, but I quickly realized that space was too small for her. Try keeping your dog in an area where it’s easier to clean up messes, preferably where there’s tile or vinyl flooring. I used a baby gate to keep Roxie in the kitchen so she had more room to play.
2. Keep cords, chargers, and other potentially harmful items out of reach. Look around your apartment through your dog’s eyes. Is there anything the dog can easily reach? Pick up any small objects off the floor that your dog might chew or possibly choke on. There’s a long list of plants that are toxic to your pet, so make sure you keep these plants out of reach, too.
3. Leave plenty of toys and chews while you’re away. Some puppies are very mischievous. Give them plenty of chews and toys to help keep them occupied and prevent them from chewing on other things, like your furniture.
4. Spray furniture with no chew spray. Roxie was a serial chewer. Even if I left toys and chews for her, she preferred my furniture. I sprayed all the places she chewed (and other areas she hadn’t gotten to yet) with a natural bitter no-chew spray. This spray was so extremely helpful to keeping her from chewing the rest of my furniture.
5. Put away ALL food. Even if you think your pet can’t get to it, don’t take any chances. Especially during the holidays, make sure all candy, nuts and chocolate are put away and out of reach.
More helpful tips for pet parents: