Taking in a new puppy is a lot like taking in a new baby. Suddenly your home goes from a magazine-ready oasis to the front lines of a virtual war zone where every piece of furniture and decoration could be a weapon. If you’re bringing a new puppy into your home, or even an older dog that hasn’t been properly house trained, there are a few things you need to do to puppy proof before your new arrival comes.

Safety

The first things you should puppy proof are the things that threaten the animal’s safety. This includes cords, open stairwells and fireplaces. To help identify potential safety risks, get down on your hands and knees and look at your house from the height of a puppy. You’ll be surprised how many dangers you can spot.

Make sure that cords are out of reach and can’t be chewed. Many puppies have been tempted to chew through power cords, only to be electrocuted and seriously injured. Roll cords up, put them behind furniture and make sure that anything that doesn’t have to be plugged in is out of the way.

If you have open stairways in your house, your puppy could accidentally fall down them and get hurt. Close off basement accesses and put up a pet gate at the bottom of the stairway to make sure that your puppy can’t get up the stairs, which will prevent him from falling down them. Pet gates can be used throughout your home to block stairways and limit your dogs access. If you have a large home or a multi-level home, you may want to keep your puppy in just one room at first and focus your puppy proofing efforts there.

For the fireplace, a simple pet play pen that’s opened and placed around the fireplace will keep your puppy away from the tools, extra wood and opening of the fireplace. Even if you have a gas unit, it’s not safe. Your dog may accidentally turn on the gas or get too close to the fireplace when it’s turned on. A puppy gate will teach your pet to stay away from the fireplace regardless of whether it’s being used or not.

Other Considerations

Aside from safety, you’ll want to do other puppy proofing before your dog arrives to save your belongings and sanity. Keep shoes in a closed location, such as a closet or mudroom that may be closed off. Keep movies and electronics in a closed location or up high. Don’t leave blankets or laundry lying around that your dog may feel the need to urinate on. Look around for potential puppy targets and move things as necessary.

Some items that catch your dog’s attention may surprise you, so keep and eye on your puppy and make sure they aren’t getting into anything they aren’t supposed to. Sometimes, it’s helpful if your dog has their own space. A pet bed or dog stairs leading to your bed can help your puppy feel like they have their own area within your home. Whenever your dog starts to chew or play with something that they aren’t supposed to, you can gently guide them to their area and their toys to give them a safe alternative.

A little bit of puppy proofing can make the arrival of your new dog as stress-free and happy as possible. Take the time to look at your house from your dog’s perspective and find ways to make it a safe and stress-free environment for both of you.