With great puppy comes great responsibility: 7 tips to dog-proof your home

(BPT) – Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting life event, but it can also be a little scary. While your new best friend is likely to take to you right away, dogs can also get disoriented when they are in a new place. They’ll frequently want to explore, and they’ll have lots and lots of energy. You might be confident that you’ll be a great, intuitive pet parent, but it’s important to take the right precautions and make sure your house is pet-friendly before Fido finds your designer shoes.

The pet experts at DogVacay, a pet-sitting community that connects pet owners with care providers, offer some guidance.

1. Seal off problem rooms. New pets can take some time to get used to their surroundings, especially when they’re in a new place for the first time. That’s why it’s especially important to seal off rooms, patios or other spaces that may not be pet-friendly. If you have a particularly curious pet that loves to explore, it may be worth investing in a dog gate. Just make sure it’s locked if your pet likes to go outside on his own.

2. Carefully store harmful foods. It’s no secret that dogs like to eat, and often they choose foods that aren’t necessarily good for them. Some dogs can be very persistent about getting what they want. If that describes your beloved pet, consider putting childproof locks on all cabinet doors to prevent him or her from getting at medications or harmful people-food like alcohol, avocado, chocolate and grapes. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep all food out of reach, since lots of pups won’t stop eating until they’ve made themselves sick.

3. Keep handbags out of reach. Handbags are a buffet of exciting items for a dog. Think twice before you put one down on the floor, the couch or anywhere your pup can get to. Dogs can easily stick their noses into bags, so your best bet is to always hang them up so they’re out of reach.

4. Keep the water bowl full. You’ve all seen funny videos of dogs drinking from the toilet, but the reality is that sipping from the pot is no laughing matter. Toilet water contains bacteria and harsh chemicals that can harm dogs, so keep the lid down and make sure your dog has access to a bowl of fresh, clean water at all times.

5. Check your plants. Lush greenery in a home is beautiful, but some houseplants can be extremely toxic to canines and other pets. The Humane Society offers a list of potentially poisonous plants on its website.

6. Make sure they have the right toys. It may defy explanation to humans, but some dogs find cables, cords and wires fascinating. Keep these temptations hidden out of sight by using cord clips or covered corrals to secure wires and cords to walls or furniture. Divert his mind with a selection of bones and chew toys.

7. Find a pet sitter who is good with dogs. As much as you’d like to bring your dogs with you wherever you go, the reality is not all hotels are pet-friendly, not all destinations are good for dogs and not all dogs enjoy traveling. If you’re looking for an easy way to find dog-sitters in your area, check out DogVacay. In addition to overnight stays, DogVacay offers daycare for new pet parents who don’t want to leave their pup alone all day.

Each dog is a unique personality, and you could just as easily bring home an excitable young puppy as you would a more mellow, mature dog that knows how to avoid nasty foods and electrical cords. Dogs can also move fast and be hard to keep up with, but that’s part of why people love them!

Some simple steps to dog-proof your home can help keep your new pup safe, happy and healthy in his new digs. Visit www.DogVacay.com for even more pet care advice.

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