Your ultimate guide to puppy-proofing an apartment

Bringing a new puppy into your life is incredibly exciting. Huge puppy eyes, adorable furry face, uncoordinated paws, and heaps of energy, all concentrated in one tiny body. While puppies are undeniably cute, living with them can also be chaotic if you’re not prepared. 

Picture this: tiny paws scampering across the floor, wagging tails knocking things over, and those adorable, inquisitive noses getting into everything they can reach (including your trash bin). 

Puppy-proofing your apartment is necessary not just for your own sanity, but also for your puppy’s safety. 

It requires careful consideration and planning (and checklists! ☺️). But by taking the time to identify potential hazards and taking steps to prevent accidents, you can create a safe and secure environment for your new furry family member.  

To make it as easy as possible, I’ve put together an ultimate guide to puppy-proofing an apartment. Ready? So here we go…

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

While I am a veterinarian, this article is not intended to replace professional veterinary advice. If you have any medical concerns about your pet, consult your vet immediately. Always seek professional assistance if you are unsure of your pet’s health.

puppy playing with yard

Understanding your puppy’s behavior

When puppy-proofing an apartment, it’s important to understand a puppy’s behavior. And while each puppy is unique, there are common behavioral patterns to be aware of.

Puppies are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. They also have a strong desire to chew, especially when they are teething, which can lead to destructive behavior if not properly managed.

Here are some key behaviors to keep in mind when puppy-proofing your apartment:

  • Chewing: Puppies love to chew on anything they can get their teeth on, including furniture, shoes, and electric cords. Providing plenty of chew toys and keeping valuable items out of reach can help redirect their chewing behavior. 
  • Jumping: Puppies are full of energy and love to jump up on people and furniture. Training your puppy early to stay off furniture and teaching them appropriate behavior can help prevent damage to your apartment and keep your puppy safe.
  • Digging: Some puppies enjoy digging, which can lead to damage to carpets and flooring. Providing a designated digging area, such as a burrow dog bed or outdoor space, can help redirect this behavior.
  • Curiosity: All kids are curious, it doesn’t matter if they have 2 legs or 4 ☺️ Puppies are small bundles of energy, and your little furball will eagerly explore every nook and cranny of your apartment. It’s your responsibility to ensure they don’t stumble upon anything that could pose a danger to their well-being.

Understanding these behaviors and providing appropriate outlets for them can help prevent destructive behavior and keep your puppy safe.

Age and size considerations

The age and size of the puppy will determine what measures need to be taken. For example, smaller puppies may be able to fit into tight spaces, while larger puppies may be able to reach higher areas. It’s important to take these factors into consideration when puppy-proofing the apartment.

Breed-specific considerations

Different breeds have different needs and tendencies. For example, some breeds are more prone to chewing, while others are more prone to digging. 

Knowing your puppy’s breed heritage can provide valuable insights into its energy level, exercise requirements, grooming needs, and even potential health concerns. And it can help you tailor your puppy-proofing efforts and training methods to better suit your puppy’s natural inclinations. 

Labrador retriever puppy looking in cabinets

How to identify potential hazards

The first step in puppy-proofing your apartment is to identify potential hazards. The best way to do this is to get down on your hands and knees and look at your apartment from your puppy’s point of view. 

Look for anything that could be dangerous or harmful to your puppy, such as electrical cords, toxic plants, sharp objects, or a phone charger. 

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write everything down. Now you have a good idea of what are the potential hazards in your apartment.

Once you have identified potential hazards, take steps to remove or secure them.

This is what you need to look for:

  • Electrical cords, loose wires, power cables
  • Toxic plants
  • Sharp objects
  • Small objects that can be swallowed (for example loose coins, rubber bands, or children’s toys)
  • Household cleaners and chemicals
  • Medications
  • Breakable objects
  • Human food that your puppy can access
  • Trash cans without lids

Puppies are curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings. This means that anything within their reach is fair game, including your new shoes, clothing, or furniture.

How to puppy-proof an apartment - infographic

Choosing the right puppy-proofing supplies

When it comes to puppy-proofing your furry friend’s new home, there are a few essential supplies that every pet owner should consider. Here are some of the most important items you might need:

Baby gates

Baby or puppy gates can be an excellent way to keep puppies contained in a specific area of the apartment. This can be especially useful when you need to leave the apartment or when you are unable to supervise your puppy. Look for gates that are sturdy and easy to install.

Dog crate

Crate training can be an effective way to keep puppies safe and secure when you are not at home. A crate can also serve as a comfortable and cozy sleeping area for your puppy. When choosing a crate, make sure it is the appropriate size for your puppy and that it is made from sturdy materials.. 

Chew toys

Safe chew toys are lifesavers when it comes to redirecting your puppy’s teething tendencies away from your belongings. Providing them with plenty of toys can help to keep them entertained and prevent them from chewing on furniture or other household items. Look for toys that are durable and made from safe, non-toxic materials.

Childproof locks or child-safe latches

You can use childproof locks or child-safe latches on cabinets that contain items that could be harmful to the puppy.

Puppy pads and couch covers

Training pads are a must, especially during the early stages of housebreaking. They are designed to absorb urine and can help to protect your floors and carpets from accidents. When choosing puppy pads, look for ones that are absorbent and made from high-quality materials.

You can also invest in a durable couch cover or slipcover that is resistant to stains and easy to clean. This not only protects your couch but also provides a designated spot for your puppy to lounge.

Cord covers or cord clips

Puppy-proofing with cord covers or cord clips is a practical solution to safeguard your electrical cords and prevent potential hazards. Cord covers are designed to encase cords, making them less accessible to your puppy’s inquisitive teeth. Cord clips, on the other hand, secure cords to walls or surfaces, keeping them out of your puppy’s reach altogether.

puppy lying on the floor

Puppy-proofing basics

Bringing a new dog into an apartment can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to puppy-proofing the apartment. Puppies are curious and energetic, and they can get into all sorts of trouble if left unsupervised. Here are some puppy-proofing basics to keep in mind:

Create a safe space

It’s important to create a designated safe place for your puppy. Select a specific area in your apartment, such as a small space in the corner of the living room or a dog crate, to serve as your puppy’s safe space. This area should be easily accessible and relatively easy to supervise. It should also be free of any potential hazards, including open windows!.

You can use baby gates or pet barriers to enclose the safe space and prevent your puppy from wandering into potentially hazardous areas. 

Make sure your puppy’s safe space is equipped with a bed or pillow, a water bowl, and a variety of safe toys and chews to keep your pup occupied and content. 

Some dog owners prefer to feed their puppies in their safe space, and some feed them in other areas that are easier to clean. It’s up to you.

Your puppy’s safe space should be just that – safe and his. So if you have children, they shouldn’t be allowed there. Explain to them that when your puppy retreats to his safe space, he needs rest. They need to leave him alone until he’s ready to come back and play again ☺️

Remove all potential hazards

Puppies are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. This means that anything within their reach is fair game. Get down on your puppy’s eye level and have a good look around. Note and remove any potential hazards, including small items, poisonous plants, or cleaning supplies..

Protect electrical cords and wires

Electrical cords can be very tempting for puppies to chew on. This can not only damage the cords but also pose a serious risk of electrocution. 

To prevent your puppy from damaging electrical cords, keep them out of reach or hidden behind furniture. Use cord covers or cord clips to keep cords organized and out of sight. Here are a few tips on how to protect your cables (and your pup 😊).

Secure your trash can

Puppies love to dig through trash cans. And believe me, you don’t want to wake up and find a sick puppy with diarrhea and trash all over your place.

Always secure your trash can with lids or keep them in a cabinet that is out of the puppy’s reach or secured – we used child-safe latches for our bin. 

Remove toxic plants and foods

Puppies often try to eat anything they come across, including foods and plants that are toxic to them. 

Some common toxic foods for dogs include chocolate, onions, raisins, nuts, garlic, grapes, cinnamon, and citrus. It is important to keep these foods out of reach and properly stored to prevent accidental ingestion.

In addition to toxic foods, some plants can also be harmful to your puppy. Plants such as lilies, azaleas, and daffodils are toxic to dogs and should be kept out of reach. So if you have plants at home, do your research and make sure they are all safe for your puppy.

Provide plenty of toys

Provide a variety of toys to keep your puppy occupied and prevent destructive behavior. 

Chew toys are a must when your puppy is teething.

You can even give your puppy a bone to chew on, but there are some rules you need to follow to make sure the bone is safe for your pup. 

Puzzle toys and interactive toys can keep your pup engaged for a long time. Sturdy soft toys can take quite a beating when your puppy has a lot of pent-up energy. 

printable puppy planner

Puppy-proofing an apartment room by room

Puppy-proofing your apartment room by room is a meticulous process that guarantees a safe and enjoyable environment for your new furry friend. As you work your way through each room, remember to tailor your approach to your specific puppy’s needs and behaviors. 

Puppy proofing your kitchen:

The kitchen can be a dangerous place for a curious puppy. To keep the puppy safe, it’s important to take the following precautions:

  • Store all cleaning products and chemicals out of reach of the puppy.
  • Use child-safe latches and locks on cabinets that contain food or other items that could be harmful to your puppy
  • Keep all sharp objects, such as knives and scissors, out of reach
  • Keep small objects such as coins or rubbers out of your reach
  • Use a lidded trash can or put it in a secured cabinet to prevent your puppy from rummaging through and potentially swallowing harmful items.
  • Don’t leave food unattended on countertops or tables.

Puppy proofing your living room:

The living room is often the main area where the puppy will spend time, so it’s important to make sure it’s safe and secure. Here are some things to consider:

  • Keep shoes and other items that the puppy could chew on out of reach
  • Keep small objects such as coins, jewelry, or rubbers out of your reach
  • Use childproof locks or child-safe latches on cabinets that contain items that could be harmful to the puppy
  • Secure any furniture that could tip over 
  • Remove expensive or breakable items 
  • Bundle or conceal loose cords and cables to deter chewing and potential electrical hazards
  • Check your plants for toxicity
  • Use sturdy, easy-to-clean materials that can withstand some puppy exploration and the occasional accident

Puppy proofing your bedroom:

While some new puppy owners want to keep their bedrooms private, others cannot imagine sleeping without their new furry friend. If you want to let your puppy sleep with you in the bedroom, keep in mind that this room often contains various potential hazards, such as medications, loose cords, and under-bed spaces.

Here are a few tips to puppy-proof your bedroom:

  • Keep any medications, even in pill bottles or dispensers, out of reach in secure cabinets
  • Keep small objects such as coins, jewelry, or rubbers out of your reach
  • Keep shoes and other items that the puppy could chew on out of reach
  • Bundle or conceal loose cords and cables to deter chewing and potential electrical hazards
  • Block access to under the bed using storage bins or bed skirts to prevent exploration and potential entanglement
  • Make sure that any plants are not toxic to dogs

Puppy proofing your bathroom:

Bathroom is often overlooked when it comes to puppy-proofing, but it can be just as dangerous as other areas of the home. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep all medications and other items that could be harmful to the puppy out of reach
  • Use child-safe latches and locks on cabinets that contain cleaning products or other potentially harmful items
  • Keep small items like cosmetics and bathroom accessories off accessible surfaces
  • Bundle or conceal loose cords and cables to deter chewing and potential electrical hazards
  • Make sure that any plants are not toxic to dogs
  • Use a lidded trash bin to prevent your puppy from rummaging through and potentially swallowing harmful items
  • Consider a toilet lid lock to prevent your puppy from drinking toilet water or falling into the bowl (yes, this really happens 😃)

Puppy proofing your kid’s room:

Ok, this is the toughest room to puppy proof. There are toys everywhere, usually within your kid’s reach, which also means within your puppy’s reach. And believe me, your puppy will find all those toys awesome and his. The best advice I can give you is to block this room off with a puppy gate and only let your puppy in if your kid agrees (it’s his space after all) and if you can supervise them. 

If your child is older, you can use the same method when puppy-proofing his room as with other rooms:

  • Keep small objects and toys off the floor, as they can be choking hazards for your puppy
  • Secure any furniture that could tip over 
  • Remove expensive or breakable items
  • Safely store your child’s favorite toys and items out of your puppy’s reach
  • Bundle or conceal loose cords and cables 
  • Make sure that any plants are not toxic to dogs
  • Keep shoes and other items that the puppy could chew on out of reach
  • Teach your child about responsible pet ownership and the importance of keeping their room tidy and safe for the puppy

Please remember, these lists are just my recommendations. You need to have a look at your apartment from your puppy’s perspective and create a list tailored to your specific situation. 

Maybe you have a Great Dane puppy that can reach further up. Or a toy breed puppy that can easily sneak into small spaces. 

Maybe you carry a chocolate bar in your purse “for emergencies” as I do. In that case, don’t forget to put your purse out of your pup’s reach when you get home (I learned this the hard way 😃 ). 

The truth is, you can never make your apartment 100% secure. 

Our Maltese once broke into our fridge, took out a can of beer, made a hole in it with his teeth, drank the whole thing, and proceeded to pee all over our living room. No one believes us when we tell this story, but it really did happen 🤷‍♀️ I would have never thought that I needed to dog-proof my fridge… 🤦‍♀️

Puppies can be unpredictable, and accidents can happen, so it’s important to keep a close eye on them to prevent any mishaps. 

In any case, it’s good to have an emergency vet on hand in case of any unexpected health emergencies.

So, that’s it from me, if you have a few more ideas that might help to keep puppies safe comment below😊

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