Preventing Puppy Pandemonium

Just got a puppy? Brace yourself for what I call the Wonder Year. The arrival of a pup may cause you to wonder where your sanity went. Pump up your level of patience because puppies are energetic, curious and sometimes, fearless. One way they investigate is by taste testing their surroundings. They also tend to swallow things that they shouldn’t. As a master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor, I make it my mission to help pet parents play it safe for their pups’ sake. So, in preparing for your pup’s arrival, I recommend:

* Get down on your pup’s level – literally. Sit down on the floor of each room and look around for potential hazards that might be within your pup’s reach. These include electrical cords, houseplants, curtain cords and a puppy favorite: the must-gnaw-on television remote that contains batteries.

* Be aware that wicker and cardboard as well as sofa pillows might be mighty attractive temptations to your teething pup, but the shredded materials can cause choking if swallowed.

* Get into the habit of picking up clutter from floors and tables, especially shoes, toys, books and magazines. Years ago, Jazz, my corgi pup, eyed all the books on my bookcase and opted to chew the one book on puppy training. 


* Establish kitchen rules from the start. Consider installing puppy gates to block access to the kitchen when you are boiling water for spaghetti or frying bacon in a pan to avoid your curious pup from getting burned. Keep trash cans in pantries or make sure they have heavy lids. 

* Store all household cleaners containing ammonia, bleach and other chemicals in high cabinets or in laundry rooms with doors that close. A pup who walks on a floor freshly cleaned with popular products like 409 or Pine Sol can get damaged paws, become dizzy, may vomit and develop respiratory issues. So, place your pup is in a safe closed room with his puppy amenities (bed, water, safe toy) and let him out after the floor has completely dried.

* Keep the phone number of the nearest veterinary clinic and the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888 426-4435) on your cell phone and on a highly visible place in your house, such as the refrigerator door. In pet emergencies, minutes count. Also consider enrolling in a veterinarian-approved pet first aid class in person or via ZOOM. 

Definitely, enroll your pup into one of the many classes offered at What A Great Dog once he has received his necessary puppy vaccinations. And, good news! That Wonder Year will fly by and you will enjoy many happy – and safe—years with your canine pal. 

— Arden Moore is the founder of Pet First Aid 4U, best-selling author of host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. www.ardenmoore.com.