Hello hoomans. It’s George again, here to talk about some common problems that dog owners face…and some not-so-common—especially for owners of big dogs like me and Mozart. See, pups can be clumsy, which means you’ll need to do a bit of dog-proofing around the house. All dog moms and dads have to think about these things; it’s a universal pet parent problem.

Then…there’s big-dog-proofing your home. See, big dogs come with a whole extra packet of possibilities that you’ll need to be prepared for. Trust me: we don’t mean to break everything. We just don’t know our own strength or size. In fact, if we’re still puppies, we might not be able to fit in the same places from one week to the next, leading to some embarrassing accidents.

Have no fear! We’re here to give you some tips for making your home impervious to big boys like me and Mozart.

Obvious Health Hazards

Dogs like to chew, and big dogs are likely to have more powerful chops, even as puppies. Make sure things that could harm or even kill us are sealed away in chew-proof containers. In the kitchen, these are foods that could make us sick, like chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and any artificial sweeteners. In fact, keep all foods stored out of our reach—which is higher than a normal dog—so that we don’t get into anything that might make you mad. Keep in mind that even our own dog food should be locked away until feeding time, or we’ll probably just help ourselves, whether we’re hungry or not. This could lead to dangerous conditions like bloat, which can take down a big, healthy dog in minutes.

In the laundry room, keep bleach, detergent, and other chemicals out of reach. In the bathrooms, we shouldn’t be able to reach razors, soaps, shampoos, lotions, or other dangerous things. Also, keep that toilet seat down. We may not have a problem drinking from the toilet, but you think it’s gross. And, truth be told, it is gross! We just don’t know that.

Living Areas

Sharp corners on furniture and cabinets might cause injury, especially if we’re unfamiliar with the living spaces yet. We’re usually unaware of our size or, like I mentioned earlier, we’re still growing. What fit last time may not fit now.

You can protect sharp corners with store-bought protectors or, for a creative and inexpensive fix, cut up foam pool noodles to fit over the places we’re likely to bonk our heads. This might be coffee table and side table edges, TV tables or entertainment centers, benches, dressers, dining tables and chairs, and cabinet doors.

Keep an eye out for fireplaces, too. A solid fireplace screen should be enough to dissuade us, but some big dogs feel invincible. We might crash straight through that. A fireplace with doors is a better idea. You may also keep us locked away while you’re enjoying a fire in the fireplace, as we might be too close when a log falls or an ash flies out into the room. Also, lock away any fire starter sticks. These sometimes have sweet chemicals infused, which makes us want to chew them even more.

Some Small Stuff…And Not-So-Small Stuff

Open doors and windows are just invitations for us to escape. Screens are a mild deterrent, but if we see something we really want (squirrel!), we’re likely to crash right through. Also keep in mind that we’ll chew on bigger stuff than most dogs. That means you do want to put away batteries, nails and screws, and any other small items, but you’ll also want to keep in mind that bigger items make bad chew toys for us. Watch your phones, remote controls, medicine bottles, electrical cords, chair and coffee table legs, your kids’ game stations, couch cushions, shoes, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, sunglasses, eyeglasses…

Whew! We really will chew on just about anything. If you’re not vigilant, we’ll get to it sooner or later.

Remember, too, that your pup doesn’t know any better until you tell him—gently. If you leave something in plain sight and it gets chewed, whose fault is it, really? Gentle reminders, lots of precaution, and a vet on speed dial: these are everything you need to pup-proof your home. Good luck!

Expect big things!