Bringing a new puppy, kitten, or other pet into your home can be an exciting prospect, and you may be so gung-ho to get your new best friend moved in that you fail to properly prepare. It’s important to understand that your house could be a minefield of potential problems when it comes to the health and happiness of your pet, not to mention your own relative level of sanity. But you can make a plan that will help the transition go more smoothly for everyone involved. Here are just a few ways that you can pet-proof your home and add the amenities that will make for a pet-friendly environment.
- Removing harmful objects. The most dangerous thing about bringing a pet into your home is that you may not even realize which objects could be harmful. For example, you might not expect a dog to chew up your shoes or figure out how to open the cupboards and get into the trash or your chemical cleaning solvents. And you may not realize that cats will tear up your rugs and throw pillows to ingest the fringe hanging off of them. Did you know that many pets like to chew electrical wires? And when they jump up on furniture, items on top could fall on them and cause injuries. The long and short of it is that you need to go over your possessions with a fine-tooth comb to consider whether or not they could harm your pet, how you can keep them out of reach, and whether it might not be safer to simply remove them from your home.
- Adding baby gates and latches. There will likely be certain areas of your home that you’d prefer to keep animals away from. And it’s in your best interest (and theirs) to install some safety measures such as baby gates and door latches. The first will keep pets out of rooms and off of staircases that could prove harmful to their health. And if you need to keep them confined to a certain area of the house while you’re away, these are a good option (although with cats you may simply have to close doors since eventually they’ll be able to scale the baby gates). As for latches, they’ll ensure that cupboards and drawers containing potentially harmful items (cleaning solvents, trash, sharp or heavy kitchen items, toiletries, etc.) are inaccessible.
- Supplying food. Obviously you’ll need to get food before you bring your pet home, but you may want to take some time to read the labels. If one of the first ingredients listed is corn, a filler, you might want to put the bag back on the shelf. Instead, look for pet food that lists meats and vegetables amongst the first several ingredients. And you might even consider organic options. Don’t forget, you also need to get the food that suits your pet’s age group: puppy (or kitten), adult, or senior.
- Finding a vet. Since your new pet will need a checkup at the very least, and possibly some shots and other services, it’s important to do your homework, arrange for consultations, and find a veterinarian you like before you bring your pet home. This will ensure that you can get your pet in quickly for a first appointment and any that may be needed thereafter.
- Comfort items. Your pet is going to be sharing your home, and that means you’ll have to make some concessions to ensure he’s comfortable. Unless you want him sleeping on your bed or the couch, you should probably get him his own extra large dog bed or cat tree to snooze in. And don’t forget blankets and toys that can provide comfort and entertainment for the newest member of your family. Finally, make arrangements regarding waste. A litter box is standard for cats, but you might want to install a doggie door for a pooch so that you don’t have to read his mind or take him out ten times a day.