Whether you’re rescuing a dog, bringing home a kitten, buying a fish, or settled on a hamster- there's a lot you can do to prepare yourself and your home for your new pet!
Getting a pet is a big commitment, and there’s plenty to think about as you prepare for this transition into pet parenting. We’ve compiled a list of our top tips to help get your home ready for your new little friend when the time comes.
Pet-Proof Your Home
You’ll need to make your home safe before adopting, whether it’s paying attention to hazardous ornaments during the holidays or tightly closing your trash cans. Pet-unfriendly plants, poisonous foods, and unsafe domestic substances should be kept out of reach.
Clean Your House from Top to Bottom
Take any valuable items and place them in closed storage containers that are out of reach. You will need to create a strategy to block spaces a small animal can get into, but you cannot, such as under beds or dressers. Decide on where you will keep pet supplies in order to avoid confusion. This is also a good time to decide where the pet will exercise (a must if you’re getting a dog).
Secure Doors and Window Screens
If you’re getting a cat, you’ll need to ensure that your window and door screens have latches that a curious feline won’t be able to open, and also that these screens are secure. You may even want to buy screening that is essentially cat-proof. You should also close the toilet, as your cat (or dog) may see it as a giant water bowl and try to get a drink.
Decide Where You Pet Will Stay During the Day
The best option is to have your pet stay with you. This is especially beneficial when your pet first joins your family. If you have the luxury of being able to bring your pet to work (leashed and crated, with regular potty breaks), go for it. Another option is doggy daycare, if you can afford it. There’s also the option of leaving your dog at home (crated), or in an exercise pen.
Give Your Pet Lots of Toys
If you’re adopting a dog, give him lots of chew toys, so he won’t be tempted to chew on other substances. Cats should likewise have balls of yarn and other toys to knock around. Keep in mind that pets explore their surroundings with their mouths, especially when they’re young. It’s your responsibility to confirm that anything that isn’t supposed to be licked on or chewed is kept out of reach.
Prepare for an Adjustment Period
Be prepared for crying if it’s a puppy or a kitten you’re bringing into your home. Baby dogs, and baby cats will cry (just as human babies) during the night as they adjust to their new home. But unlike human babies, it’s a bad idea to bring them into your bed to soothe them. Instead, set up an enclosed, quiet space with a comfortable bed, or a kennel that can be closed to prevent wandering.
Bonus Tip: Get Your Pet ID'ed
Accidents happen and when they do you'll want to make sure your pet has all their identification so that your beloved pet can be returned to you if found. Get a collar or harness along with an ID tag and you can even ask your veterinarian about a microchip.
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