Bringing a new pet home is an amazing experience, but this special moment also comes with the big responsibility of making sure they stay safe. Doing a little pet-proofing around your house allows your new furry friend to explore the space safely while also giving you more time to spend bonding with your animal companion. Working your way through this guide helps you create a safe home environment that nurtures your pet’s natural curiosity while giving them everything they need to stay healthy.
Restrict Access to Other Rooms
Eventually, your pet may be able to access every part of your home. But, new pets might not have learned to leave common items alone just yet. Puppies have a natural instinct to chew on shoes, electrical cords and just about anything else they can get their mouths on. For now, you might need to keep the doors closed to certain rooms or use a baby gate to give your pet a safe play area when you can’t supervise them around new spaces.
Create a Feeding and Watering Station
Giving your pet a special place to eat and drink helps them learn to only eat their special food. Plus, they should have access to water at all times to help them stay hydrated. As you set up this area, make sure to choose food and water bowls that are the right size and height for them to reach without straining their neck.
Pick Out a Comfortable Pet Bed
Giving your pet a comfortable place to rest keeps them from having to lay down on cold tile floors. Your pet may also feel emotionally safer when they have a space that they know is their own. If you have a puppy, make sure to choose a pet bed that is made from chew-resistant materials that prevents them from ingesting the fabric and cushioning materials.
Pick Up Supplies for Managing Waste
Cats will naturally need a litter box, and you’ll want to keep all of the supplies you need on hand to clean it out regularly. For dogs, you may need to pick up puppy pads for times when your new canine friend might be confined to a specific area when you can’t be at home. You’ll also want to pick up a scoop to use outside to remove waste along with bags that you can take with you on your walks together. Keeping your yard waste-free makes the space more hygienic for both you and your new pet.
Keep Toxic Items Out of Reach
Many common household items are toxic to pets. Similar to babyproofing, you’ll want to make sure that any chemicals are stored out of your pet’s reach. Cleaning products should be placed in cabinets that aren’t accessible to your pet, and you’ll also want to be cautious about leaving potentially toxic foods out in the kitchen. Even sugar-free gum can be unsafe for pets. Ask your vet to give you a list of foods that you pet shouldn’t eat, which makes it easier to store them in a pantry where your pet won’t grab them.
Choose Pet-Safe Plants
Sadly, your favorite houseplant may need to go. Many plants, such as lilies, sago palms and azaleas, are toxic to animals. Although some dogs or cats won’t seem to notice plants, puppies are especially known to chew up anything in their path. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up having plants completely. Sunflowers and other beautiful plants are safe for pets. Just swap out your houseplants for safer versions, and make sure to do the same thing in outdoor spaces where your pet will have access to roam freely.
Establish Ground Rules With Young Children
Most likely, any children that live in or visit your house will be excited about having a furry friend to play with. But, those exuberant hugs might feel like too much for an anxious pet. Talk to your children about how to gently show pets affection. You’ll also want to fill older children in on which foods to avoid feeding pets along with the importance of keeping them away from unsafe parts of your house. If you have extremely young children in your house, then it’s best to supervise them around your new pet until everyone is well-acquainted.
Have a Plan In Place for Handling Pet Health Emergencies
Keeping a clean and pet-safe home prevents many of the most common pet health problems. But, you never know when your furry friend might suddenly develop concerning symptoms that warrant an immediate trip to the vet. Put together an animal health emergency plan that includes information about which veterinarian to call, and choose a pet insurance plan that makes keeping their care affordable. Then, make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do should an unexpected health event happen. If you have a pet sitter, then you’ll also want to give them the information to use until you can arrive to help.
Put Together a Pet First Aid and Medicine Kit
After visiting the veterinarian, you may have special medications to give your new pet on a regular basis, such as preventative heart worm medicine. Find a designated space to keep this medicine, and you may want to set an alarm to remind you when to give your pet their tablets. This is also a great time to put together a first aid kit that has bandages, a pet-safe antibiotic cream and other essentials that you can use if your pet sustains an injury at home.
Establishing a safe home environment is important for keeping your pet healthy and allowing them more freedom to explore and get to know everyone. While you shouldn’t have to make too many changes around your house, you will find that keeping objects out of your pet’s reach can prevent them from chewing them up or ingesting a toxic substance. Making sure that you have a plan in place for getting them care also gives you peace of mind as you enjoy many opportunities to bond with your new furry companion.