One of the benefits of owning your own home is that you can have a pet without first asking a landlord for permission. Still, there are some steps you will want to follow before you bring your new furry companion home. Today, we’re sharing our top ten tips on how you can prepare your home for pets. Whether you’re bringing home a new puppy, kitten, or older adoptee of either species, our guide will help you make sure you’re ready for their adorable escapades you will no doubt experience.


Pet-Proofing Your Home

Just like human babies and children, pets need safe environments in which to live. Before you bring your pet home, go through your rooms from top to bottom looking for hazards and items you do not want them to be able to reach.

First, though, a special note about kittens: these baby animals are born with the instinct to climb trees to escape danger. If they can reach a curtain, piece of furniture, or ledge, they will scamper upward as far as possible when they’re nervous (or even when they are full of energy). Prevent them from having access to these things until they are old enough to get back down safely on their own.

General pet-proofing should include:

  • Blocking small openings under cabinets, appliances, and furniture
  • Close the flue on your fireplace, and prevent them from accessing the hearth
  • Raise, tie up, and potentially cover cables and cords
  • Cover outlets
  • Install baby-proof latches on all cabinets
  • Move cleansers, detergents, disinfectants, and medications out of their reach
  • Keep your toilets closed, and install child-proof lid locks if your pet is (or will be) tall enough to nudge the lid open
  • Move any breakable items to safety
  • Put away anything small enough for your pet to swallow
  • If you are bringing home a puppy from a breed that likes to chew, cover the corners and legs of your furniture with chew-proof materials until they are past this stage
  • Research each of your houseplants; move any toxic plants out of your pet’s reach or gift the plants to a friend with a green thumb
  • Keep plant fertilizer, anti-freeze, and pesticides in a locked cabinet in your garage or shed
  • Check your back yard’s fences and gates for safety and security

New Pet Must-Haves

Preparing for your new pet can involve as many fun products as you choose to purchase, but there are some essentials that every pet owner should have on-hand, including:

Food and water bowls
Cats and kittens want their food and water in a spot that’s well away from their litter box. Puppies and dogs are known to be enthusiastic eaters, so heavy bowls with silicone bottoms will reduce mess and make mealtimes easier for your dog.

Food
Your pet will often arrive with a small amount of the food to which they are accustomed. If you plan to switch them to a different brand of chow, gradually replace small amounts of their puppy food with the food you plan to use (usually by increments of 20%) until they are comfortably eating the new food all on its own. Be sure to choose age-appropriate food and keep an eye out for any signs of intestinal distress. Food allergies are not uncommon in pets.

Toys
Both cats and dogs enjoy playing with their humans, so choose some solo toys and some toys that will “come to life” when you enter the mix.

Pet bed
Cats and dogs love having their own safe, scent-marked places to sleep. For extra comfort, provide them with a small blanket and a stuffed toy as well. If your pet has come from a breeder or shelter with a toy or blanket of their own, avoid washing them until your pet has had time to fully infuse other items with their own scent.

Pet carrier
Anytime you take your pet to the vet, it is safest to tuck them safely into a carrier. Cats often use their carriers their whole lives, while puppies can eventually be leashed trained for all outings.

Species-specific items
Cats need litter boxes, scratching posts, and cat trees, while dogs need a leash and harness suitable for their size and coat type.


On Your Pet’s Gotcha Day

You are no doubt filled with joy on the day you first bring your new pet home. However, this first week can be quite a shock for your pet, even if they are simply moving from one cozy home to another. Keep your home’s noise and activity level to a minimum while you build rapport with your pet.

New pets, especially cats, may feel cautious and hide at first. Rather than interacting directly with your nervous pet, simply spend time in the same room quietly reading or scrolling on your phone. Put a small bowl of especially delicious food next to you and allow them to come eat next to you. Still, do not reach out to them; rather, you will want to wait until your pet interacts with you directly. Allow them to sniff you, look at you, and walk around you without your reacting in any way.

Before long, your pet will trust and love you, and you will enjoy a great relationship for your pet’s entire life. The outcome will be well worth the wait!


Meeting Your Loved Ones

Once your pet is comfortably settled in, it’s a great time to invite your larger family and friends over to meet your pet. Request that they leave their own pets at home; they will bring their pet’s scent at this first meeting, which can provide your pet with a gradual introduction to the other animal.

Ideally, your guests will be able to come either one at a time, or one small family at a time. Encourage quiet interactions, and make sure small children have been taught how to appropriately interact with your pet.


The Takeaway

Following the practices and steps outlined above, you can enjoy many years of love with your new pet. If you are a first-time pet owner, it may feel like a lot to tackle. Just remember that billions of people on Earth share their lives with their pets, and so can you!

Posted by Parks Real Estate on

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