Whether you are a first-time pet parent or adding a new member to your pack, it’s important to prepare for your furbaby’s arrival. You’ve got the best food, toys, and bedding, but when it comes to getting your home pet-ready, you may feel less sure about where to begin.
Here are five simple tips for welcoming a new pet into your home.
Invest in a pet-proof lid for your kitchen or bathroom trash before bringing home a new dog or cat.
An overturned trash can is more than a mess. Chicken bones and discarded food packaging are an attractive choking hazard, and the list of foods that can be toxic to pets is longer than you may realize. Keeping trash out of reach will help pets stay safe while they adjust to their new space.
To a playful kitten or puppy, everything has the potential to be a toy. A new pet’s curiosity is adorable until it is directed at your shoes, blinds, and electrical cords.
Don’t try to suppress your furbaby’s natural instincts to scratch, chew, and roughhouse — it will only cause you both stress. Instead, encourage your pet’s sense of play without sacrificing your furniture by providing them with safe outlets for potentially destructive behaviors. There is an incredible variety of scratching posts, chew toys, and other enrichments to choose from, so it’s always best to offer your pet some options while you get to know their preferences.
First, think like them! A great strategy for pet-proofing your home involves trying to take the perspective of your new furbaby. Things that don’t seem like a toy or snack to you can be very attractive to pets. Puppies and kittens grow quickly, so items that were out of their reach when they first came home won’t be forever.
Reduce your anxiety by using cabinet locks and temporary gates to keep pets out of areas of your home where chemicals, cleaning products, and medications are stored. Few things are more worrisome than a rambunctious puppy or kitten that is suddenly too quiet. Pet parents should also watch out for unexpected hazards – some indoor plants, like lilies, are highly toxic to pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something harmful, contact your vet right away.
Welcoming a new cat or dog may require you to make some changes to the way that you organize your home. Pet parents who like to keep fragile items out on display may want to consider how a high-energy puppy or kitten is likely to interact with their decor.
Cats are notorious for swatting small items off of tables and dressers, which can be disastrous for any earrings left on the bathroom sink. Worse yet, small trinkets that get knocked to the floor can be a choking hazard for curious pets.
A pet who feels constantly redirected away from your belongings will get frustrated. Your new furbaby is a member of your family, and they deserve a place in your home to call their own.
Help your pet establish themselves in their new environment by giving them a safe space that looks and smells familiar over time. Crate training doesn’t just keep puppies out of trouble when they can’t be supervised; it gives them a place to rest, relax, and learn to self-soothe. Similarly, cat trees, or other elevated perches, will satisfy your cat’s innate need to climb and observe from on high.
Keep in mind that isolation should never be used as a form of punishment. If you crate your dog or put your cat in a separate room, the experience should always be positive. Use treats, toys, or a favorite blanket to help your pet learn to enjoy their space.
Welcoming a new dog or cat into your home can be challenging, but it’s also one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. Taking time to prepare your home for your pet’s arrival can help keep them safe, happy, and thriving.