If you’re thinking of getting a new pet, you should pet proof everywhere you expect them to go in your home. What you need to watch out for depends on the type of pet and the pet’s age. Do your research, and strive to protect your new family member at all costs using these tips.
1. Install Pet Gates
If there’s an area of your home you don’t want your dog wandering into, installing a pet gate might be a fantastic idea. Gates can prevent dogs from following you up or down the stairs when it proves to be a risk for them. While pet gates won’t do much to prevent cats from wandering around, they can stop a dog in its tracks.
If you recently adopted a senior animal, having gates can keep them from potentially hurting themselves. You can open the gates when you’re around and can offer assistance, but limiting your pet’s movement until they get used to your home, especially if they’re at risk of falling, could be for the best.
2. Tuck Away Cords
To a teething puppy, an electrical cord may look like an enticing snack. Chewing through electrical cables can risk severe damage to your new puppy. Too many stories end sadly with cords, whether by suffocation or electrocution. Make it a priority to store your cables far from your puppy’s reach until he’s learned not to chew.
One option you have is to make the cords taste terrible. Using bitter spray on items you think your puppy may chew on can teach him quickly that he’s not supposed to chew on it. The bitter spray can’t harm your pup — it just tastes nasty enough to get them to want to stop chewing. Of course, the bitter spray doesn’t work for every dog, so you should create backup plans in case.
3. Put Away All Chemicals
When you’re done cleaning, make sure you put away all of the chemicals you used. Pets like to get into mischief, so anything that could prove toxic to them should be kept far away. Keep in mind that cats can reach higher places than many dogs, so you should plan accordingly.
Around 13.9% of pet deaths could be attributed to fatal poisonings from household chemicals. Your pets can ingest toxic chemicals from yard treatments and fall ill. When you start your new life as a pet owner, you should find suitable substitutes for pesticides and cleaning chemicals.
4. Choose a Trash Can With a Lid
Cats and dogs are curious creatures. Leaving your trash cans out or open is a quick way to a buffet for pets that don’t know their manners yet. Some foods could harm your pet. You should ensure that your trash can has a lid no matter what you plan to cook with. If your pet topples it over, they’ll at least find it difficult to get inside and may look for something else to get into.
5. Watch Out for Toxic Plants
When bringing home a new furry family member, you must examine whether your house or garden plants could cause him harm. Toxic plants should be avoided at all costs, as they could have fatal side effects, while non-toxic plants can cause gastrointestinal upset but won’t be a dire threat to your pet’s health.
Some of the most common toxic plants to cats and dogs are as follows:
- American Holly: Watch out for decorating for the holidays with these plants.
- Azalea: While beautiful, allowing your pet to ingest this plant isn’t a good idea.
- Deadly Nightshade: This plant is toxic to all pets and should be avoided entirely.
- Lilies: While only non-toxic to dogs, these plants can cause liver failure in cats.
It’s best to research what sort of plants could damage your pet’s health before you get that pet. That way, you can treat your house plants, garden and yard accordingly.
6. Lay Down New Flooring
Finding the right flooring for your pet means searching for one that’s long-lasting and simple to fix if any damage occurs. Replacing your whole floor may seem like a stretch, but if you want to prevent yourself from paying for heavy repairs in the future, finding a pet-friendly floor is a must.
Vinyl is an excellent option for a pet-friendly floor. It’s affordable and water-resistant, which is great if you anticipate your pet struggling with potty training. Another good option is to go with carpet. While carpet may not be everyone’s favorite option, it’s highly resistant to scratching, making it great for dogs with long claws, and it doesn’t require much in upkeep. Just make sure to vacuum up any fur or dander if someone in the house is allergic.
7. Start Out Small
Your pet might not be ready for the whole home right away, especially if he’s young. When you have to leave him unsupervised, consider putting him in one room to get used to his surroundings. This way, you only need to completely pet proof one room at a time as your young pet grows. You may also consider crate training to keep some dogs limited until they grow out of their destructive phase.
You might choose your bedroom as the place to keep your pet when you’re out. Choosing a room can help limit the disasters your pet can get into when left alone for an extended period. You can slowly increase the area they can roam in as you pet proof your home.
8. Offer Something to Mitigate the Damage
If you’re worried about a new puppy chewing on your furniture, find some teething toys that would be perfect for her. Similarly, if you’re concerned that your kitten will scratch things up while you’re away, make sure he has a scratching post to suit his needs.
Potty training may be an issue if you aren’t home to constantly watch your new pet. The key to potty training is to establish “areas” within and around your home so your pet knows where he should go to the bathroom. For dogs, you may want to start training your new puppy using puppy pads so any accidents don’t damage your floor.
Keep Your Pet and Your Home Happy
By pet proofing your home, you’ll have less to worry about when you’re out of the house. Just like with child proofing, you won’t have to have your house readjusted forever. Once your pet grows into a happy, healthy and well-adjusted adult, you can go back to the way things were before, this time with a loving companion by your side.
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