Bringing home a new pet is such an exciting time. You get to adopt a new friend and make many happy memories, but not if your house is an unsafe environment for them. No matter what type of animal you’re about to adopt, this guide will show you how to pet-proof your home before their arrival.
1. Lock Your Trash Can
Animals are naturally curious. They won’t hesitate to sniff around corners and taste test anything they find, especially if new smells lure them into forbidden containers. Dogs and cats love toppling trash cans to get at the scraps inside. They’ll also eat through plastic wrappers and cardboard containers.
Find a trash can with a lid that locks before bringing your new pet home. Get in the habit of locking it after each use and before leaving your pet by themselves. They’ll eventually grow out of the bad habit of investigating trash, but you’ll help that happen sooner by locking the garbage away.
2. Move Medicine to Higher Shelves
You may leave standard medications on the bathroom or kitchen counter if you need them frequently. It’s an easy place to access medication bottles, but it’s equally easy for pets to reach. They could easily overdose on common medications like:
Move your medicines to cabinet or closet shelves where your new furry family member can’t find them. You’ll keep them safe and prevent an overdose on basic medications like acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
3. Invest in Furniture Covers
Young dogs and cats love couch legs. They’re perfect for gnawing and scratching, but you’ll end up with ruined furniture. A sofa cover will prevent them from destroying couches and recliner chairs. When the furniture legs are out of sight, they’ll be out of your pet’s mind too. It may be more money than you planned to spend before bringing your new pet home, but it’s a preventative investment that saves more money down the road.
4. Hide Dangling Wires
Consider where you have the most electrical cords. They likely hang freely behind the TV in your living room, snake behind floor lamps and collect around your bedside tables. You’ll need to organize all of those wires and hide them before bringing your pet home. If they’re young enough to teethe or a natural chewer, the cords will become a tasty snack right up until the live wires zap them.
5. Store Expensive Knick Knacks
Pets also create the opportunity for accidents. Your dog might bump a bookshelf while retrieving a ball and knock an heirloom figurine to the floor. Cats enjoy batting things off shelves when they’re bored or feeling mischievous.
Put expensive or inherited heirlooms in storage until you know your pet better. Once they’re old enough to calm down or learn what they shouldn’t touch, you can put your knick-knacks back in place.
6. Close the Toilet Lid
Every pet needs to drink water, but they may lose interest in their water bowl. Your toilets will have much more interesting smells coming from the water. If you rarely close the toilet lid before leaving the bathroom, it’s time to get into the habit.
Curious dogs and cats will drink out of the toilet and potentially carry bacteria around the house. Salmonella can live in a toilet bowl for up to 50 days, catching a ride on your pet’s furry face and making a new home wherever they rub their face next. Keep bacteria off of your pillows, furniture and hands by closing the toilet lid after each trip to the bathroom.
7. Put Shoes in Closed Storage
Shoes are another object that has an attractive odor to pets. Your future dog may tear your smelliest shoes apart for fun after locating the source of the smell. Place any extra shoes in closed storage in your front hallway or garage. Shelves kept safe behind cabinet doors or out of reach will protect your shoes and prevent your pets from eating anything that could result in intestinal blockages.
8. Empty Your Lowest Bookshelves
Most people have a bookshelf or two around their homes. They’re the perfect place for decorative art pieces, picture frames and books. Pets will adore them too, but for very different reasons.
Teething puppies will tear your belongings off the lowest shelves and gnaw on them to relieve the pain in their gums. They could also destroy things after their adult teeth grow in because they think that whatever they can reach will double as a toy.
Empty your lowest bookshelves before your pet comes home. You can reintroduce whatever was on them slowly as you get to know your pet. Whenever your pet starts sniffing the shelf, you can train them to back off and redirect their attention to their actual toys. With time, they’ll avoid shelves entirely so you can store whatever you like.
Pet-Proof Your Home Today
Now that you know how to pet-proof your home, getting started will be easy. Doing what you can before your pet comes home will make the environment safer and happier for them.