How to Prepare Your Home for a New Pet

Bringing home a new pet is one of the most memorable and joyful experiences in life. Whether it’s your first pet or your tenth, having a new furry member of the family is an exciting time. Preparing for your pet’s homecoming will give them the best start in making sure they are welcomed into a safe home environment. Here are some helpful tips to ensure both you and your pet are happy and comfortable:

1. Pet-proof your home

No matter if it’s a puppy, kitten, or a hamster – pet-proofing your home is essential to ensure that your pet remains safe. Before you bring your new family member home, make sure to do a thorough check of your home including the yard to ensure that there are no hazards or possible escape routes. If you are bringing home a puppy, be sure to check that all the fencing in the house is secure and intact; patching up any holes or gaps between pillars to prevent your pet from squeezing through. For pets who like to chew, particularly cats, make sure that any electrical cords are out of sight or protected with cord cable protectors. Purchasing portable baby gates is also a good idea if you’re bringing home a puppy or kitten in order to keep them from going upstairs or into areas of the home that are dangerous. Ensure that all dangerous chemicals, foods, cosmetics, and unsafe plants or substances are locked away in high cupboards out of reach from your pet. Small pieces of plastic, children’s toys, wrappers, and any loose items in the household that could be a choking hazard to your pet should also be stored away. It’s important in the first few weeks to keep a watchful eye on your pet as you would a child, to make sure that they don’t injure or harm themselves.

2. Secure door and window screens

If you’re bringing home a kitten or a cat, check that your door and window screens are secure. You may even want to consider purchasing a security screen that is pet and scratch-proof. These screens can be installed into hinged or sliding doors and any type of window for added protection, ensuring your cat can’t scratch at or open them. Curious cats can open or play with door and window latches, so if your screens are outdated or have faulty latches it’s a great idea to replace them before bringing your pet home.

3. Start shopping for your pet supplies

Getting most of your pet supply shopping done a couple of weeks prior to bringing your pet home will save you and your new pet any mishaps or stress. It’s a good idea to go to a pet store with an in-depth knowledge of all types of pets so that you can seek advice from an assistant and have them direct you to the best products and toys for your pet. Stock up on pet food, chew toys, pet beds, food & water bowls, carriers, litter boxes, and grooming supplies. If you plan to transport your pet in the car, think about getting a pet car seat restraint for future travels as well as leashes and collars for walks.

4. Prepare your pet’s living area

It’s important to create a space in your home that’s just for your pet. Providing a safe sanctuary for it to retreat to and call home will help ease any new home jitters and keep them feeling comfortable as they adjust. Whether you decide to keep your pet in the laundry or in the spare bedroom, be sure to provide a comfortable place for it to sleep. Make sure to separate their toilet area from where they sleep (you wouldn’t want to sleep in your toilet either!) and place food and water bowls within easy access for them. Keeping a new pet within comfortable distance of you will help to comfort them. Puppies are often like newborn babies where they will cry if left alone or needing a toilet break. You want to make sure that you are within hearing and seeing distance of them to be able to tend to their needs and give them a sense of safety & security. For puppies, it’s a good idea to try to contain them to hard-floor areas in case of accidents. For kittens and cats,organizing a ‘safe room’ fitted with a post for it to climb will provide them with added security.

5. Allow your pet time to adjust

The best way of adjusting your pet to its new home is to be there with them as often as you can. Consistency is key here, and providing a schedule that includes feed times, nap times, and potty breaks will help ease your pet into its new routine and life. From the first day your pet will need equal amounts of play time and solitary time. It’s important to keep living your normal daily routine to help adjust your pet to the different sights, smells, and sounds of your household including the TV running in the background, the washing machine, cooking smells, etc. Starting early with bad and good habits is vital, so be sure to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour. While it’s tempting to let your new puppy or kitten get away with certain behaviours, doing so will only make it harder for them to learn correct behaviour when they get older. So be sure to firmly say “down!” if they jump onto the couch followed by picking them up off and back down onto the floor, or practice commands such as “sit!” with treats as an incentive. For cats, adjusting them to a new household can be simple with a product such as Feliway Spray which comfort cats and reduces their stress levels.

Enjoy life with your new pet

You want to make your new pet feel safe, welcome, and loved in their new home. Making a few adjustments prior to bringing your pet home will allow both you and your pet to transition into your new routine with comfort and ease. Removing your home of any hazards and securing doors and windows will not only keep your pet safe, but also provide a home that is comfortable and safe for the entire family.