Becoming a first-time pet owner is exciting, and it requires a lot of preparation. Once you’ve made the tough decision of figuring out which animal is best for your lifestyle, you will need to ensure your home is properly prepared for your pet’s arrival. Of course, you’ll want to have all of the items needed to care for your pet before you pick him or her up, including food, toys, leashes, food and water bowls, cages, etc. You’ll also need to thoroughly walk through your home to confirm that it’s safe for your pet.
Cats and Dogs
While all pets require some level of pet-proofing, cats and dogs tend to require the most attention because they roam more freely than other animals. Puppies and kittens are very curious, but upon exploring a new home, any cat or dog will want to explore. Even well trained animals, like companion animals, can let curiosity get the best of them, so consider anything that could potentially harm your animal.
Make sure garbage can lids are tightly secured. This isn’t just to prevent messes; dogs and cats can choke on bones and other items found in the trash. Some foods and cleaners are hazardous as well, so put locks on cabinets. Check your plants in and around your home to ensure they’re not poisonous to pets.
If you want to keep your cat or dog off furniture, place a pet bed in every room. Avoid vertical blinds, pooling drapery, ornate tassels, and long cords that can be strangulation hazards for both cats and dogs. Cats like to scratch, so provide your new cat with a variety of scratching posts and perches, and put double-sided sticky tape on furniture and rugs to discourage scratching. Also, consider installing high-quality metal screens on all windows.
If your dog isn’t house trained, you may want to store decorative rugs for the time being. Also, use dog crates and gates to confine your new dog when he or she is home alone until unsupervised freedom is earned. Be sure to provide a variety of chew toys for your dog, and keep socks, shoes, and other clothing in hampers and closets.
Guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, ferrets, rabbits, and other small mammals need time out of their cages every day to avoid health issues from being cramped up in a small cage, such as arthritis, overgrown toenails, and depression. Letting them out will require you to double check your home for safety. These animals may attempt to chew or ingest electrical cords, so place them out of reach. “Cords and wires that can’t be moved must be covered with plastic tubing slit up the side,” suggests Petcha. Be aware that pets can also chew on plants, carpets, furniture, and more.
When you let your pet out of their cage, look around the room for holes, crevices, or gaps, especially behind furniture and appliances, where you pet could get stuck. Block these areas off using a towel or anything solid to create a barrier. Many pet owners invest in an exercise pen and place it in an area with hard flooring, such as tile, wood, or linoleum. Always supervise your pet, even in a pen, as some animal can find ways to escape.
Birds and Reptiles
Bringing home a bird requires you to set up an area for his or her cage. Prepare an area of your home that is out of direct sunlight and any type of draft. Birds are noisy and can create a mess, so keep that in mind when choosing a spot. The cage of a reptile or fish will also need a specific spot in your home.
You’ll need to consider the size of the cage or tank, which can vary depending on which bird or reptile you choose to adopt. All animals benefit from a day and night cycle, so place your pet’s cage or tank in an area where light can be minimized during sleeping hours. Consider the ventilation needs of your pet as well.
Adopting your first pet is exciting, but you’ll need to prepare your home to ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable. After purchasing the essentials – such as food, toys, and cages – you’ll need to look over the areas of your home to ensure they’re safe. Keeping your pet safe helps to guarantee a long and happy life.