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Bringing a furry friend home is incredibly exciting, but it’s important to ensure that the environment is safe and animal-friendly. If you’ve decided to expand your family, this guide is packed with useful tips to help you get your home pet-ready. 

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Eliminating hazards and risks

The first job to check off your list when you decide to add a pet to your family is to eliminate any potential hazards or risks. Carry out a risk assessment, exploring every room in the house and your outdoor space. Examples of things to look out for include products that are dangerous for pets and gaps in fences that could provide an exit route. Ensure that you store medication and cleaning products in lockable cupboards or drawers and secure your yard or garden to prevent your new companion from escaping. Tidy wires away to reduce the risk of chewing and make sure there are no objects that your dog, rabbit or cat could chew or swallow lying around, such as coins, children’s toys or batteries. 

If you have plants at home, or you are planning to let your pet into the garden, check your plants. Some plants, including houseplants and some types of flowers, are poisonous to animals like dogs and cats. If you find that your pets gravitate towards greenery, you can buy pet-friendly products, for example, edible cat grass. 

Encouraging exercise

If you’re welcoming a canine companion or a feline friend to your home, it’s beneficial to encourage exercise. Some cats are house cats, but every pet can benefit from an active lifestyle. If you plan to keep your cat indoors, make sure you have plenty of toys available and play with them regularly. Encourage them to chase toys or run and jump using scratch posts and cat gyms to let off steam and have fun. If you’re going to let your cats out, or you are getting a dog, it’s a brilliant idea to think about using your outdoor space and making sure they have access to an area to exercise and go to the toilet. If you’re out for long periods during the day, for example, you could add a cat or dog flap or explore options like a weatherproof sliding glass pet door. You could also look for a dog walking service or ask a neighbor to let your pets in and out on the days when you’re not at home. Being active contributes to good physical and mental health for pets. 

Making your pet more comfortable

We all want our homes to be safe, comfortable spaces for our pets. If you’re adopting a dog or you’re getting a puppy or a kitten, there are lots of ways to create a cozy, welcoming environment for a new furry family member. Shop around for beds and blankets and set up quiet spaces where your pet can retreat to snooze and sleep. Most dogs and cats enjoy snuggling up on the couch with their owners, but it’s also a good idea to provide a private space with a bed or a crate with a mattress and throws and blankets. If you don’t want to ruin your sofa, use covers to protect the fabric. There’s a vast array of pet beds to choose from and you can even buy couches and beds modeled on human furniture, such as a cat chaise longue. Browse online and visit some pet stores to get inspiration and compare prices. Always check the measurements and materials if you’re buying online as photos can sometimes be deceptive. Reading reviews is also helpful. 

Shopping for supplies

As a new pet owner, it’s beneficial to be prepared. Once you know when you’re getting your new pet, write a list of everything you need to buy and stock up on essential supplies before they arrive. If you’re adding a dog to the fold, for example, you will need to make sure that you have the right type of food, food and water bowls, toys, a comfy bed, a collar and lead or harness and puppy training pads if you’re getting a pup rather than an adult dog. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you’re unsure which food to buy. You may need to buy puppy or senior dog food depending on the age of your pet or a specific type of food to cater to dietary requirements. 

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Getting a pet is exciting but the first few days can be stressful, especially if your home isn’t set up for a furry friend. Before you bring your new family member home, take steps to create a safe and secure environment, set aside quiet, cozy spaces and stock up on supplies. Consider adding a pet door to provide easy access to outdoor spaces and remove hazards. 

Heather Brummett

I am Heather Brummett . I'm just a real mom, sharing my real life experiences with the world. Thank you for being a part of my world. Here you will find recipes, crafts, fun ideas for the kids, how to work at home, encouragement, inspiration, and the latest news in and around Houston. To be featured or for information on freelance work contact me at [email protected].

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