If you’re thinking of getting a pet, then you need to think about making your home pet-friendly. You want to provide a safe environment where your pet will thrive, rather than bring them home to a house filled with dangerous hazards. A lot of people think their home is already pet-friendly when it’s not.
Avoid unnecessary trips to the vet by checking your home is safe before you buy a new pet. All the preparation should be done before they arrive. Vets end up needed to treat many pets who have injured themselves or ingested something they shouldn’t have.
If you want to feel safe in the knowledge that your new pet won’t come to any harm then you need to review your home to identify any potential hazards. You will need to do this for most pets, including cats, dogs, small animals, and even reptiles.
This is our complete guide to making your home pet-friendly. We have included everything you need to go through and check in advance of bringing a new pet home.
If you are getting a pet that will be spending time outside, you will need to prepare your garden and make sure they have sufficient outside space. For dogs, you need to ensure that your garden is enclosed and secure, with a high enough fence. Some dogs can jump over 6-foot fences and are excellent escape artists.
For all pets, if you need to keep them in your garden you need to look for ways in which they might be able to escape. For example, gaps in fences and places where they might be able to dig holes to get out. You also need to remove any dangerous objects that they might come across while they are out in the garden. For small animals, you will need to build a secure run for them outside that protects them from any potential predators.
If you have kids living in your home, then it is important to also prepare them for the arrival of a pet. Get them to make sure their bedroom is pet-friendly (if the pet is going to be allowed in their bedroom, you may wish to exclude pets from bedrooms). Educate them about things around the home that could harm your new pet, and encourage them to put things away safely.
You may also want to explain to them about how to handle your new pet safely, and which areas of the home they are allowed to be in. Owning and interacting with a pet is a big responsibility for kids, and laying down some ground rules before you bring your new pet home can be helpful.
As well as checking your garden, you need to inspect your entire home for potential escape routes. If pets escape the house it can cause a lot of stress, and often end very badly.
Think about the sort of pet you are getting, and how they might be able to find a way out of your home. For example, rabbits can chew through wooden flooring and hamsters can squeeze through the smallest of gaps. Block off any potential escape routes and secure your home as much as possible.
The average home can contain all sorts of hazardous objects for pets. Often it’s not until people check that they realize there are quite a lot of things in their home that is dangerous for pets. For example, furniture with very sharp edges, or ornaments that are likely to fall and smash.
You might also want to check your wiring and electrical goods and make sure your pet can’t get anywhere near them. Rabbits, for example, have been known to chew through all sorts of things, including wires. The best way to check your home for hazardous objects is to get on all fours and look at things from a pet’s perspective. Go through and check each room individually.
Nowadays our homes contain a huge amount of hazardous chemicals. Just go through the cupboard under your sink and you will find many dangerous substances that should be kept well away from pets.
Keep all cleaning products in your kitchen and bathroom out of reach of your pet. Be aware that some pets such as dogs can open cupboards and jump up onto surfaces to get to things. You might need to keep cleaning products and chemicals locked away somewhere safe.
Preparing for your new pet
As well as checking to make sure everything that is currently in your home is pet-friendly, you will also need to stock up on some pet products. This will need to be done before they arrive so that you have everything they might need. For example, dogs need a nice cozy bed, cats need a scratching post and rabbits need a hutch to live in. Check to see what products you need to buy for the pet that you are getting and stock up.
Beware of toxic plants
A select few plants can be toxic to pets. It’s worth going around your house and garden to check whether any plants you have could be harmful to your new pet. For example, lilies are poisonous to cats.
Foods poisonous to pets
Pet owners tend to give their pets foods that they shouldn’t do (this is especially true for dog owners). Before you give your pet any human food, check to see whether it is harmful to them. Ask your vet about what foods your pet can and can’t eat.
Go through your kitchen and keep any foods they shouldn’t have out of reach. Explain to everyone that lives in your home they can’t leave food out in case your pet gets their paws on it. Make sure everyone knows which foods are dangerous, for example, chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
If you are bringing a new dog or cat into your home, then you might want to review some of your interiors. Both cats and dogs can cause a lot of damage to some things in your home. If you are getting new flooring, for example, you may want to consider a wooden floor over a light colored carpet, which may get ruined quickly. Avoid materials that will be tempting for your pet to scratch or chew.