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Preparing your home for a new pet

Bringing a pet into the home can add a bundle of joy and lighten up your family life. However, the majority of cat and dog owners soon learn how hard it can be to raise a kitten or a puppy, and the sheer amount of vigilance and patience you need. Here we give you some advice on doing it successfully

It’s important to take the right steps to make your home and garden danger-free and a safe place for your new pet. Doing this will not only make your pet safer but it will also make life easier for you when they move in.

Any reputable dog breeder will ask that you wait until the puppy is eight weeks old before you introduce them to their new home. This may feel like a lifetime, but it provides a great opportunity to dog-proof your home.

Puppies and kittens have very curious paws, and are always looking to explore their new surroundings. They have the tendency to chew on loose wires, so using cable tidies or clips will keep them out of reach.

They also like to discover small gaps within the house, whether that’s to hide because they’re scared or they’re just snooping. Therefore, it’s a good idea to go around the house and look for small gaps, such as down the side of the TV cabinet, where they could get stuck and play with the wires.

Try to avoid keeping food in the bottom cupboards. Products such as chocolates and onions can be harmful for dogs, and with their large appetites, easily accessible foods are far too tempting. Harmful chemicals such as bleach, or any medication, should also be kept out of reach from pets.

When playing outside, cats and dogs are prone to picking up fleas. There are many different products you can apply directly to your pet to deter the parasites jumping on them. However, it is also a good idea to apply flea spray to your sofas, beds and carpets a week before your pet arrives.

It isn’t just cats and dogs which you need to prepare for. If you are thinking of adding a caged pet to your family, such as a hamster, guinea pig, or a parrot, then you need to find the space for their cage where it is safe from falling off the side. The cage, whether you are buying it or building it yourself, will need to be spacious and give the animal no chance of escape. Rabbits shouldn’t be left locked in a cage all day, and when they’re roaming around your room they will look for small cracks and crannies to burrow themselves into. So beware!

Do you have a big enough garden space? It isn’t just inside the home you need to think about. Are there any potential hazards outside? Dogs are notoriously high jumpers, so a big dog will require a very tall fence and it will need to be installed deep into the ground, so they cannot dig underneath it. Some dog breeds, terriers in particular, are known for their digging, so making regular checks of boundaries are essential.

Your location is worth considering as well. If you live close to a busy road, it’s vital to keep your pet safe. Securing the front garden with a fence or a gate is a good idea, or simply blocking any access from the rear garden to the front of the house.

On the day you pick up your new furry friend, make sure the house is nice and tidy. A new pet will find it hard to settle in quickly if there are hoovers out and people rushing around; it’s nice for them to move into a quiet and calm home!

Dog-proofing your home

  • An appropriately-sized dog cage is an ideal way to provide your dog their own ‘den’, as well as keeping them safe from potential hazards when they are unsupervised. It’s also important to find the perfect place to put their bed
  • Securing a stair gate to the top and bottom of the stairs can prevent the pup from either falling down the stairs or going to a part of the house they shouldn’t be in
  • Dogs don’t always have the best relationships with postmen and if you are worried they will chew up your post, then invest in an outside letter box, or a letter cage
  • Installing an outdoor tap helps you clean down your dog after muddy walks and to stop them from spreading muck around the house
  • Look at purchasing Puppy Training mats, which can help avoid any long term damage to the carpets when you are trying to house train your dog

Cat-proofing your home

  • Cats are very curious and playful, and like to climb on tables, so make sure there aren’t any fragile ornaments on display which are at risk of getting knocked over
  • Installing a cat flap will provide the cat with easy access to and from the home. If you are worried about security, you can buy a cat collar which unlocks the cat flap as they approach it
  • Bring a cat scratch into the home to help deter the kitty from scratching the sofa. If they are not using the cat scratch, try scenting it with catnip
  • Check the washing machine and other appliances before closing the door, as cats like to curl up in dark, quiet places which could be a recipe for disaster