If you love animals there are few days more exciting than when you bring a new dog or cat home from the adoption center. These little furry creatures will soon become full members of your family, providing unconditional love and emotional support for years to come. You’ll pay it back of course, by feeding, washing and in some cases even clothing them against the elements. But you don’t want to pay for this new family addition through the destruction of your house. Puppies are notorious for ripping in to almost anything, and some dogs will eat shoes as eagerly as a bowl of kibble. You don’t have to give up your personal space to this treatment, but your pet isn’t going to instinctually learn the rules without some serious training. You should also take the time to prepare your house for the new addition. Here are five ways to pet-proof your home.
If you’re bringing in a puppy or a kitten, the pet-proofing process will be quite similar to baby-proofing a home for a newborn. Puppies are curious, and if you leave them to their own devices you could end up with some panicked trips to the vet. So do the same sort of things you’d do for a baby. You can cut off access to rooms you don’t want them in with baby gates, which will work for kittens while they are small as well. Get a package or two of those plastic covers for all of your electrical outlets, and cover over the power strips as well. You should place safety locks on all of the bathroom and kitchen cabinets, especially if they contain medicines or cleaning products.
Dogs don’t know to leave the garbage can alone until you train them, and even then you’re sure to come home to a stinky mess spread across your kitchen floor from time to time. Remember, your trash is their buffet dinner, so you can’t get too mad if you don’t take preventative measures. Simply purchase a garbage can that your dogs either can’t open or can’t get to. Cans that sit inside of cabinets work incredibly well. Otherwise, use a can that will only open if you step on a lever.
Many people treat their dogs like children. It’s hard to look down your nose at this behavior, especially with the little cuties snuggling on your lap or laying out for a back scratch. But they aren’t children. They’re animals you live with, and you shouldn’t be afraid to treat them that way. If there are rooms you don’t want them to get into, simply keep the doors closed. They don’t have to have access to your bedroom, especially if your pet has the tendency to rip up the pillows or leave nasty surprises on the sheets. All you have to do is keep the door closed. You can add a pocket door in the hallway between rooms if you need some extra security.
Clutter is your worst enemy when it comes to pet-proofing the home. So consider getting rid of some of the stuff laying around in easy access. Low tables littered with magazines, fancy statuettes and designer sunglasses are an open invitation for a curious pet. Leave your prized possessions up high, and ideally put away in drawers or cabinets. The less you leave sitting out, the smaller the chances of coming home to a disaster.
Finally, provide your new pets what they need to keep occupied and they are more likely to leave your stuff alone. Set one or two extra large dog beds around the house, and then don’t let your puppies sleep in the bed. Make sure their toys are plentiful, and that your cats have scratch pads or towers to claw so they leave your furniture alone. You’ll still have to monitor things, and you might need to protect your upholstery with sticky tape that discourages claws, but by making sure they have their own stuff you’ll keep them entertained even when you’re not around.