Getting a new pet can bring a number of unique challenges, so it’s always best to prepare your home in advance to avoid as many major headaches as possible. How you do this really depends on what type of pet you’re going to get and what type of property you have, so the methods you use will have to be specific to both of those factors. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of things you can do to prepare your home for the newest member of your family.
The most common pet in the United States, and throughout the world, is a dog. In fact, if I were to say the words “household pet” to you, I’m guessing a dog would be the first one that comes to mind. It’s estimated that there are around 78 million dogs kept as pets just in the U.S. alone, which means 20 percent of us already have one in our home. Whether you’re getting a new dog, or already have one, here is a list of things to make your house more dog-friendly.
Secure Dangerous Items
Move cleaners, detergents, and other chemicals to a high spot (including bath products like shampoos and lotions). Anything that can make a dog sick if eaten should be moved out of the way. A great way to guarantee that a dog won’t be able to get to these harmful chemicals is by childproofing your cabinets. Although dogs aren’t human children, they can still get into plenty of trouble!
Another good rule is to keep a lid on your garbage. Dogs, especially puppies, like to get into things. Unfortunately, this can sometimes cause them harm. Putting a lid on your garbage is a good way to keep them out of trouble.
Keep Food Out of Reach
Move delectable food items to a safe space out of reach. This tip is really more for your benefit than the dog’s, but some human foods can be harmful to dogs (like chocolate). Making it a rule to keep all foods out of a dog’s reach, harmful or not, is a good rule of thumb.
Prepare a Space
Figure out where your dog will spend the most time, clear the area of any obstructions (loose cords, toys, etc), and put down a bed or other material to let them know that’s their spot. If you have an untrained puppy, be sure to stock up on cleaners in the event of an accident.
Hide Important Items
Another important thing to remember is that young dogs (and sometimes even older dogs) love to chew things. With that in mind, be sure to hide all important belongings. Don’t leave your remote control unattended, important documents lying on the couch, or your favorite baseball cap on a low countertop. And always remember–hide your shoes!
Cats and dogs have been used as an analogy for disputes going back a few hundred years. So much so that even people are divided into the two categories; dog lovers and cat enthusiasts. If your preference happens to be the same as the ancient Egyptians, then you should make sure you follow these tips for your new feline companion.
Secure Harmful Items
Make sharp objects inaccessible (knives, sewing needles, etc). Cat’s like to scratch their face on things, and sharp objects can harm them.
Another item to watch out for is yarn. Put yarn, string, and other loose thread in closed drawers. You may think of yarn as a traditional play-toy for cats, but they can actually swallow it, which can cause a lot of damage to their intestines.
Finally, make sure to get a lid for your trash can. Cats like to scavenge, and they’ll try to eat anything they find (especially any fish or poultry), but some of that stuff can hurt them or make them sick (especially bones).
Block Narrow Spaces
Make tight spaces inaccessible (heater vents, dryer ducts, etc), and create some new, safer spaces for the cat to enjoy. An upside down cardboard box with a large hole cut in the side works extremely well.
Maintain Electrical Cords
Maintain your electrical cords. If your cat pulls a cord down, then whatever’s plugged in could come down and land on them, and could start a fire on top of that. So, do yourself and your cat a favor by keeping cords out of the way. That way you can avoid this problem altogether.
Get Scratching Posts and Toys
Cats like to scratch, so to avoid damage to your furniture, give them a safe space to exercise their claws by buying a scratching post.
Another good rule of thumb is to buy toys. Cats are at their happiest when their playing, so get some toy mice, jingly plastic balls, or whatever else you can find.
Choose the Right Spot
If you have an indoor cat, find a good spot for the litter box. Odors can travel, so keeping it out of the way but still accessible is usually a good idea.
Fish; the unsung hero of home pets. They keep to themselves and you can’t cuddle with them, but they have much less of an impact on your home than other pets. You may not have to prepare your house for a fish, at least not the same way you would for a cat or a dog, but there are still plenty of preparations to consider.
Find a Durable Surface
Find a good space for the tank where it won’t be disturbed. Near a wall, rather than in the middle of a room, is best. To keep algae growth to a minimum, do not set a fish tank up in a sunny spot.
Keep in mind that when you’re cleaning a fish tank, water can get everywhere. This is why it’s a good idea not to setup your tank on a wooden surface. Choose a countertop or similarly durable surface instead.
Prepare the Tank
Wash the tank out with water (no soaps or cleaners) before anything else. Buy gravel and plants. Make sure you only get pre-washed gravel, and that the plants are suitable for not just water, but also the species of fish.
Fill the tank with clean, cold water. Buy a water test kit and make sure it’s clean and appropriate for the fish you get. You should also test regularly to make sure it’s still safe while they’re living in it.
Clean the Tank Regularly
After you’ve put the fish in, get food that’s appropriate for the species, and make sure you transfer the fish and clean the tank every few weeks.
For some species, you may have to set up a filtration system and check that regularly, as well as a light, and even an aquatic heater for tropical fish.
If you have a cat and fish, make sure that the fish tank has a lid so that the cat cannot access the tank and harm the fish.
There are so many different types of birds you can get and keep as pets, and how you care for them really depends on the species. However, there are a few general rules that apply across the board.
Choose the Right Cage
Get a cage that’s the appropriate size for the bird (including the size it will be during adulthood).
Maintain the Habitat
Clean the cage daily. This means bird droppings, leftover food, and feathers during molting. Keep a fresh supply of water accessible at all times.
Know the birds diet. Do they prefer seeds? Fruit? Ask your local vet before you bring your feathered friend home.
Get some toys. Yes, birds like to play with toys too.
Be Mindful of Location
If you have a cat too, keep the door to the cage closed and place the cage out of reach of the cat.
These days, it’s become somewhat of a trend to keep other animals as pets, but it’s also been a tradition going back thousands of years for some of them. Pigs, goats, chickens, horses, cows, guinea pigs, iguanas, snakes, and even hedgehogs, are all commonly found in households. Even cheetahs and tigers are becoming more popular as pets in the UAE. No matter which animal you have as pets, it’s important that you make sure they are healthy and well cared for. You can do this by taking them to regular vet appointments, providing them with a healthy diet (which usually means keeping them away from table scraps), knowing the environment that’s best suited for them, and just using a lot of common sense. As long as you do all of that, you will have a great addition to your home.
Image courtesy of aquaponicals.