From choosing the right breed to finding the perfect name, there are a lot of exciting things to plan when getting your first dog. But if you want your pup to be safe and healthy in your home, you have to tend to the boring jobs too. The most important of those? Getting your house ready for your new pet.
There are a lot of hazards in the average home. If you don’t eliminate them, you could end up facing emergency trips to the vet as well as damage to your house. Before bringing your new pet home, take a look around your house to scout out these potential pet hazards.
You may be dreaming about coming home to a dog peacefully snoozing on the sofa, but if you don’t dog-proof, you might encounter turned-over trash cans and chewed up laundry instead. If your dog gets into poisonous foods or medications, it could be fatal.
Dog-proof your home by purchasing trash cans with latching lids; store medications, cleaning supplies, and other household poisons on high shelves or in child-locked cabinets, and cover electrical cords and outlets. Get the whole family in the habit of never leaving food unattended. Be sure everyone knows to pick up shoes, children’s toys, dirty laundry, and other things you don’t want chewed.
If you like to open windows when the weather is nice, make sure they’re equipped with screens. It’s also wise to secure curtain and blind cords as they pose a strangulation risk. The Home Depot’s advice for childproofing cords protects dogs as well.
It’s hard to beat the convenience of letting your pup out the back door to do his business unsupervised. But unless your yard is enclosed by a secure fence, you could end up chasing your dog around the neighborhood more often than not. And that’s not only a hassle, it’s also dangerous for your pet. He could get hit by a car, get into a fight with another dog, or become lost.
The average cost to install a fence in the Sacramento area is $1,300 to $2,557, but dog owners should know that not any fence will do. A dog-proof fence should prevent your dog from digging under or jumping over it, and prevent passersby from sticking their hands through. For fearful, aggressive, or bark-happy dogs, opt for a solid fence to alleviate nuisance behaviors.
The fence isn’t the only backyard feature that matters. Fleas and ticks hide in tall grass, but you can minimize their presence by maintaining a manicured lawn and keeping your dog on a flea and tick preventative. Short grass also discourages snakes and other wildlife that could harm your pet. In addition to grass, consider your landscaping plants. Some plants are poisonous to dogs; refer to this toxic plant list from the ASPCA and remove any plants that pose a threat.
Finally, make sure your dog has somewhere to seek refuge from the sun and heat. Overheating is dangerous and happens faster than you think. It’s smart to install a shade tree or DIY doghouse to ensure your pooch has somewhere to cool down on hot days, but it’s equally important to limit the time your dog spends outside unattended.
While these precautions eliminate most household dangers, it’s important to remain alert until your dog is fully settled into his new home. Dogs are prone to misbehavior during periods of upheaval, such as being adopted by a new family. Restrict your dog to a single dog-proofed room for the first few days while you get a handle on his behavior. It’s better to discover your dog has a chewing or scratching habit while he has limited roam than to come home to a ravaged home and a sick dog.
Adopting a dog is incredibly exciting, but it also involves some work! By following these tips to prepare your house, you can prevent problem behaviors and keep your dog safe in his new home. And that makes for a happy dog, happy owners, and happy neighbors.
Image via Pexels