When you bring a new pet home for the first time, it’s a thrilling feeling. But before that happens, make sure that you’ve done the preparation to make the new, furry member of your family safe at home in your new home in Richmond, VA.
Think below the knees
Down at ground level, the world — and your new home — look very different. See it from your pet’s perspective and you’ll have a better idea of what to keep up and out of their way.
Remember that pets can chew on or eat just about anything, so be vigilant. Paper, clothing, sewing supplies, children’s toys, coins, tobacco products or knick-knacks that could be knocked over all need to be cleared away. Medication — for yourself and your pet needs — to be stored out of reach. Also look out for plants, which offer play temptation as well as possibly poisonous leaves. (CyberCanine.com has a list of plants that can be hazardous to your pets.)
Having a pet drink out of the toilet isn’t just unsanitary, it’s dangerous for them! Residue from toilet bowl cleaners or bleach tabs can make them ill, and smaller animals could fall in and drown. Keep pets away from bathrooms and provide an extra water bowl to keep them from being tempted.
In the kitchen
Food scraps or garbage of any kind need to be kept in a secured garbage can, either one with a hard-to-remove lid or one placed inside a latched cupboard. So many seemingly tame items can cause serious health hazards for your pet, such as those containing chocolate, bones, high fat or alcohol. Onions, grapes and raisins can all cause digestive problems for furry friends.
If you’re not one already, learn how to be a clean cook. Pets will quickly learn that the counter may offer up goodies, so don’t encourage them. Clean as you go, dispose of all scraps out of reach and make sure that your pantry cupboards and even your fridge, if need be, are latched to keep out curious critters.
Be sure to store all cleaners, detergents and insecticides in locked cabinets. Even a high shelf may not save climbers like your cat or ferret from coming in contact with deadly chemicals.
If you leave your pet at home while you’re at work, make sure it is calm before you go. A morning walk will help your dog work off extra energy. Some pets require company and activity during the day, so you might want to consider a pet daycare center for a few days out of the week. Other dogs do well in a crate or a restricted room. If your pet is left to roam free, make sure that you’ve observed all the rules of what not to leave within reach.
Safeguarding the perimeter
The yard is the place for your pet to have the most fun. Be sure it is fenced and that there are no holes or broken pieces of wood or wire that could harm it. A water station and some covered shelter are also a must for all kinds of weather. You might consider setting up play areas for your dog, such as a knotted rope tied to a tree limb for a one-sided tug of war. You can also encourage your pets to stay out of the nice dirt in your flower bed by providing a diggable pile all their own.
Be sure that all yard tools, lawn mowers and chemicals are safely locked away in a shed. Also remove ladders and secure any piles of material, such as wood, so that your pet can’t climb up and knock them over.
Clean up your dog’s waste regularly. You both use the yard, so keep it healthy for all. You can provide an outdoor litter box for your cat to discourage it from using the yard.
Having a pet is a rewarding experience — and a bit of work, too. To keep your new addition healthy and happy, prepare your house for a curious, energetic and eternally-hungry new occupant, one who likes to have fun and will find a way to get into just about anything.