Before you run off to your nearest shelter to pick up the dog of your dreams, you need to make sure your home is prepared for your newly adopted pal.
Adequately preparing your home for your new arrival allows you to focus on helping your new dog adjust when you first bring them home. Done properly, your new dog will adjust quickly into being a new part of your family.
Many of our suggestions are common sense, but INSIDER also chatted with an expert to find some often overlooked aspects of preparing your home.
Before you do anything, it’s important to do some research.
What kind of dog do you want to adopt? What kind of food will they need? What size dog toys are safe for them to chew? How much space does your new dog need to be happy? What dog foods have been recalled lately?
These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start prepping your home.
You’ll want to make sure you stock up on supplies and toys.
Most new dog owners will need a few things. You’ll need to invest in some high-quality food for your dog, a crate, treats, a collar, leash, toys, food bowls, and poop bags.
Ryan Parker from The Humane Society of Ocean City told INSIDER, “Stay away from rawhide bones. The way that they’re produced involves bleach and other chemicals. Rawhide bones don’t actually digest in the stomach. They can block the digestive tract and cause the need for a few thousand dollar surgery. It can be easily avoided by opting for a chew alternative.”
Get wires out of the way.
Ryan Parker from The Humane Society of Ocean City told INSIDER, “Wires tend to be ideal for chewing and pulling apart. You’ll want to hide them away and invest in some outlet covers.”
In addition to keeping your new dog safe, hiding away wires will prevent you from having to replace that expensive stereo system.
Give them a special place to eat away from people and distractions.
Bringing home a new dog isn’t only stressful for the family. That little canine is also rightfully nervous. You’ll want to make sure you set aside a special place for them to eat away from other people and distractions.
Too many people around the food bowl could trigger any food guarding behaviours in your new dog and stress them out.
It’s time to declutter and clean your kitchen counter-tops.
Dogs are curious critters. If they’re tall enough, they will probably pop a couple paws up onto your kitchen counters to investigate what you’re hiding up there.
Parker said it’s important to “keep counters clear of food so the dog can’t get up there and get into something they shouldn’t be eating.”
There are a wide array of foods that are delicious to you and me, but deadly to our furry little friends. Ryan Parker says, “Different peanut butters will have artificial sweeteners that are safe for us but dangerous for them.”
Keep pills and cleaning supplies locked away in a cabinet.
This goes hand in hand with cleaning off your counter-tops. Pharmaceuticals (ones not prescribed by your vet) are not a dog’s best friend.
This goes doubly for cleaning supplies. Make sure they’re all cleared away and in a safe spot.
Figure out what plants are OK to have around — and which you should ditch.
Pretty plants and flowers may have a place in your home without a puppy, but you’ll want to think about clearing them before your furry friend joins you.
The ASPCA has a great list of plants that are toxic to pets – and which ones are OK to stick around.
If you have a backyard, make sure the fences are high enough to keep your precious pup on your property and away from danger.
Dogs are curious by nature and are always looking to push the boundaries of their living situation. If you plan on giving your dog free reign of the backyard, make sure your fences are high enough and secure enough to contain your newfound friend.
If you have kids, it’s best to get them prepared, too.
Although your kids will likely be psyched about their new furry friend, you should also be preparing them for how to act around your new dog and what their responsibilities will be.
Clean up any toys with small parts and let your kids know these are not the best toys to play with around the dog. Remind them to be gentle and as quiet as possible around the new dog at first. You’ll likely have to repeat it, but the earlier the better.
It’s almost time to bring your dog home, but you’ll want to limit your dog’s ability to roam around the house.
According to Parker, you’ll want to, “pick certain areas of the house where the dog isn’t allowed in on their own. You want to see how a dog is going to behave in their new environment. It’s always easier to give a dog new privileges rather than restrictions.”
“A baby gate is a great way to close off some rooms of your house,” says Parker, “It will allow you to keep an eye on your new friend and not overwhelm them as soon as you bring them home.”
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