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Bringing Home Your New Pet: How to Pet-Proof Your Home

Updated July 19, 2018
dog sitting on rug
Proper flea control helps keep dogs happy and healthy. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

When a new pet's introduced into a household, it's an exciting time for everyone.

But while every pet adds something fun or interesting to a home, animals can require special care to make sure that they and your home are kept safe. Pets can find many hazards around the home, and because of this, one should know how to properly pet-proof their home before bringing a new furry or feathered member of the family home.

How to Safely Leave Your Pet Home Alone

When pets are left home alone, they can become anxious and upset. As a result, they can act out and behave in a way that's destructive. There are several ways to get pets comfortable with being home alone. They should always be left indoors to protect them from the elements and reduce the risk of being injured or escaping from the yard. Dogs that are crate-trained may be more at ease if they are left crated, as pets that normally sleep in a crate will feel safe there. A crated pet cannot damage the home in any way or injure itself. Another option is to confine one's pet to one room in the home. This provides them with more freedom to move while denying them access to the rest of the house. Regardless of which method is chosen, one should always make certain that their pet has access to food, water, and a favorite toy. If a dog must be left alone for long periods, families may consider hiring a dog-walker to take their pet out in the middle of the day.

Creating a "Pet-Friendly" Zone

The purpose of a pet-friendly zone is to create a space or sanctuary that's specifically for pets. This pet-friendly zone is set up in a way that blocks animals from roaming the rest of the house, using closed doors or a baby gate. It's a place where animals can sleep, move around, and play without risk of damaging the furniture or encountering hazardous materials. In these rooms, keep one or more of the pet's favorite toys and a pillow or some form of bedding. Pet-friendly zones don't have to be only indoors: Handy individuals may consider creating an enclosed patio that allows pets to play safely outdoors.

Installing Pet Doors and Eliminating Escape Routes

Pet doors are a good addition to the home for pet owners who want their animals to have the freedom to go outdoors when they want to. When installing a pet door, one should not place food near the opening, as it will tempt unwanted animals to enter the house. And securing one's backyard is important when pets can access it at will. A secure yard is one that has a gate to prevent pets from escaping. Gates should be high enough to keep pets from jumping out. One should also check for any areas where their pet can easily dig their way out.

Keeping Objects Out of Reach of Pets

Objects that can injure pets should be put away or kept in a place that cannot be reached or opened with a paw or nose. This includes items that can be chewed on or that pets can get tangled up in, such as wires or cords that can electrocute or strangle them. Sharp objects that can cut an animal's paws or nose should be stored in drawers. Never leave candles or anything that involves a flame where it can be knocked or nudged over. Choking hazards such as buttons, small toys, batteries, and screws should be kept off the floor and stored properly.

Storing Medicines and Household Toxins

Medicines and household chemicals are toxic to pets and can easily kill them if consumed. For that reason, these substances should be kept closed and stored in a place where animals cannot access them. Bathrooms are often the home of both medicines and products such as bleach or tile cleaner. Store medications in a medicine cabinet and cleaners in a child-proof cabinet, and when possible, keep the bathroom door closed.

Leaving a Dog Home Alone? Here Are Three Steps to Follow

Do's and Don'ts of Leaving Dogs on Their Own

Six Pet Care Tips When Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

No Need to Crate: Simple and Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe When Home Alone

How to Make Your Home Pet-Friendly

Creating Pet-Friendly Spaces for a Harmonious Home

Four Pet-Friendly House Tips to Make Fido and Fluffy Feel Right at Home

Fact Sheets: Pet-Proofing Your Home

Seven Ways to Discourage Your Dog From Running Away

Security Tips if You Use a Doggie Door

Five Easy Ways to Dog-Proof Your Home

The Benefits of Pet Doors

How to Prevent Cat Door Escape Attempts

Dog-Proofing Your Home: A Room-by-Room Guide

Keeping Your Pet Safe

Tips for How to Stop Dogs and Puppies From Chewing

Poison Prevention for Pets

Poison Prevention for Pets Brochure (PDF)

Six Ways to Pet-Proof Your Home

Puppy-Proofing Makes for a Happy Home

Kitty-Proofing Your House