Bringing a new dog or puppy into your home has a number of benefits. Dogs make us happier, provide companionship, encourage socialization, and even stand to improve our physical health. It is only fair, then, for us to make the experience as pleasant as possible for them as well.
However, dogs often find it stressful to adjust to a new home — whether you recently adopted them and they are coming home with you for the very first time or if you moved to a house with unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. The Mercury News recommends having a go-to safe spot for your dog, like a crate with a favorite toy or treasured blanket. This will let your dog adjust at their own pace and reaffirm old habits, like going outside to do their business, as if it is a new behavior in your new home.
Read on for more tips on how to prepare your home for a dog.
Undergo an Inspection
Is your home safe for a new dog? One of the most important factors to consider when thinking about how to prepare your home for a dog is its safety. To determine just how safe your new home is, carefully review the results from your home inspection. Remember, while it is common to do a fire inspection on a commercial building, similar information should be included in your home inspection as well. Look over your home inspection report, looking for any fire safety red flags, like too few smoke detectors, a dirty fireplace, and/or loose or improperly installed electrical outlets.
Other common safety hazards that you may find on your home inspection report include termite infestation, mold, water damage, lead-based paint, or warnings that homes are located in flood- or natural hazard-prone areas.
If any of these problems come up, do what you can to address them to protect you and your family — including your new pup — before you move in.
Get Rid of Unwanted Pests
For those trying to work out exactly how to prepare your home for a dog, don’t forget about pest management! Pest management is an essential step before you welcome a new dog into your home, and it is wise to keep the phone number of a trusted pest control services on-hand for the first few weeks after your pup arrives as well.
Why is this important? Many pests, like rodents, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and houseflies, carry diseases, and these diseases have the potential to put your pup at risk. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that mice alone have the potential to transmit up to 35 diseases.
What’s more, shelters and adoption centers cater to a lot of animals — and just one flea on one animal often means that there are dozens — if not hundreds — of others nearby. After taking your pup home from the shelter, thoroughly wash and brush them looking for any signs of fleas. If you do see a flea or two, again, this often indicates that there are dozens or more, and they may hide in long carpet fibers and other obscure areas of your home. Call a contractor to eliminate fleas, and use a flea treatment and prevention method to eradicate the pesky insects from your dog’s fur and skin.
Ensure Window Coverings and Electrical Wires Are Out of Reach
To pin down exactly how to prepare your home for a dog, it is helpful to think of a new puppy like an errant toddler. Think about what precautions you would take with an energetic toddler around, and see if they fit your current situation. In many cases, you will find that they do.
For example, just like you would with an infant, toddler, or young child, keep window coverings, blinds and pull strings, and electrical wires up and out of reach. For drapes, curtains, and blinds, there are several hooks, knobs, and other fixtures you can purchase to tie or secure them up high — well out of your dog’s reach. To prevent dogs from chewing wires:
- Give your dog appropriate things to chew. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reveals that puppies chew on things around your house, like wires, to help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with teething. Make your pup as comfortable as possible and discourage them from chewing wire and furniture by giving them appropriate things to chew. This might include ice cubes, special toys that you freeze before giving to your pup for pain relief, chew toys, and dog chew bones.
- Keep cords and power strips tucked out of the way. Secure wires by placing them behind furniture, using cable ties, hanging hooks to secure wires flush against the wall, or purchasing wire management boxes and/or wire management strips to contain wires in one place or cover them up and run them along the baseboard.
- Look for natural taste deterrents. Many dogs will not chew cords that taste hot, spicy, or bitter. There are several manufacturers who sell sprays that you can apply to cords, wires, and other objects to make them less appealing and desirable to your pup. While the sprays are safe for your pup to ingest, the idea — and hope — is that they will not want to continue to ingest them, and they will leave any treated cords alone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with all dogs. Spot test a small area to test out the results before applying to all the cords and wires in your home.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
When mulling over how to prepare your home for a dog, securing wires, window treatments, and blind cords out of the way is a great start, but it is not enough on its own. There are several other steps you ought to take to puppy-proof your home.
First, put medications and cleaning supplies up high — out of your dog’s reach. Any hazardous chemicals should be well out of your dog’s reach. Secure lower cabinets with trusty child-proof locks. While they may not — and hopefully do not — contain poisonous chemicals, you may have Tupperware, utensils, pans, and/or sharp objects it is best to keep your dog away from.
Secondly, use trash cans with secure lids. Dogs are attracted to the smell of garbage. There are dog-proof trash cans you can buy to ensure that your pup does not get into them. Whenever possible, do one better and take the trash out from indoor trash cans and stow it in large trash cans you keep outdoors or in the garage.
Remember, puppy-proofing is a full-time job. While you can certainly take initial steps to puppy-proof your home and rely on those safeguards to get you by in the future, it is important to keep your dog’s safety in mind moving forward, too. For example, if you choose to tackle a home remodeling project after bringing home your beloved pup, plan those renovations with your dog in mind.
Set aside a safe space for your dog that is free of fumes, chemicals, and other irritants. Try to give them a spot that is relatively quiet or noise-free, and consider a dumpster rental to remove large and potentially dangerous debris as you go. Before opening the space back up to your dog and family, do a final sweep to make certain that you remove small or less obvious debris, like dust and stray screws, as well.
Purchase a Dog Kennel, Bed, and Toys
The best tips for how to prepare your home for a dog are not always strictly safety-related ones. It is also critically important to buy items that will make your dog comfortable, meet their needs, and make living at your house a pleasant experience for them.
For instance, purchase a dog crate or kennel, a dog bed, and plenty of dog toys. Remember, just like people prefer cozy, decorative places, and you are likely to invest in residential painting prior to moving into your home, your dog appreciates a certain level of comfort, too. Instead of purchasing a bare-bones wire-only dog crate, consider investing in a spacious, handmade Amish dog kennel that will make your furry friend feel truly at home.
Find High-Quality Dog Food
When ticking off the items on your list of how to prepare your home for a dog, don’t forget about dog food. Finding nutritious, high-quality dog food is one of the most important parts of being a pet owner.
Most importantly, know that any food worth serving to your pup will meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Foods approved by the AAFCO will have an emblem, sticker, or disclaimer on the package clearly stating as much. Further, choose AAFCO approved brands that list meat as their first three ingredients, and skip foods that list popular fillers, like corn, wheat, and soy as one of these top ingredients.
Ensure Your Dog Won’t Be Able to Escape
Unfortunately, dogs getting out — and even running away — is all-too-common. Make sure it’s not a problem by investing in a sturdy, residential fence and doing some quality control around the house.
For example, your garage door should be in good working order. If your garage door only closes some of the time or partway, you risk your pup getting loose. Talk to garage door repair services about fixing the problem.
Prepare an Area to Wash Your New Pup
When learning how to prepare your home for a dog, too many homeowners often overlook preparing an appropriate space to wash their dog. That is a big mistake.
Dogs get dirty — and sometimes much more often than you think. Dogs get into the mud, step in excrement, and may get into the trash if it is not properly secured. Be prepared to wash your dog no matter what they get into.
That might mean investing in bathtub repair before your new pup comes home or purchasing a new hose with low-pressure settings to wash your new furry friend outdoors when and if you need to.
Clean Up Your Backyard and Install a Dog House
Some steps concerning how to prepare your home for a dog might not be as obvious. For example, while experts often recommend trimming low-hanging branches to protect your home in the event of extreme weather or storms, it is also wise to invest in tree maintenance before bringing a new dog or puppy home from the shelter.
Large branches that are not secure may fall on top of your pup. Loose twigs and smaller branches may strike your pup on an especially windy day. Plus, your dog may eat anything that falls from trees in your backyard, including branches, leaves, flowers, and pine needles. Any of these items may make your dog sick or, at the very least, irritate their stomach.
Once your backyard is free of debris, invest in and install a dog house. Dogs enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Sometimes, however, the sun or wind may become too much for your dog to handle. A dog house provides them some shelter while still allowing them to enjoy as much time outside as possible.
Find a Reputable Vet
Last but not least, find your new pup a reputable vet. To find the best possible vet for your pup:
- Find one that comes with glowing reviews. Ask trusted friends and family members where they prefer to take their pets. Ask why their vet comes so highly recommended. If you do not have friends or family nearby, use tools like Google reviews, Facebook, and Yelp to get a general idea about vets in the local area.
- Ask about important policies. What is their policy in the event of an emergency? Is it a small or large practice? How much time do you have with the vet to ask questions and inquire about your pet’s care? It is important to know all of the answers to these questions before determining the best vet for your pup.
Dogs have the potential to bring a lot of joy and happiness into your home. Make the transition a smooth one by adequately preparing for the newest member of your family and following this list on how to prepare your home for a dog.