If you adopt a new pet, is your home ready to welcome the new addition to the family? While you want your furry new friend to roam, you also want your home in one piece. So take these quick and simple pet proofing steps so everyone is happy and safe.


Closed Doors & Gates

You should always close the doors to the closet, bathroom, pantry and other areas that might have important or off-limit items. You can teach your pet boundaries by setting out toys or resting spaces in the living room, bedroom and other safe spaces. That way they will learn to go to those places by default and avoid off-limit areas.

You can also find a local handyman to install safety or childproof gates to keep them out of rooms you want to preserve, or where you need to get in and out often and might forget to close the door. Installing safety gates at the top or bottom of stairs is a good idea if you want to keep a pet from getting to the second story.


Cabinet Locking & Storing Items

You should take your toiletries, medications and other bathroom items off of your countertops and lock them in your cabinet, or your pets could swallow them. Use locking devices on your cabinet doors as cats often have the ability to open doors with their bodies or paws. You should also practice this with spices and other ingredients in your kitchen.

For your living room, keep your curtain ropes and cords high up and out of reach from your pets. In terms of electrical wires, tuck them far away behind your entertainment system or underneath your furniture. You don’t want your pets chewing them and possibly shocking themselves. You could also install safety locks if you need an extra amount of protection.


Toxic Foods to Store Away

While there are various foods we may love to eat and drink, some of them are dangerous for pets. It’s important to store them far away, or they can cause gastric distress, seizures or, in the worst case, death. Some of the food and drink to keep stored include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Greasy foods
  • Weak chicken or cooked pork bones
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Raw fish

For further protection, you should also hide your trash cans. This prevents pets from spreading garbage all over the kitchen. Consider storing your trash underneath the sink or installing a container with a sturdy lid.


Gardening Tips for Your Pet

Fencing in your backyard is important, but consider fencing or fence windows that will let them see out while still keeping them safely contained, so they will be less likely to feel trapped and bored. Take your pet on walks, play often and leave toys in the yard. To protect your garden, put a chicken-wire fence around the beds to show it’s off-limits and plant some stakes to keep the wire propped up.

You also want to reassess some of the plants in your garden. Some breeds cause diarrhea, tremors, vomiting and other deadly symptoms to pets. The effect will vary by your pet’s breed, age, health, and size, but you might consider uprooting these plants from your garden:

  • Aloe vera
  • Azalea
  • Baby’s breath
  • Carnations
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodil
  • Ivy
  • Lilies
  • Milk weed
  • Morning glory
  • Poinsettia
  • Sago palm
  • Tomato plant
  • Tulip
  • Yew

No matter what you do, the crucial prep step to owning a new pet is vigilance. Installing safety gates and closing doors is helpful, but these aren’t guarantees. Besides, you want to give your new pet attention, which means having your eye on them. So play, cuddle and stay safe together so everyone’s happy.


Contribution by Andrea Davis, Home Advisor