Now is possibly the best time to get a pet, and not just because you’re lonely in isolation. Spending more time at home will help you make sure that your pet gets used to its new home faster. But, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Be sure to think long and hard about it and consider these 8 steps you’ll need to take if you want a new pet.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Before you bring home your new family member, you must make sure that your home is pet-proofed. Tidy up the cables and blind cords, store away any cleaning products, get tight-closing trash cans, and maybe even invest in childproof latches for cabinet doors. Small items such as jewelry should be kept out of reach to prevent your pet accidentally swallowing them. Also, if you have any decorations that could easily be knocked over or could fall off shelves and window sills, consider moving them someplace safe.
Prepare a Space for Your Pet
Like all of us, pets need a space that they can retreat to when they’re scared, stressed, or just need some time alone. Think of it as a den, or a safe space. Take a tour of your house and try to picture where your pet is most likely going to want to retreat to. You can designate it as a pet space by placing a basket or a bed for them there, along with some toys.
Secure Your Garden
If you have a garden, the first thing to check is that your fence is secure enough, and that your pet can’t jump over it into the neighbors’ yard. A pet door will also come in handy, especially if you’re considering a cat. If your home has an HVAC unit, it’s good to bear in mind that your dog may use it to mark its territory, which will not only damage it, but also result in an unpleasant smell in your home. So consider adding a barrier that could prevent your dog from reaching it.
Think About Houseplants
Pets are curious creatures, and there’s a good chance they’ll be tempted to chew on your plants. Unfortunately, some of the most common houseplants are toxic to pets, such as begonias, aloe, lilies, and even catnip. If you’re a plant lover, consider having a room just for your plants, or putting them on tall shelves, out of reach. Alternatively, try going for plants that are safe for pets, such as ferns, spider plants, parlor palms, orchids, or herbs like parsley and basil.
Set Rules in Place
Decide if there are any rooms that will be off-limits to your pet, and, if you’re getting a cat, decide whether it will be allowed on surfaces like tables or counters. If you’re living with other people, such as family or just housemates, make sure that they’re also aware of the rules, especially when it comes to the pet’s feeding schedule. It’s best to decide on these rules before you bring your pet home, as any change in routine can cause anxiety for the pet later on.
Buy the Required Pet Accessories
Cats will need a litter box and litter, as well as a scratching post. For dogs, you will need to buy a leash and collar with a tag that should have the dog’s name and your contact details engraved, should they get lost. Pet food and separate bowls for water and food should also go on the list. For bowls, metal is a better alternative, as plastic can get easily scratched and become a breeding ground for bacteria. A pet hair brush will also come in handy.
Don’t Forget About Toys and Treats
Your pet’s first day in their new home should be as enjoyable as possible, so make sure to have some toys and treats ready. Chew toys are particularly important if you’re getting a puppy or a kitten, as they will prevent them chewing your belongings as they’re teething. Also, you can use treats to reward their good behavior, or when training them.
Change Your Air Filters
Unless you’re planning to get a Sphinx cat or a hairless dog breed, then you will need to prepare for at least some degree of shedding, and its impact on your HVAC systems. Even in a suburban home without pets, air filters should be changed every 3 months. If you have a pet, you will need to change your air filters once every 2 months, and if someone in your family has any allergies, once every 20-45 days is the norm. Also, if you’re particularly worried about hair, consider buying an air purifier that’s been specifically designed for homes with pets.