Bringing Home a Rescue Pet: How to Turn Your Home into a Pet-Friendly Space

While we are still social distancing amid the Coronavirus pandemic, finding new ways to occupy our time seems to be becoming more and more difficult. It’s possible that you’ve been thinking about welcoming a furry friend into your family to help boost companionship during these lengthy days of social distancing. Or perhaps adopting a rescue pet is just what you need to make your house finally feel like a home. Whatever the reason, with all of the excitement of welcoming your new best friend home, it is easy to forget the essential step of making your home pet-friendly.


Pet-proofing

The way each rescue animal acts when introduced to a new home will vary, so it is impossible to ever be fully prepared when welcoming a rescue pet into your home. As a safety precaution, you should be sure to keep anything that could be harmful or poisonous in a secure place that’s out of reach to your new furry friend. Also, remove any of your belongings that could be damaged or broken by your rescue pet. To make a smoother transition for them, follow the additional precautions below:

  • Make sure trash cans are covered and secure

  • Remove or lock away poisonous plants and household cleaners

  • Install pet gates if there are rooms you don’t want them exploring yet

  • Tape down or cover exposed cords

  • Make sure the toilet seat stays closed

  • Put away items that are choking hazards or that you don’t want them to play with

  • Move fragile items, such as vases and picture frames, out of their reach

  • Screen off fireplaces and wood stoves

  • Block off furniture with wood accents, upholstery, or that can be easily damaged, with a temporary barrier

Photo courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzfarmers/7318055470

Designate a safe area for your new pet

Your pet should have a safe/private area, so before you bring your furry friend home, make sure you have a designated space for him or her. Baby gates, pet gates, and closed doors are all great ways to keep them contained to the area you want them. This helps your rescue animal become familiar with your home at a slow pace, as taking in too many sights and smells at once can become overwhelming. Make sure to remove any items that your rescue pet could get into or eat. If possible, you should choose an area with easy-to-clean floors that is near where the most activity occurs so your new family member does not feel isolated. Having a designated space for them will help make your new pet feel safe and secure in its new home.


Make sure the locks on your doors and windows are working properly

It is important to make sure that windows and doors are secure and that the locks won’t budge, as some pets are able to open windows and doors themselves. This is especially important if the rescue pet you’re welcoming into your home has the ability to climb or leap onto windowsills. If you like to keep your windows and doors open for air circulation, the best thing you can do is purchase pet-proof screens. These will eliminate any tears or holes from clawing, chewing, and scratching at the screen, and in the long run keep your pet inside, safe and sound!

Purchase pet supplies and toys

Before bringing your rescue pet home, it is important to have plenty of pet supplies on hand. Purchasing the following items prior to your pet’s arrival will help ease the move from the shelter to your home:


Be prepared for accidents

Be prepared for accidents to occur – it is best to clean them up right away to avoid stains and eliminate odors. If the accident happens on carpet or upholstery, place a newspaper on top of a stack of paper towels to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Then stand on the area or apply pressure to the area for around a minute. After that, use clean water and blot dry using paper towels. If the area still looks stained, use a pet odor neutralizer or stain remover. If your new rescue pet is a dog, a great way to teach them where it is okay to use the bathroom is to use dog pee pads. Of course, this is only until they begin going potty outside.  


Choose an area to keep their food and water

You should keep your new pet’s food, water, and toys in the same area you have prepared for them, but if this area is not where you want to keep their supplies forever, you will eventually want to designate a location for all of their supplies. A laundry room or mud room is a great place to store your pet’s supplies, but make sure you secure anything that could be toxic to them. Establish a place to store all their toys, install hooks or hangers for leashes and collars, and store food in a container with a lid.  


Dog-proof your backyard

This tip is more for those who are adopting a dog. It is no secret that dogs love to be outside and will find any excuse to bolt out the door to have some fun, but it’s important that you take the necessary steps to pet-proof your yard to keep your dog from running off. In addition, you will want to make sure there are no dangers that they could get into, such as toxic plants or chemicals. Some additional steps that you could take include:

  • Fence in your yard

  • Remove any toxic plants and flowers, like tulips, daffodils, and hydrangea

  • If you have a pool, install a fence around it to prevent your dog from jumping in and not being able to get back out

Make sure your garage and/or shed is secure

It’s common for products or chemicals that are poisonous, flammable, and/or corrosive to be kept in garages or sheds, so make sure to keep your garage or shed secure. Dogs love to explore and sniff out new scents, so make sure all items that are poisonous or potentially fatal if ingested, are kept out of reach of your pet. Items such as gas, oil, antifreeze, rodent baits, fertilizers, insecticides, and auto supplies should be kept in a secure place that your new pet will not be able to get into. 


Keep your local veterinarian information on hand

Prior to bringing your new pet home, find a highly recommended veterinarian that is near your home. You should also research where the closest 24-hour emergency animal hospital is just in case you would ever need to bring your pet there, since accidents can always happen. Jot the number down and keep it in a place where everyone in the household has access to it, such as on the fridge or with your pet’s important documents. 

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