How to Pet-Proof Your Home

Mago I am splitting dog-sitting duty for Mago, the youngest of the official dogs of HotPads, while her owners are away.  After receiving the necessary list of instructions about feeding (the dog has food allergies that forces her to be a vegetarian- I'm not making that up), walking schedules (4 walks a day- puppies…), and things to avoid (children, mocking birds, buses and construction equipment), I was feeling pretty prepared.

And then, I remembered, my townhouse.  My townhouse is many things, but pet-friendly is not one of them.  So to prepare for the arrival of a puppy, here is how to pet-proof your home:

Get cleaning supplies and chemicals out of reach of curious noses– I usually store my cleaning supplies in the most easily-accessible places…like the floor.  However, leaving the bleach and insect sprays on the floor or on a low shelf is a significant risk to your pets.

Put away knick-knacks and small things– Consider anything smaller than your head as a choking hazard for your pet and get it out of reach.  This includes things that you might not even consider like loose change, spare batteries, and gum.

Cover your wires and sockets– Pets, especially puppies, find the most unusual things fun… like chewing on wires.  Make sure to get all wires off the floor or covered sufficiently to avoid the risk of electric shock.

Keep foods out of reach & cover your garbage: There are many common foods that are toxic to animals, so make sure to cut off all access to food.  Also, make sure to put a lid on your garbage can so Fido doesn't get his paws on any leftovers, especially bones.

Move the recycling bin outside– Not only do you not want your dog to lick at any of the sweet residues from your recycling, you also want to ensure that they do mistake a shiny aluminum can for a chew toy and cut themselves.

Rinse off the floors and bathtub– If you have been using chlorox or other harsh cleaning chemicals, it's best to wash those places with soap and water to ensure that your pets do not get any toxic substances on their paws or mouths.

Cover the hardwood and protect the furniture– If your hardwoods are susceptible to sharp claw tracks, think about putting down a carpet to minimize the damage and provide better traction for your dog.  If you have a nice couch or chair that you do not want pet hair on, cover it with a sheet.

Put up gates and close all doors– Block all areas of the house where pets are unwelcome, as well as all areas that pose too much of a safety risk to your pet.  These may include cellars, utility rooms, and unfenced outdoor areas.  

Inspect every area the dog will be– Finally, just look at every square inch of space the dog will be and think about what could possibly go wrong.  Then fix it.  

Anything on this list that I forgot?  Please leave your tips in the comments section!

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