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October 2023

Creating a Safe Environment For Your New Pet

Friday, September 13, 2019
posted by Jim Murphy

Today we’re featuring a guest article that was prepared by Family Living Today. Thank to Susan Austin and Nisha Miller for submitted this thorough and very interesting article.

A loving home is the best place for a pet, but a lot goes into making your home a safe environment for your new furry (or scaly) friend. Before you bring your new best friend home, make sure you’re on top of everything they need to feel happy, healthy, and loved.

  • Let them indoors. Some pets enjoy playing outside for extended periods, but they shouldn’t live out there. Dogs in particular are pack animals and shouldn’t be separated from their pack — your family. Indoors, they are safe from wild animals, and the elements. If your animal spends some of its day outdoors, give them a structured space where they can be safe. Give them an outdoor shelter where they can be protected from the sun, wind, and other elements. Always bring them inside when it reaches uncomfortable temperatures outside, or when it’s rainy or snowing.

  • Keep food, medication, plants, and chemicals out of reach. Bringing home a new pet is a lot like bringing home a baby. You’ll need to pet proof your home, making sure they can’t get into anything that might be dangerous for them. Human medications, house cleaners, even house plants can be hazardous to pets. And although pets may beg you to share your food with them, many foods aren’t healthy for pets and can even be extremely hazardous. So it’s a good idea to make sure there are barriers between new pets and anything that could be harmful for them. And keep in mind, some pets are clever enough to open cabinets, so you may need ones that latch shut.

  • Keep doors and windows secure. Pets can and do escape if they’re able to. Screens aren’t enough to keep pets inside. Make sure doors and windows are closed and locked so pets can’t escape or fall out. Even then, it’s a good idea to invest in microchipping or a GPS tracker so they can easily be found and brought home.

  • Offer a dedicated space. Given the chance to roam about your house, pets may find a spot where they feel most comfortable. But you should give them their own space with a bed so they know where their safe spot is. Consider keeping their toys, water, and food there, too.

  • Keep litter boxes away from food. Litter boxes should be in a safe, private area. Avoid putting it near food, or cats may not be interested in using it.

  • Consider flooring and furniture. Floors should be smooth and easy to clean, but make sure they aren’t too slippery for pets’ paws. Rugs can make it easy to offer a soft surface that can be cleaned more easily than carpet.

  • Give pets enrichment zones. Ensure that pets aren’t bored while indoors, offering play areas with toys and stimulation so they don’t start feeling restless.

  • Limit noise. Moving into a new home can be stressful enough for pets. Loud noises can make the experience more stressful, so try to limit the noise level in your home to make them feel more comfortable. Turn down the TV, ask family members to speak in soft tones, and consider using a white noise machine to make the environment feel more calm.

  • Keep pet items clean. Pet beds, towels, toys, food bowls, and more can get dirty quickly, which exposes your pet to bacteria that could be harmful. Regularly wash your pet and their items so they can stay clean and healthy.

Bringing home a new pet offers lots of excitement, but also lots of questions. Take care to create a happy and safe environment for your new pet as they come home to live with you.

Susan Austin is a family research specialist with Family Living Today. A mother of three and small business owner in Texas, Austin spends her days juggling work and family life — sometimes expertly, sometimes not.

Remember, your pets count!

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