Bringing home a new pet is an exciting time — and there’s a lot to do to get prepared! In addition to ensuring that you’ve got the right treats, toys, and accessories, you’ll also need to learn how to puppy-proof your house (or kitten-proof). There are two parts to pet-proofing your home: protecting your pet and ensuring that your home is protected from your pet. Keep your pet and your home safe with these pet-proofing tips and tricks.
Protect Your Pet
The number one goal of dog proofing or cat proofing your house is to keep your pet healthy, happy, and safe. From keeping your pet out of the trash to hiding your cords, here’s what you’ll need to do before your cat or dog comes home.
Tuck Away Trash
No matter which type of pet you’re bringing home, you’ll want to ensure that you tuck your garbage away out of sight — or at least make it difficult to access! Curious kitties or ever-hungry pups are sure to want to investigate your kitchen scraps, bathroom trash, and even your garage trash. However, there are things in your garbage that you want to make sure your pets don’t have access to, like used cleaning products, cosmetics, or even bones or table scraps.
Therefore, if you’re wondering how to puppy-proof your home, start with the garbage. Luckily, there are plenty of options for pet-proofing your garbage. If possible, use built-in cabinet storage for your kitchen garbage can and empty it regularly. If there’s no space to tuck your trash away, use a lidded trash can and install childproofing locks. If you compost outdoors, consider fencing in your compost pile to prevent your pets from nibbling on scraps.
Eliminate or Store Toxic or Hazardous Materials
In addition to making sure your pet doesn’t get into the garbage, you’ll want to be sure they can’t get into your medicines, cleaning supplies, DIY supplies, or other potentially hazardous chemicals.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Medicines and vitamins, both prescription and over the counter
- Cleaning solutions and solvents
- Pool or hot tub chemicals
- Paints and glues
- Car fluids
- Fertilizers and lawn care solutions
Your best course of action is to stash these items high up on shelving or in cabinets and out of reach of your pet. For items you don’t use regularly, garage storage solutions can keep potentially hazardous materials out of your home completely.
For items you do use regularly, you can keep them in drawers or cabinets so long as you use childproofing locks.
Tuck Away Choking Hazards
Much like children, your pets experience the world with their five senses — and may occasionally place items in their mouths. Often our pets don’t see much of a difference between their toys and other household items, so it’s up to you to ensure that potential choking hazards remain out of snout’s reach.
Here’s a short list of things to be sure to tuck away:
- Crafting Supplies — Beads, thread, pipe cleaners, papers, etc
- Kids Toys — like puzzle pieces, doll accessories, building blocks
- Small Metal Items — Jewelry, coins, batteries
- Laces & Rope — Anything ropelike, including like shoelaces, curtain pulls, leashes
Here are some easy storage solutions to consider:
- Keep a chest or chest or console table with drawers at the entryway to tuck leashes, keys, and extra change away in
- Create additional storage in your closet with a bookshelf to place your shoes on
- Use hooks to hang purses and leashes out of reach
- Use bookshelves and baskets for storing away kid’s toys or crafting supplies
Getting organized and employing some storage solutions will not only help you dog- or cat-proof your house, but also help keep your home clutter-free.
Phone cords, electrical cords, charging cords, and cables are all hazardous to your pet — particularly those that carry an electrical current. Hide your cables by zip-tying them to your furniture legs or use a little electrical tape can be used to secure down your cords and keep them out of your cat or dog’s reach.
When you aren’t using your cables or wires, unplug them and toss them into your desk drawers, office shelving, or an attractive console table. Not only does this solution keep avid chewers safe from electrical shock, but it also helps your home look organized and tidy.
Be Picky with Plants
While there are many benefits of adding plants to your home (hello, better indoor air quality!) There are also a few drawbacks if you’re a pet owner. Dogs and cats in particular are very sensitive to certain types of plants — especially if ingested.
Therefore, it’s best to play it safe and go with attractive faux greenery and faux plants that are well out of your pet’s reach. If you absolutely must have real plants or flowers in your home, be sure to check that they’re pet safe.
Secure Your Backyard, Patio, or Balcony
Pet proofing isn’t just for inside the home! You’ll want to ensure that your outdoor areas are safe and secure, too. For dogs, you’ll need to ensure that your lawn is free of sharp objects, fertilizers, or bug sprays that aren’t pet safe. If your lawn isn’t fenced in, keep your pup leashed.
Cats are great apartment pets, but if your apartment has a balcony be cautious about letting your cat out onto it before doing a little cat proofing. Wondering how to cat-proof a balcony? Use some heavy-duty screen to cover the rails and cat netting to prevent your feline friend from trying to make an escape. Still, if you choose to have a cat on the balcony, keep a watchful eye and don’t leave your cat unattended.
Protect Your Home
While priority number one is keeping your furry family member protected, you’ll also want to ensure that you’re keeping your space in good shape, too. Here are some tips for keeping your home looking great as a pet owner.
Protect Your Floors
Claws and paws can do a number on your flooring, whether you have hardwood floors, tile, or carpets. Placing runners and area rugs throughout your home can help protect your flooring — and prevent your new pet from slipping and sliding! Choose an easy to clean option that matches the overall look and feel of your existing decor.
Maintain Your Furniture
Every pet owner knows that despite our best efforts, fur and pet stains happen. Fortunately, there are ways that you can quickly and easily clean up your furniture. Rubber brushes and lint removers can help you make light work of dehairing your upholstery, as can a cordless lightweight vacuum. Need to clean up pet stains or dirt? We’ve got you covered.
Pro Tip: If you’re in the market for new furniture, be sure to choose easy to clean fabrics. Not only does a leather sofa look great, but it wipes off easily, too.
Keep Valuables Out of Paw’s Reach
Whether you’re bringing home a new adult pet or a kitten or puppy, you’ll want to ensure that you protect your valuables and keep them out of paw’s reach — at least until your new addition has had time to adjust to their new environment.
Keep your surfaces relatively clear (particularly if you’re welcoming home a curious cat or an excitable, tail-wagging puppy). Place your breakable valuables such as framed photos or vases on shelving or high console tables in the meantime.
The same goes during holidays: don’t hang your heirloom glass ornaments at the base of your tree! Instead, opt to place your valuable (sentimental or otherwise) ornaments high up where they won’t be disturbed by pets who mistake them for toys.
Create Pet-Friendly Areas
Another option to consider? Create pet-friendly areas in your home and limit your pet to these areas. You can use baby gates or pet gates to block off rooms from your pet. Find dedicated pet furniture — like orthopedic dog beds, cat hammocks, or cat trees — for your pets to lounge on instead. Use an area rug to create a cushion underfoot while adding style to your space.
Provide Plenty of Stimulating Toys
Cats instinctively scratch, while many dogs are hardwired to chew. These urges are natural. While you can discourage these behaviors towards your furniture, don’t expect to nip them in the bud entirely.
Instead, introduce safe outlets for these habits. For dogs, that means providing plenty of chew toys. For cats, it may mean getting a scratching post or pad that they’re free to paw at to their heart’s content. Providing these alternatives will help keep your pet stimulated and happy — without sacrificing your throw pillows or couch cushions.
Set Boundaries and Ground Rules
If you’ve chosen to have pet-free areas (or decided that maybe your new sofa isn’t the best place for your German Shepherd to lounge) employ positive reinforcement or a little in-the-moment course correction to encourage wanted behavior and discourage unwanted behavior.
Find Furniture and Storage Solutions at CORT Furniture Outlet
Has Fido chewed up your old rug? Did Fluffy mistake your old couch for a scratching post? Upgrade your furniture and create a pet-friendly home by shopping at CORT Furniture Outlet. Browse our expansive selection of new and gently-used furniture and decor online or in-store and bring home your items same-day.