Pet Proofing Made Easy

It's exciting to get a new pet, and it's exciting to move to a new home with your pet. However, for both of these new adventures, certain precautions need to be taken to ensure your animal's safety and your home's quality. Different measures need to be taken with different animals, and since cats and dogs seem to be the most common house pets, here are a few tips on how to pet-proof your home with a cat vs. a dog.


*Secure knick knacks, picture frames, and any other object on shelves or any other surface in your home. Cats are notorious for knocking things over, so be sure to secure your valuables or hide them from your feline friends so they don't break them and hurt themselves in the process.

*Train your cat not to claw furniture; if they are stubborn and don't seem to care, try claw caps to preserve your furniture. Claw caps are (often brightly colored) rubber caps to place over your cat's claws to prevent scratching and claw marks. Be sure to see if these are right for you, and if you do decide to use claw/nail caps for cats, read the directions so you correctly apply and maintain them. Claw caps that are on too long can cause their own hazards, as your cat can get them caught on things when their claws begin to grow out.

*If you don't want to try claw caps, you can place covers over your furniture and provide a tall scratching post for your little furry friend. Remember that cats need a tall enough scratch post to stretch out their entire bodies vertically, so if you buy a short one, or even a flat one, your pet will likely not use it. Couch covers are important to protect your furniture, and you can find nice ones at your local store or online.

*Make sure you close your home's windows all the way and keep them shut. Cats love sitting on windowsills, but they can easily roll over while asleep or playing. So, for your cat's safety, keep your windows closed and secured.

*Block off small spaces that your cat, especially a kitten, could fit within and get lost or hurt in. Secure air vents with sturdy covers, block off the washer and dryer so they can't get stuck behind or between the machines (and check inside these machines before using them, especially your dryer, as cats enjoy sleeping in warm spaces; also check your car by banging on it before you use it because cats often hide within the exterior of a car to stay warm, particularly in the winter, and this includes other cats that may be wandering by as well).

*Invest in a good litterbox and litter-catching mat. Litter can get everywhere, and it gets mushy when wet. Nothing is worse than walking into a room with a litterbox and having to clean your feet afterward because of all the loose litter. Regularly clean your litterbox too, as the smell is strong and carries. It is recommended to change a litterbox twice daily, if possible. Also, try a litterbox with a cover, like ones that look like a box or igloo, as these are best at masking odors (especially those with doors for the cat to go in and out of).


*Potty training is essential for dogs; whether you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, you need to anticipate a mess when you first get a dog, and you need to provide space for your fuzzy little friend. Some people keep their Chihuahuas indoors and train them on pads they lay out in a designated space on the floor, while people with bigger dogs would likely need to provide ample outdoor space for bathroom business. Whatever you choose to do for your pet, make sure it's healthy and possible for your pet through consulting a licensed veterinarian. If your dog doesn't seem to get the hang of potty training at first, don't fret! He will get the hang of it soon, and then you'll be happy that your home is scent and stain-free.

*Secure your pantry so your dog doesn't sneak in and make a mess (or a tummy ache). Hide foods that could be harmful to your dog, or any foods you don't want your dog getting into. Dogs tend to binge-eat more than cats, so it's important that you hide their food until it's feeding time. However, for either cats or dogs (or any animal), hide away harmful products, such as chemicals or anything that could be poisonous to them. Ask your veterinarian what food items your pet can't eat.

*Hide wires. Dogs like to chew. A lot. So, to avoid your dog getting sick and/or ruining your things, keep cords and wires away from your canine pals. It can be hard to hide wires at first when you move into a new place, but even if you have to tape them temporarily to the wall while you finish moving in and/or renovating, that's better than risking something happening.

It's fun to share a home with your pet, so be sure to pet-proof your home with these tips, as well as in other ways you see fit for your own personal home.