Making the decision to add a fur baby to your family is a big undertaking, and with any great pet comes great responsibility. Just about all pets are dependent on you to provide them with the love, care and support that they need, but there's one pet in particular that you really do need to prepare your home: a dog. In addition to providing them with a safe, comfortable environment, you'll need to have a bit of patience as you and your doggo become accustomed to each other and for him, his new surroundings as well. To make this process a little easier on the both of you, let’s run through some steps you can take to ensure your home is truly pet-ready.
Preparing Your Home For a New Dog
A Place To Sleep
While it's perfectly acceptable to let your dog walk, run, relax and play outside (safely, natch), it's 100% expected that your beloved pooch will be spending his evenings indoors, no matter how nice the weather is outside. With that said, your buddy is going to need a space inside your home to call his own when it comes to sleeps and naps. Look for doggy beds that are size-appropriate for your pet and that they are soft and warm, yet supportive. If your dog is going to spend any time outdoors, you should make sure they do so when the weather is appropriate and that they have a proper kennel. This kennel should be warm, dry and safe from the elements. You can find more information about kennels here.
A Place To Eat
Choose a designated space in your home for your dog's food and water bowls; an out of the way area that is solely theirs for mealtime. Make sure Fido is fed at the same times each day, as you may know consistency and routine are important to your pet’s well being. Smaller dogs will be just fine with bowls placed directly on the floor, but for larger breeds consider an elevated pet bowl stand that is raised off the ground by a few inches. An elevated dog dish provides ease of access to food and water and can help facilitate movement of food when traveling from your pet's mouth to his stomach. Bonus: An elevated pet bowl stand is easier to clean and maintain as you won't be all handsies-kneesies on the floor cleaning up after your pet.
Using The Right Cleaning Products
It goes without saying that you're going to need to take a bit more care with your floors, carpeting and upholstery when you have a dog. The majority of dog breeds shed hair like a mother, and almost all dogs will eventually traipse through the house with muddy paws. Make sure to keep pet-safe cleaning products on hand for such occasions, or try this chemical-free, homemade cleaning solution: Mix 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap (like this one from Honest Company) and 1/2 cup of vinegar together in a small bucket or large spray bottle. Clean the soiled area with a sponge or cloth and wipe dry.
Almost all dogs - and puppies in particular - love to chew. This is why it’s absolutely essential that you remove anything dangerous that they could chew that's on their level, including hazardous electrical wires and cords. If you catch your pet chewing something they shouldn't, distract them with a loud noise and remove the item from their reach. Familiarise yourself with things that could be poisonous or dangerous for your dog and be sure to have items for them to gnaw on that are actually appropriate for them, like rubber bones and textured knotted ropes.
Do you like to swim, or live near water? We had a dog back in the day that we couldn't keep OUT of the water! Oh, Chester...you were the bestest! If you are looking for a doggo that loves to swim, there are certain breeds that are natural born swimmers, and some that shouldn't be near water at all. Check out this post from yourdogadvisor.com to learn what dogs are the best breeds for swimming.
At the end of the day, dogs are great companions and the effort and investment in your new BFF will be well worth it. This infographic from the Santa Fe Human Society has even more great ideas for helping get your new buddy acclimated to his (or her!) new home. Check it out:
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