Pet-proofing isn’t all that different from babyproofing. Everything in arms—err, paws reach can be dangerous. Your new dog or cat is small, curious and prone to sniff out excitement (and potentially trouble!) as they explore their new world. Read on for simple ways to prep your home and create a safe environment for your pet.

Take Inventory of Your Home

Go from room to room and look around for small objects that could easily be swallowed and find new places to store them. Make sure items like cleaning and laundry supplies, medicine, vitamins, cosmetics, tiny kids’ toys and game pieces, tools and office supplies are safely put away in high shelves, cabinets, bins and closets. Some people opt to install childproof latches for extra peace of mind. Strings, wires and cords are especially tempting and especially hazardous, so tuck them out of reach. Indoor plants need to be moved off the floor, too. And any cute home décor knick-knacks you love? Move them out for now. Don’t forget to do a yard scan, as some plants, flowers and lawn chemicals are toxic. In case of an emergency at your home, there are window stickers that alert firefighters that you have a pet.


Start With Some Crates & Safety Gates

Before allowing the free rein of the house, block off rooms with baby gates to keep your pet safely contained to a smaller area. This also makes it easier for you to keep a watchful eye when you’re multitasking. Playpens are great for creating a pets-only hangout zone away from anything that’s off-limits. But keep in mind, some puppies and kittens are so tiny they may be able to squeeze through the bars of a playpen. Ensure the sizing is right for your little pal. If you have a fireplace, put up a protective screen in front. When you have to leave the house, pets should go in their cozy crates with some favorite toys.

Know What’s Cooking In the Kitchen

Certain foods can be poisonous to animals, such as chocolate, grapes, onions and coffee. Keep all food properly stored. Be on the lookout for rogue twisty ties, plastic bags and any sharp objects or kitchen tools. Garbage bins (everywhere in the house!) should be inside a cabinet or covered with a latch that a pet can’t maneuver. Aside from hazardous foods, wrappers and packaging can also be serious threats.

Be Aware Of Potential Hiding Spots

From tiny nooks to holes behind cabinets, look for small spaces in your home that a pet could get into and seal them appropriately. Keep appliance doors firmly closed and always take a peek inside the washer and dryer to make sure it’s not a new nap spot! Cats are especially curious and may even curl up in a drawer.

Protect Your Furniture

Pets don’t know that your couch was a splurge or that the pretty dish on the coffee table is a memento from a trip. Protect your prized possessions by moving them out of areas they could be damaged. Waterproof blankets are a lifesaver for keeping couches, rugs and other nice furniture safe from accidents and nibbles. They’re easy to travel with as well.

Being a pet parent takes a lot of work (especially at the beginning!), but all the cuddles, snuggles and kisses certainly make it worth the effort.

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