In many ways, adopting a dog is a lot like becoming parents to a brand-new human baby: You’re excited, you can’t wait to meet the new addition to your family, and you have a lot of work to do to get your house ready.
Whether you are adopting a 6-week old purebred puppy or have fallen in love with a senior mixed-breed fella from the pound, take the time to prepare your home for your precious new family member. Check out these tips:
Shop for supplies
Don’t wait until you sign the adoption papers to do your shopping; instead, buy everything far in advance. Basic supplies include food and water bowls, chew toys, bedding, a collar and leash, pet ID tag, food and perhaps a crate. If you want to wait until you name your new four-legged friend to get the ID tag that’s fine, but try to get your other doggie gear ahead of time.
Look around the house for hazards
Dogs are pretty curious critters at times, and puppies are notorious for getting into everything. Take an honest look at your home and do everything you can to dog-proof it. Some dogs adore chewing on electrical cords, so if you can either tuck them behind furniture or unplug the lamps and other devices and put up the cords when they are not in use. Home Depot carries cord covers and other sorts of safety devices.
Many dogs will try “counter surfing” at least once, so be sure all of your counters are free from foods and beauty products that will hurt your dog. This includes fruit bowls filled with grapes or avocados, boxes of chocolates, cookies with raisins in them and bottles of yummy-smelling shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom.
Determine your dog-safe areas
While you hope to let your new family member eventually have full run of the house, it’s a good idea to set aside a dog-safe area for your pooch to hang out in, especially when you are at work or running errands. Depending on the size of your new dog, you can cordon off a large room in your home with either the door or baby gates, or you can confine her to a smaller space like a laundry room. Again, it’s important to have safety on the brain, so dog-proof the designated spot and also think about the overall comfort of your home.
In addition, summer is coming up, and your new family member needs to stay cool and comfy while you are away from home. Make sure your A/C unit is in good working order. You might look into protecting the A/C unit with a comprehensive and trusted home warranty — the money you save on repairs can be used for other expenses, like tennis balls, Frisbees and stuffed toys for your new pooch. TotalProtect.com outlines the typical costs to repair and replace a variety of home appliances and systems.
Keep your dog’s mind and body active
In order for your pup to be as happy and healthy as possible, it’s important to find ways to keep him mentally and physically active. Consider buying a puzzle cube for your dog and fill it with dry kibble. It can help keep your pooch happily occupied while you are away from home. Sign up for a dog obedience class to learn some basic commands and manners, and take your dog on lots of walks to get exercise and opportunities to come in contact with other pups and their people.
Finally, learn how to perform CPR on your dog. We feature a comprehensive guide on how to do it. It could just save his life one day!