You're bound to be excited about bringing your new dog home, but is your house ready for a four-legged resident? Buying nutritious food, providing stimulating toys and reading up on the health needs of your pet are all essential elements of responsible pet ownership. However, you also need to consider the suitability of your new buddy's living environment. Here are three ways to prepare your home:
Install A Pet Door
Are you going to be out at work during the day or have times when you're busy looking after your kids? A pet door will enable your dog to be more independent and take exercise in your enclosed garden whenever they feel like it. It will also prevent them from having to cross their legs until you get home.
Pet doors can be installed in any door, including glass and hardwood, and there are models that will ensure the door is not a security risk or an open invitation for other animals to enjoy the warmth of your home. Models with electric door locks can be locked with a key and you can fit your dog with a collar that contains a small microchip. The microchip unlocks the pet door when your dog approaches it, and the door locks when your pet moves away from it.
Consider Your Flooring
Even if your new dog is not a puppy, it's likely they'll have a few accidents during their settling in period. Remove expensive rugs until you're sure your dog is fully toilet trained, and stock up on enzymatic carpet cleaners, which are pet-safe and good at dispersing odours.
If you have laminate flooring, your dog may slip on it when they run around because they can't gain traction on such smooth surfaces. This can cause them to collide with furniture or put too much stress on their hip joints as they try to stop themselves sliding around. Consider covering the main areas of flooring in your home with basic rugs that will afford your pooch some grip. Alternatively, you can try non-slip dog socks, but not all dogs will be happy to keep these on.
In addition to keeping medications and cleaning products out of reach, ensure your dog doesn't have access to these common household items:
Some household plants are toxic to dogs. Rhododendrons can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, while bulbs, including daffodils and tulips, can cause seizures and heart problems.
Don't be swayed by the cute begging; your dog doesn't need to sample your lunch. In fact, many of the foods you enjoy are dangerous for dogs. Chocolate and coffee contain methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and even death in dogs. Avocados are a good source of fibre and B vitamins for you, but they contain persin - a chemical compound that causes vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, and macadamia nuts can cause muscle weakness.
The ethylene glycol used in antifreeze has a sweet taste that attracts dogs, but even a small amount can be fatal. Opt for pet-safe antifreeze that uses propylene glycol as its active ingredient.
The Pet Poison Helpline has a full list of dangerous substances, and your local vet can also give you advice on keeping your dog safe.