How to prepare your house to make your new pet feel at home

July 27, 2020

Whether you're bringing home a new cat or dog, it's important to take steps to prepare your home for your new furry friend

A mother and son with new pets, making them feel at home

Getting a new pet is always an exciting process. But it can be a little worrying, too. How do you know whether your house is prepared for your pet? Will your pet get into things? Could they potentially hurt themselves? Fear not. There are a lot of ways you can prepare your home for a new pet and make sure that your first days together (and ever after) are joyous. Here's an overview of how you can prepare to move your new pet into your new home.

First: Are you renting or do you own?

If you're a renter, you probably want to get your deposit back eventually. Check your lease to make sure you're allowed pets, and talk to your landlord — you might need to pay a pet deposit or pet rent. Some landlords have breed or size restrictions on animals, you never know without checking the lease.

If you own your home, you're not necessarily free and clear: You should check your insurance. Certain insurance policies, such as homeowners and renters insurance, may have stipulations regarding breeds of dogs that some may considered more dangerous. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't have your pet, but it's worth consulting with your insurance company to discuss how and if it will affect your premium. 

Buying your supplies

Pets need a lot of things. But they give us back unconditional love — so we still come out ahead. Before you get your pet, you should have:
  • Collars and leashes, as applicable. Even a cat can love a leash, as long as they're properly trained.
  • Bedding. Dogs love comfy beds on the floor. Cats love perches.
  • Toys. Scratching posts, balls, and other engaging things keep pets from damaging your home.
  • Food bowls. Consider that some animals might need raised bowls, like large dogs, and cats prefer their bowls separated.
  • Litter boxes or puppy training pads, as applicable. Take some time to think about where you want to put these.
  • If you're adopting a new dog or adopting a new puppy, you may want to buy a crate. A crate doesn't have to be locked, but can serve as their den.
  • If you're adopting a new cat or adopting a new kitten, consider large cat trees. They feel more relaxed when elevated.
Now, there's something you might have noticed isn't there: food. That's because it's often better to talk to whoever you're getting your pet from about food before you buy it. It's bad to switch foods on an animal too quickly. They'll tell you what brand they're currently using, so you can transition them to the food that your vet recommends.

Always talk to your vet before changing your pet's diet.

Preparing their new home

If you already have pets, this may not be a chore. But if this is your first time, you need to pet proof your home. Pet proofing is a lot like child proofing, but while your pet doesn't have thumbs, they are often incredibly determined.
  • Temporarily remove rugs if you're not certain whether they're potty trained. That'll save you a lot of trips to the wash.
  • Check your fence, if you're going to be letting your pet into the backyard. Look for any holes under the fence and make sure the gate isn't loose.
  • Secure any loose cords. Younger animals, especially, are likely to chew on cords. So lift any cords out of reach that you can, and secure any cords that you can't.
  • Put the trash cans away. Even locking trash cans can be fairly easy for pets to get into, if they have enough time, and dangerous things can dwell in them.
  • Lock away any medications and foods. A lot of surprising things can be toxic to animals. Chocolate, grapes, and so forth. Make sure everything is out of reach.
Take some time to go from room to room and identify anything that could hurt your pet if it's chewed on. For a while, things like shoes or electronic devices may need to get tucked away, until you know how your pet will react.

Take some time for introductions

Pets should be introduced on neutral territory. If you are introducing dogs to each other, introduce them by walking them around the block. If you are introducing dogs and cats, keep the cats crated for the initial interactions. If you have children, have them walk the pet or meet the pet outside, before you all go inside of the home. This secures the pets idea that they belong in the house, too, rather than them simply happening upon what they could perceive as an intruder.

Don't rush these introductions, especially if you have a large family. Sometimes you might want to meet a pet on multiple days before you even take them home.

Introduce them to the home slowly

Usually, you want to start by introducing your pet to one room at a time. Get them gradually accustomed to a wider area (you can use baby gates or pet gates), so you don't just expose them to the entire house at once. This limits the chances they can get into mischief!

If your new pet is a dog, you might want to consider crating him or her while you're out, for at least the first few days. This will ensure that they don't get into any danger. As long as a crate isn't used as a punishment, many dogs find it quite soothing.

And that's how to make your new pet feel at home when adopting a new pet. While this may seem a little complicated, it's worth it. By preparing in advance, you'll find that it makes the transition faster, smoother, and easier on your pet. And don't worry: Most people are going to make some mistakes at some point. A pair of shoes will get chewed up, or the trash will get spilled out. But before you know it, you'll be enjoying a complete, happy family.

A puppy and kitten laying together in their new home.

When you have a new pet, you can expect a little damage to your home. Germania Insurance can help you protect your home from the unexpected. Request a free quote online or reach out to one of our trusted agents today!

Read more: Part of preparing your home for a new pet is being mindful of the potential dangers. Next, read our snake safety blog and make sure you're pets are safe both indoors and outdoors!

by Geoff Ullrich

About the Author

Geoff Ullrich is a writer and Content Marketing Specialist at Germania Insurance.