When bringing home a new kitten or puppy, a little preparation goes a long way. It only takes a little planning and forethought to make sure your home is ready for your furry bundle of joy.
First, Do Your Research
If you have never owned a cat or dog, especially a kitten or puppy, your first step should be to gather information about how to care for your new pet. There are several books available on the topic, as well as endless options on the Internet. Be sure you are getting your information from a reputable source though, such as websites for well-known pet food and supply companies or pet welfare organizations. In addition, the veterinary assistants and technicians at your local veterinary clinic have a wealth of information about this. Don’t be shy—ask for advice.
Acquire appropriate bowls, foods, brushes, toys, blankets and any other necessary supplies, such as litter and litterboxes for kittens or potty pads for puppies. Pet gates (similar to baby gates) are useful for keeping young ones of all kinds out of areas that might be dangerous for them. Large kennels or indoor pens are also great for keeping young puppies and kittens in a safe, secure area when no one is available to supervise them.
Get down on the floor and look around your home. Seeing the room from your kitten or puppy’s point of view can help you determine potential trouble spots. Kittens and puppies love to explore tiny spaces, such as under or behind appliances and furniture. See if you can spot things that might look like toys to a young animal. Puppies and kittens can become entangled in and strangled by cords, ropes or strings. These items can also cause intestinal blockages if pieces are chewed off and swallowed. Cords also pose an electrocution hazard if chewed. Any small item within reach can also be chewed or swallowed. Also, train your eye to fragile items that could be knocked down and broken or items that could topple and fall on your pet. Remove as many hazards as possible and block access to areas that are unsafe.
A Place of Their Own
It is important to set up a safe, secure area in advance for your new arrival. Make sure he or she has a soft bed. Be sure the area is free from drafts and that there is a source of warmth for very small and/or very young animals. Food and water must be available at all times. Set up separate areas for sleeping, eating and going potty. Toys should be available to keep your baby interested and entertained. Keep new arrivals indoors and away from other pets at first.
Now that everything is in place, it’s time to bring your new family member into his or her forever home.