How to prepare your home for a new pet

Bringing home a dog or a cat for the first time can be a special but daunting time for both you and your pet – that’s why we’ve created a handy new puppy checklist and have some top tips for bringing a kitten home.

Your new family member will most likely be both nervous and excitable, and you’ll want to make sure they’re as comfortable as can be. It takes some forward thinking to do this and preparation of your home for a puppy or cat, so here’s some advice that’s perfect for first-time dog owners and first-time cat owners.

Preparing your home for a puppy or kitten

Just as you would prepare your home for a new baby, you should do the same for a new pet.

Before bringing a puppy home, choose a room for your puppy where they can be kept for the first few weeks to adjust to their new surroundings and feel safe and comfortable. However, if your new pet is a kitten, avoid a room with full-length curtains, as your kitten could run up them and perch at the top.

It’s also very important to be aware of potential hazards around the home as puppies and kittens can get into very small spaces! Some tips to avoid potential hazards include:

It’s also important to remember that certain plants can be harmful to our furry friends, so avoid lilies, poinsettias, azaleas, amaryllis and ivy, which can all be poisonous for animals. If you’re unsure, double-check with your vet.

Bringing home your puppy or kitten

Although you’ll want to introduce your new pet to your friends and family, when you bring your puppy home, don’t be tempted to invite everyone round straight away. Your puppy may be a little anxious; remember they’re in a completely new environment.

The initial 24 hours should be a calm period of adjustment, so any children in the household should understand that your new pet should be left alone for a while.

Wait a few days so that they have time to settle in, and then allow family members to visit individually rather than all at once.

It’s important to let your puppy explore the house so they become familiar with their new environment, but make sure you keep a watchful eye on them – just like babysitting! And if they hide, don’t coax them out; spend time in the room reading a book or watching television, for example, to get your new family member used to your presence.

Your new puppy checklist and top cat tips

Food and water bowls: For cats and kittens, position these away from the litter tray. For dogs and puppies, heavy ones are best so that they can’t be knocked over.

Pet food: Try to feed your pet the best-quality food that you can – but when introducing new foods, do so gradually. Ask your breeder or vet for advice on food.

Cat litter and litter tray: Use unscented litter and place the litter tray away from food bowls.

Carrier/basket: Ideal for taking your new dog home and for visits to the vet. Put a washable liner inside.

Scratching post: For cats and kittens – this could save your sofa and carpet!

Toys: Get toys that you and your puppy can play with together.

Chew items: These are essential for puppies to help with teething, and in general for dogs to prevent them chewing your shoes.

Grooming equipment: This includes a brush and comb, especially important for longhaired breeds. If you’re a first-time dog owner, check out these grooming tips for dogs and puppies.

Collar and lead: For dogs and puppies, accustom them to wearing a collar or harness and lead in the home and garden – it should help make those first walks much easier.

Thermal bedding, heat pads and blankets: This is for your puppy’s comfort – especially on the first few nights in their new home.

Pet insurance: Last but not least, if you’re buying a dog, or buying a cat, or even rehoming, you may need insurance to cover unexpected illnesses and injuries. Petplan offers policies to suit you and your pet, including Covered For Life to look after them well into the future. Good luck to you and your puppy or kitten!

What happened when you brought your puppy or kitten home for the first time? Share your experience with #PethoodStories