When adding a pet to your family, it requires a lot more than just bringing the little guy home from the shelter or breeder. With him comes a lot of stuff – not to mention precautions on your part to protect your own stuff from him, and vice versa. Keep reading to find out what you need to buy, get rid of or move out of reach of your new curious cat or canine.
Pet supplies: Before bringing your new pet home, you need to have food (and a bowl to put it in), somewhere for him to sleep, a collar and leash if it’s a dog, and maybe some treats and toys to help ease his transition into his new space. If you got a puppy that will need to be housebroken, a crate is a good idea to help prevent accidents in every corner of your apartment (not to mention a serious dent in your security deposit). Other necessities may include medicine, poop bags, a hair brush, shampoo and toothbrush.
Cleaning supplies: As cute as they are, pets can also be messy, especially a dog who needs to be walked in all types of weather, thereby bringing mud, ice and snow back inside with him. Stock up on carpet and floor cleaner for whatever he tracks in, as well as inevitable accidents and sickness. Another key factor is hair – consider investing in a heavy-duty pet vacuum if your new companion is a big shedder, and stock up on lint rollers for your clothes and furniture.
Pet proofing: Another thing to consider before bringing your pet home is what hazards he could get into. Anything that lives close to the floor – like trash cans, power cords, stuff crammed under the bed – could look like enticing chew toys to your dog or cat. Get as much off the floor as you can, especially potentially hazardous items like pills, cleaning supplies and electric cords. When you’re not home, be sure to close off any rooms you don’t want him in unsupervised. And if he learns how to open cupboards and trash cans, it’s time to get some locks to keep him – and your stuff – safe.
Training: Just as important as making your apartment suitable for your pet is making sure your pet respects your apartment. Sign up for obedience classes right away if you get a dog, and set limits for what’s OK and not OK at home. It may be cute the first time your dog grabs a sock out of the laundry basket, but your roommate won’t be happy if she comes home to a half-eaten shirt. Make your house rules – whether the pet is allowed on furniture, if he can eat table scraps, etc. – and stick to them to maintain a happy household.
Learn more about living with pets in your apartment.