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Before you bring your new friend home, it’s best to be prepared to prevent unnecessary confusion and stress.

Establish the rules. Decide who’s responsible for what: grooming, feeding, exercising, cleaning, play-time, and so on. Also establish whether or not there will be areas that are “off-limits” for your new pet. For example, you may not want your pet to sleep on the bed.

Have all the necessary supplies ready. Examples are food, food and water bowls, leash or harness, collar and identification, brush, and so on.

Pet-proof your home. Some things you may want to consider include:

  • Lock away household chemicals, such as cleansers, insecticide, antifreeze, and others. Animals are especially attracted to antifreeze; be sure to clean up spills immediately and keep the rest out of reach as even a small amount can be fatal.
  • Place houseplants out of reach. Many houseplants are poisonous.
  • Have separate areas for your new pet and any existing pets. Pets need to be introduced to one another slowly; be sure you have an extra room or a kennel so that your pets can be separated until they have grown accustomed to each other.
  • Tie electrical cords out of the way, if you can. Dogs and cats can chew on electrical cords – or even catch them while walking (or running!) around, causing lamps, TVs, radios, etc. to fall.
  • Keep doors closed - this includes the doors to your washer and dryer, your closets, the cupboards … inquisitive little animals can sneak in just about anywhere!
  • Keep household trinkets out of your pet’s reach. Stuff like garbage, medicine, pins, elastics, thread, needles, and so on should be placed out of the way.

Make sure everyone knows how to properly handle your pet. Everyone should know how to safely pick up your pet. Also emphasize certain rules such as your pet should never be disturbed while eating.

Keep other pets away at first. Your new pet may be nervous … help him or her feel more comfortable by keeping your other pets confined until you are ready to slowly introduce them.