Last week, Dr. McMahon addressed 4 issues to consider BEFORE bringing a new pet into your home. Now that you have decided that the time is right for a new pet, and you have selected the right type of pet for your family, Dr. Robin Westwood, associate veterinarian at CFVC, will address the next step. What do you need to do now?
Be PET PREPARED and PET PROOF your home!!
-Remember pets are just like children and are apt to get into things that they shouldn’t. They also need to be trained as to what is acceptable behavior and what is not. It would be a very unlikely occurrence that you bring home your pet and on day one they are perfectly behaved. Oh, how nice that would be!
-Plan on spending extra time in the initial weeks/months with your pet to be able to teach them your rules. Dogs, of course, will take more time and effort with puppies being very time-consuming (just like a human baby) and need extra time until they are 9-12 months of age.
-Put a cozy bed in each room unless you are wanting them to sleep on your furniture. Pets are much more likely to stay off furniture if they have a cozy alternative.
-Until your pet learns all the rules do not give them unsupervised access to the entire house. Use dog crates and/or baby gates to confine your new dog when you are not home. A bathroom works well for a cat. Being consistent is the key to successful training. For example, if you do not want your pet on the furniture you scold them when they do it. What happens when you leave? They get on the couch and bed and there is no negative response so they think it is okay. Eventually what will happen is they actually learn not to get on the furniture when you are present but it is okay when you are not. This is the same for cats and counters. If you do not want them on the counters ever, confine them when you are not home until they do not even attempt that behavior when you are home
-Provide your dog plenty of “legal” things to chew on and play with and your cat plenty of “legal” things to scratch on
-Be sure to give your dog at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Some breeds may require more. A tired dog will be less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
-Keep all medications off the counters and tables. A prescription bottle will not deter a determined dog! Also remember: HUMAN MEDICINE IS FOR HUMANS AND NOT PETS!! Do not ever give a pet a human drug unless it is okayed by your veterinarian. A single dose of children’s Tylenol will kill your cat.
-Keep all food away from counter edges unless you want to give your dog a snack. It is best not give your pet people food. Stick to pet food and treats.
-Keep all electrical cords in a cord keeper to prevent accidental chewing of the cords and electrocution.
-Avoid ornate tassels and long cords on window treatments as they can be strangulation hazards
– Machine washable rugs are easier to keep clean than wall to wall carpet. Use caution with expensive oriental rugs until your pets are properly trained. Stock up on enzymatic carpet cleaners for accidents.
-Make sure hardwood floors and grout on tile floors are properly sealed to prevent them from absorbing urine odors and stains.
– Use spill-proof water bowls and put large absorbent placemats under food and water bowls to make for easier cleanup
-Make sure your fence is dog proof and that all gates close correctly to prevent your dog from escaping.
-If you have a cat and dog consider adding a porthole to a bathroom cabinet and putting the litter box in the cabinet. This will help keep dogs out of the litter box and keep the smell down. A wood trunk works well also and looks great! Remember to seal the wood with polyurethane to prevent odor from getting trapped in the wood.
Remember with proper planning you will have a safe, fun and loving relationship with your furry friend! Dr. Robin Westwood has been practicing veterinary medicine for 15 years and has helped many new pet owners adjust to their new pet’s needs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 972-636-9562.