Preparing for a new pet is a lot like preparing for a toddler. Whether it's ensuring your garbage cans have tight lids or paying attention to which decorations are potentially dangerous, take a whole-house approach to ensuring your home is safe before bringing home your new friend. That includes keeping toxic foods, pet-unfriendly plants and dangerous household items out of paw's reach.

Here are some suggestions for preparing your home to welcome your new furry companion:

1
Start by getting down on your hands and knees so you can view each room from your pet’s eye level. Of course, most animals can find a way to get into higher places, but surveying their world from ground level might alert you to unseen hazards like candy wrappers, coins, dropped pills and game pieces.
2
Many common household products contain chemicals and other toxic substances. As you would for children, lock these materials away from your pets:
  • Pesticides
  • Antifreeze
  • Rat, mouse and insect poisons
  • Mothballs
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Medications (both prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Cosmetics
  • Potpourri oils
  • Batteries
  • Paints, glues and varnishes
3
Even certain household plants can be hazardous if ingested. Some of the more common ones to avoid:
  • Aloe Vera
  • Boston ivy
  • Poinsettia
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Peace or Easter lily
  • English and German ivy
  • India rubber plant
  • Mistletoe
  • Philodendron
  • Chrysanthemum
4
Puppies and kittens love to chew everything in sight, so keep electrical wires, dangling blind cords and all sharp objects out of reach.