How to Get Your Home Ready for a New Dog, According to This Celebrity-Favorite Animal Shelter
The idea of giving a dog in need a loving home while you gain a lifelong companion seems like a win-win situation. While that may happen later down the road, many dog owners will probably say that the bringing-home part is less like “My Dog Skip” and more of a “Marley & Me” situation. Getting your space dog-ready can help to alleviate some stress—for you, the dog, and whoever is in your household—and start your life together off on the right, er, paw.
We talked to the dog experts over at Wagmor Pet Hotel and Spa, a nonprofit dog rescue where many celebrities have adopted their pups—from Chrissy Teigen and John Legend to Jennifer Aniston and Kris Jenner. From purchasing the right supplies to protecting your furniture and getting your housemates ready for a new family member, there are plenty of things you can do in advance of your dog’s arrival for a smooth transition (and hopefully less frantic trips to the pet store on your first day).
Set up a cozy dog den
Crates tend to have a negative stigma, but Wagmor says they can actually serve as an important tool to helping your dog to quickly feel comfortable in a new home. When introduced into a new environment, the crate allows for a dog to be able to have a space that’s all their own. Put lots of cozy blankets and a few toys in there to make it more like a cozy den, and have it all set up for your dog’s arrival. Leave the door open and let them explore like it’s their very own bedroom.
In addition to creating a safe space for your dog, the crate can also be beneficial to housebreaking puppies, as well as preventing damage to your home—as long as you follow ethical crate guidelines of course.
Get pee pads just in case
Whether you’re adopting a puppy or an adult dog, they’re adapting to a new environment and accidents are almost unpreventable. It’s good to purchase a few packs of pee pads to initially lay out in your home where they can relieve themselves while making you feel less stressed about clean-up. If you’re bringing home a newborn and know that it’s going to be a while before pee pads won’t be in the picture, Wagmor suggests investing in washable pee pads—for the sake of your wallet and the environment.
If they totally miss the pee pad—because these things tend to be truly unpredictable—have an odor and stain remover nearby.
Cover your nice furniture with blankets and sheets
Speaking of furniture, before your dog walks through the door, cover all fabric furniture in paws’ reach with blankets and sheets. This could prevent rips and tears from your dog’s nails and teeth as well as protect it from mud and other stains that are dragged in from the outdoors. You can use old sheets and blankets you have lying around, or buy a few sets of cheap ones at a retailer near you—you never know if and when you’re going to need the backups.
Prepare others in your house
You need to make sure everyone who you live with is ready and prepared for the dog’s arrival. Before even making the decision to adopt, you should know that your existing pets are friendly with dogs and not aggressive, and your kids aren’t afraid of dogs. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be bringing a new dog home.
Prior to the first meeting, do your research and make sure the pets are introduced slowly to one another. It’s important to make your resident pets feel confident that they still have their space. Wagmor suggests keeping the new dog in one part of the house, and the other pets in another, until they’re comfortable with each other.
If you have young kids, make sure to communicate with them things they can and can’t do with the dog. They won’t know that they can’t pull on the dogs fur or tail, or jump all over them, or pet them when eating their food or treats. If you’re bringing home a puppy, there will be biting because they’re teething, so prepare everyone for that as well.
If you’re getting a puppy, disinfect your entire home
If you’re bringing a puppy home that hasn’t gotten its shots or been spayed/neutered, it’s at serious risk of canine distemper, a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease. It’s extremely important to disinfect your entire home—including doing all your laundry—before the puppy enters, and be overly cautious of tracking any outside germs into your home. Wagmor suggests using Skout’s Honor products.
Set up the dog bowls
Make sure you already have a water and food bowl set that your dog can start using the moment they arrive. In addition to the two bowls, it’s also a good idea to get a bowl mat to help the set stay grounded on the floor and catch any dribbles. Have your water filled up when your dog comes in and get them on a consistent eating schedule.
Give your neighbors a heads up
If you live in close quarters to your neighbors (read: an apartment), give your neighbors a heads up that you’re bringing a new dog home. Since adopted dogs can sometimes come from difficult situations, you don’t know how vocal they’re going to be in your space. It’s the neighborly thing to warn others who live around you. To go the extra step, give neighbors your phone number so they can let you know if your dog’s volume is being disruptive. More than anything, they’ll appreciate and respect the gesture.
If you know you won’t always be home, get a Furbo
It’s important to be around for a while before leaving your dog alone, but if you know your future schedule will have you out for extended periods of time, Wagmor says it’s a good idea to invest in a Furbo. It’ll notify you on your phone if there’s motion and your dog is getting into something, and the microphone allows you to tell your dog to stop from afar. Additional features include a treat dispenser, all-day recording, and alerts if your dog barks or an alarm goes off.