It suddenly happened—you’ve fallen in love with a new furry friend. From their cute antics to their expressive personalities, pets make for some of the best life-long companions. But introducing your new bundle of fur—full of curiosity and energy—to a foreign environment is tricky. As a pet parent, you want to create a comfortable, relaxing, and safe place for them to grow. But where do you start? Follow these five simple steps to making your home safe for your new pet.

Puppy on a bed

1. Invest in child locks

Your pet will want to explore and get familiar with their new surroundings, but curiosity can get the best of them. You’ll find their little paws in everything from your medicine cabinet to your precious fine china collection. That’s where child locks come in. Placing child locks on your cabinet doors will keep harmful cleaning products, prescriptions, breakables and other dangerous items out of your pet’s reach—giving them the ability to safely settle in and get comfortable in their new space.

2. Use special garbage cans

Food is a great motivator—especially for pets. Sometimes it seems like they’ll do just about anything to get their paws on a treat. And although pets don’t see the harm in sneaking into the garbage for another bite of food, sometimes it’s detrimental to their health. Your pet can easily get sick from eating old or poisonous foods. To avoid the potential scenario of garbage all over the kitchen floor, while your pet apologetically stares at you—face full of food—use special garbage cans designed to keep pets out.

3. Conceal and cover cords

To your pet—everything’s a toy. And chewing on cords is a favorite activity, especially if they’re young and teething. Beyond the frustration of constantly having to buy a new phone charger, if a cord is plugged into the wall, it can be dangerous to your pet—causing burns, electrical shock, and even death. Keeping cords off the ground and out of your pet’s reach is a good start, but if the problem persists enclose cords in PVC pipe, buy cord protectors, or purchase pet deterrent spray to help them kick the bad habit.

4. Put small items away

Pets will put just about anything in their mouth, which often leads to serious issues from choking to surgery. Everyday items like batteries, hair ties, pins, and earplugs can turn from harmless fun to a trip to the emergency room in no time. To prevent this from happening, do surveillance of everything in your home—going from room to room—and collect small items that easily fit in your pet’s mouth. Putting those items in their proper place could save your pet’s life and will help put your mind at ease.

5. Remove poisonous plants

Plants are great for ambiance—if you’re a person, and for eating—if you’re a pet. It’s no secret that pets are drawn to plants—they love to dig up the soil and bite off the leaves. But as tragic as this is for your plants, it can be deadly for your pets. Certain plants cause vomiting, tremors, kidney failure and much worse. Do some research before bringing home your new pet to see if the plants in your house could be a potential threat to their health. To start, check out the ASPCA’s website, they have a list of common plants that are harmful to pets.

Bringing home a new pet is an exciting time, but it takes anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months for your new pet to feel comfortable, so be patient. To help ease the transition, have a dedicated space ready for your pet full of toys, food, cozy blankets and a bed. You might also want to consider purchasing a pet collar with GPS capabilities to easily locate your pet if they get lost in their new environment. And of course, remember to take things one step at a time as you welcome your new pet home.

Written by Olga Papadimitriou, pet and home safety expert at

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