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New Home? Make These Updates to Keep Your Pet Safe, Healthy, and Happy

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Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. It represents a special place in the world to call your own; somewhere safe and stable to put down some roots in the community. Unlike a rental situation, it also means that you’re free to make changes in a way that reflects your family’s needs.   

New Home

Let’s not forget, though, that your pets are just as much a part of your family as any human. When most pet owners set out to buy a home, their furry, scaly, or feathered companions might play a small role in decision making; if an apartment’s size is suitable for the breed of dog, or whether there’s a busy road nearby. However, new homes are very much a work in progress. This means you also have the opportunity to plan the types of updates that improve their lives as well as your own.

We’re not exactly talking about converting entire rooms of your house to a luxury doggy spa (though, we’re not strictly against it). But there are elements that you can put in place over time that can keep your pets healthy and happy, just as their presence helps to keep you sane! Let’s take a look at some of the alterations that you can take into consideration.

For Safety

Any pet owner knows that, for all the joy our animals bring us, they can occasionally be a slapstick nightmare around the home! As such, it can be wise to plan home upgrades that both consider animal safety, and that are explicitly directed toward improving it.

Some areas to consider include:

  • Concealing Trash Receptacles

We humans produce a lot of waste items, many of which are hazardous to our pets. Plastics, razorblades, old medicines are just a few of the potentially harmful products that many of us casually throw out. Unfortunately, some of our pets love to rummage through trash, too — meaning disaster can easily strike. Consider an upgrade that sees you attach trash receptacles to the inside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, or even build in trash shoots to countertops. 

  • Reducing Falling Hazards

Particularly when it comes to larger pets, there is the chance for rambunctious play (we’ve all seen a manic case of the zoomies) to result in furniture being knocked over, and items falling from them. Unfortunately falling furniture also has the potential to injure our pets. When it comes to cabinets, lockers, and entertainment centers, anchoring them can be a smart solution. This involves making sure the surfaces are level and bolting the base or rear of the item securely to a solid part of the home, such as a wall or floor. As this is designed to be a semi-permanent action, it can be most suitable for those large items that you don’t plan on repositioning any time soon.    


For Health

Studies have shown that the animals we bring into our families can have positive effects on our physical and mental health. It’s only right and fair that we do everything we take responsibility to ensure their continued good health. Therefore when purchasing a new home, it’s vital to understand what changes and upgrades can be made to ensure they are not being unnecessarily exposed to the risk of illnesses.  

Older homes might have interesting period features, or may even be lower priced, but they can also present inherent dangers. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, many homes and apartment buildings were constructed and decorated using materials that included asbestos as part of their composition. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause respiratory problems and even lead to mesothelioma. Your pets are likely to spend more time at home than you, and therefore have more opportunities for exposure to these harmful materials. Asbestos is difficult to remove safely, therefore it’s not advisable to go the DIY route here. Also, ensure that your pets have a safe place to stay while professional removal is being undertaken.  

Issues in the infrastructure of your home may not be immediately obvious, but they can still present the potential for health complications to your pets. Rodents and other pests can be a particular issue, as they can make their home in your plumbing system, and contaminate drinking water. Not to mention that pest feces and other waste in your walls can cause health problems if your dog has respiratory issues. Keep vigilant about unusual sounds. Scratching, knocking, and gnawing noises might indicate their presence. Not only should you be proactive about removing them, but also upgrade your home to seal off potential entrance points.  

New Home

For Happiness

By making arrangements to repair and upgrade parts of your new home with your pet in mind, you’re also contributing to their happiness — after all, your dog is more likely to be happy if they remain healthy. However, just as you’re likely to make adjustments to enhance your lifestyle, you can do the same for your pets. 

Some additions could include:

  • Doors

You can come and go about your home as you please, and in certain circumstances, it can be appropriate to provide your dog with the same freedoms. Obviously, if you live in an apartment it’s probably not a great idea to allow your dog to run around the communal areas and stairwells. However, for houses in safe neighborhoods, installing dog doors is sensible. For security, it may be wise to install the variety that can only be opened with a microchip on your pet’s collar.

  • Beds

Sometimes a few cushions on the floor just isn’t enough. Consider making a permanent fixture that acts as a comfortable area for your pet. Attach a nook bench or cabinet to the wall in an area they feel safe — perhaps by a favorite window — and enhance it with a special bed.

  • Underfloor Heating

We all like to feel cozy at home, particularly during the winter months. Your pets — particularly dogs and cats — are likely to spend a lot of their time laying on the ground, which can get particularly chilly. Installing underfloor heating can ensure that you can keep their favorite room toasty underfoot — or underbelly — during colder periods.


Our pets are our family; they bring us so much joy that we all want to do everything we can for them. This should include making our homes theirs as much as our own. When buying a new property, plan upgrades that minimize harmful obstacles, remove toxic elements, and enhance their daily comfort. 

Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest. You can follow her on twitter @HamiltonJori and see more of her work at writerjorihamilton.contently.com.

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