According to the ASPCA, an estimated 6.5 million animals enter shelters across the United States every year; approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. They also estimate that 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year, while 3.2 million are adopted per year. Obviously, there is a tremendous need for people to adopt shelter animals or to provide foster homes for animals that need extra love and attention or a reprieve from a shelter than euthanizes animals. If you have decided that you are ready to accept a rescue or foster dog into your home, there are a few steps you should take to make your space animal-friendly.
- Approach Home Preparation as Though You are Baby-Proofing
Just like babies, dogs and cats can be very curious. The difference is, cats and dogs can jump onto surfaces and fit into small spaces, so you want to protect your animal and your belongings by approaching animal-proofing as though you are baby-proofing your entire house. If you are going to contain your rescue or foster dog to a particular area, focus on that vicinity first while keeping in mind that the animal could jump over an indoor fence or break free of a crate and have access to your whole home. That’s why you should look for small objects that pose a danger – such as pins, needles, thread, string, rubber bands, moth balls, cleaning supplies, medication, etc. – throughout your home. Also take care to block or cover electrical cords, television cords, and curtain cords. Get down on your hands and knees to get an animal view of your home and see whether you have missed anything.
Another way to prepare your home is to consider kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms as danger areas. Keep cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, medications, lotions, and other hazards on high shelves or in cabinets with childproof latches. Cover all trash cans and place them inside locked closets or cabinets if possible. Keep toilets, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers closed at all times. Look for small spaces between cabinets and appliances or behind washers and dryers into which your pet could squeeze to hide; if you find some, block them to prevent access.
- Check Your Houseplants
Some people move all of their houseplants to a higher level simply because they don’t want their rescue or foster dog to become tempted by the dirt. Others move them off the floor because they don’t want their dog to lift his leg on them. However, the first thing you should do is check to see whether your houseplants are poisonous to dogs. Unfortunately, more than 700 plants contain toxins that harm cats and dogs that ingest them.
Common houseplants that are toxic to plants include, but are not limited to
- Asparagus fern
- Corn plants
- Dieffenbachia/Dumb cane/Tropic snow/Exotica
- Elephant ear/Caladium/Malanga
- Lilies including Easter lilies, Stargazer lilies, and Peace lilies
- Heartleaf philodendron/Panda plant
- Jade plants/Chinese rubber plants
- Aloe plants
- Satin Pothos/Silk Pothos
It’s worth noting that several outdoor plants also are poisonous to dogs. If you are planning to leave your dog outside in a fenced-in area or on a run, you should move these plants to another part of your yard that your dog cannot access. Among the most poisonous outdoor plants are azalea, amaryllis, carnations, daffodils, hasta, gladiola, ivy, milkweed, morning glory, sago palm, tomato plants, tulips, and yew.
- Prepare Yourself and Your Family
Of course, when you adopt a rescue dog or agree to welcome a foster dog into your home, it is not just the physical space that you need to ready for his arrival. You also need to ready yourself and your family for a new pet, and you will need to help him adjust and settle in by speaking quietly and letting him explore when he first arrives. You will need to be prepared to teach him some house manners and work on behavior issues such as barking, destructive chewing, territory marking, separation anxiety, and leash pulling. Educating yourself about being new dog parents or a new dog family is a great first step to preparing yourself and your family, and you can find more information on becoming an effective, loving pet owner on Rover.com.
You will successfully adopt a rescue dog or house a foster dog by preparing your home for his arrival. Begin by animal-proofing the home as you would child-proof for the arrival of a toddler, removing toxic houseplants and outdoor plants, and preparing yourself and your family for helping the dog make a successful transition into your home and your lives.
Author: Guest Writer Jessica Brody
Imagae via Pixabay by Lepale