Are you and your family considering getting a dog soon? Here are some key changes you’ll want to make in your home first.

Dog on the carpet

Put up a fence.

Putting up a fence is often the first home upgrade homeowners want to make after getting a dog. This is because a fence allows you to play with your dog in your backyard without worry of the dog running away, and you can let your dog out to go to the bathroom without having to accompany it on a leash every time. So if you are thinking about getting a dog, consider putting up a fence beforehand to enjoy these conveniences of having a fence from the get-go. Plus, as an added bonus, you and your family will enjoy more privacy in your home, as this article details.

One note about installing a fence—some fences are better than others when it comes to containing a dog. This article has some useful tips on which types of fences are best for homes with dogs.

Assess your flooring.

You don’t necessarily need to take out and replace all of your flooring before getting a dog, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind which types of flooring are best for dogs—especially if you happen to be considering getting new flooring soon. With hardwood flooring, harder woods are best because they will stand up better to scratching. (You can protect hardwood floors with accent rugs if you prefer.) Tile is an especially great choice because it is especially scratch-proof, though most homeowners don’t choose to install tile throughout the entire home. Carpet is typically not your best option, as it can harbor dog hair, bacteria, and a musty dog smell.

Remove toxic plants from your home and yard.

Did you know that some plants are actually toxic to dogs? Many plants, when ingested by dogs, can cause severe nausea or indigestion, or even death. Be sure to check your home for toxic plants, including autumn crocus, azalea, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, dieffenbachia, daffodils, lily of the valley, sago palm, and tulips. The easiest way to do this is to assess which plants you have in and around your home and to verify that each one is not toxic to dogs. Then, remove anything that could potentially harm your dog.

Dog relaxing on the carpet

Remove any ‘pet-level’ hazards.

In addition to plants, you should assess what is in and around your home at pet level. Is there anything that could be dangerous when chewed, such as electrical cords, curtain cords, bottles of chemicals, or small (non-dog) toys? Move any potential hazards and secure cords as necessary.

Eliminate access to the trash.

On a similar note, you’ll want to be sure that your dog will not be able to access the trash. Dogs often dig through trash for bones and other harmful things to chew on, so you’ll want to be sure that your trash is well protected to eliminate access.

Remove any ‘ladders’.

You’ll have to do some thinking through the eyes of your dog here. Are there any ‘ladders’ in your home that could help your dog access higher areas like countertops and tabletops? Be sure to make it difficult for your dog to access these higher areas, where the dog could find human food, medications, and potential choking hazards.

Designate a spot for a crate.

You should never get a dog with the intention of keeping it in a crate for the majority of its life, but a crate can be incredibly useful for crate training your dog. Crate training can help teach your dog how to maintain bladder and bowel control, limit teething, and give your dog a comfortable place to rest. So, before your dog comes home, designate a space where your dog’s crate can reside.

Dog Food

Designate a spot for food.

The same applies to food—you’ll want to designate a regular spot for food before your dog comes home so that it can quickly learn where it gets fed. The best spot for food is typically uncarpeted (easy to clean), equipped with a waterproof mat (to protect wooden floors), and away from anything that could be damaged by water (including electrical cords and wires). It’s helpful to have free cabinet space nearby where you can store dog food. Be sure your designated space for storing food will keep it free from contamination and slow the vitamin and nutrient degradation process.

Set up a space to store accessories.
Finally, there are other dog accessories you’ll need to worry about—medications, a brush, grooming products, a collar, a leash, toys, treats, etc. Where will you store these things? If you don’t already, clear some space in a cabinet for things like medications and grooming products that will need to be stored, and consider getting a soft basket for keeping dog toys where your dog can access them. If you’ll be using your leash often (and chances are you will be), it’s a good idea to designate a hook for hanging the leash on as well.