Preparing for a new pet is a lot like preparing for a toddler. Whether it's ensuring your garbage cans have tight lids or paying attention to which decorations are potentially dangerous, take a whole-house approach to ensuring your home is safe before bringing home your new friend. That includes keeping toxic foods, pet-unfriendly plants and dangerous household items out of paw's reach.

Here are some suggestions for preparing your home to welcome your new furry companion:

Start by getting down on your hands and knees so you can view each room from your pet’s eye level. Of course, most animals can find a way to get into higher places, but surveying their world from ground level might alert you to unseen hazards like candy wrappers, coins, dropped pills and game pieces.
Many common household products contain chemicals and other toxic substances. As you would for children, lock these materials away from your pets:
  • Pesticides
  • Antifreeze
  • Rat, mouse and insect poisons
  • Mothballs
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Medications (both prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Cosmetics
  • Potpourri oils
  • Batteries
  • Paints, glues and varnishes
Even certain household plants can be hazardous if ingested. Some of the more common ones to avoid:
  • Aloe Vera
  • Boston ivy
  • Poinsettia
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Peace or Easter lily
  • English and German ivy
  • India rubber plant
  • Mistletoe
  • Philodendron
  • Chrysanthemum
Puppies and kittens love to chew everything in sight, so keep electrical wires, dangling blind cords and all sharp objects out of reach.