Organizing Your Home For a Pet Dog

Jon Fesmire |

Getting a new dog is exciting, whether you live alone and are ready to adopt a companion, or whether your pooch will be a new addition to your family.

It’s a lot of work owning a dog, though, of course, we think it’s worthwhile. Dogs love unconditionally and can bring a lot of joy to the lives of their humans.

Here are the steps we recommend when getting a dog, whether a puppy or an older one, including how to prepare your home for your new friend.

Pick the Right Dog for You

This is a big topic on its own, which is why we’ve already covered it. Basically, your dog should match your personality. Do you want a big dog or a small one? One with a lot of energy, or one that’s mellow? Check out our article, Picking the Right Dog for Your Personality for tips.

Make Room for a Dog

Once you know the general type of dog you’re looking for, or you even have a dog picked out, start getting your home ready by making room for your new family member. Just like everyone in your family needs their own space, so does your dog.

Get a big bin or basket for their toys, then get six to a dozen toys to put in there for when they arrive. Set aside a cabinet in the kitchen for food and medications, and make room in the kitchen or dining room for their food and water dishes. We recommend getting a mat to put under those to catch crumbs and spilled water. Wash the mat regularly.

The Dog Bed

Your dog’s bed deserves special attention. Dogs like cozy spaces, so consider not only getting a comfortable bed the right size for your dog, but also getting a dog house that will go in your home. Keep it where you spend a lot of time, such as your office or the living room. That way, your canine companion can relax in their own space and still be near you.

Locks, Crates, and Baby Gates

For the first night or two after you get a new dog, it’s a good idea to put their bed in a crate and have them stay there when you’re not taking them out for a walk and exercise. This can help it learn that there are boundaries, and it works best with a puppy. Then, put the bed in its proper space and put the crate away.

Child-proof your cabinets. You can think of the devices to do this as baby locks. They’re easy enough for adults to open but tough for small children and especially for dogs. This can help prevent a clever canine from pulling cabinets open and getting into things. Baby gates also work well. You may put one at the top and one at the bottom of a staircase and one at the entrance to the kitchen.

Keep Stuff Neat and Out of Reach

You don’t want your dog chewing on electrical cords, phones, books, and so on. So, bind your computer cords and secure them to walls. Keep personal items out of reach, preferably high on shelves or in child-locked cabinets.

Secure Food

Yes, you’ll need to secure not only the cabinet where you keep your dog’s food but the pantry, too. Certain items should never, ever be easy for dogs to access. Raisins, grapes, onions, and chocolate are poisonous to dogs and can easily kill them. Never keep these where dogs can get into them.

In fact, put the dog food in airtight plastic bins rather than keeping it in the bag it comes in. This will keep it fresh for longer. Your dog won’t be able to get into it and will be less likely to smell it.

Toys

If you’re busy, it can be tough keeping up with the toys your dog wants to play with. So, put them in an open bin or basket, allowing them to get what they want out when they want it. Yes, you’ll have to put the toys away later, but this gives your dog some freedom and you a little extra space.

For Walks

Make going for walks easy by keeping your jacket, dog leashes, and poop bags in the mudroom or on a rack by the front door high enough that your dog won’t play with them.

Secure Your Yard

We’ve all heard stories about dogs digging under the fence because they’re curious and want to see what’s on the other side. So, secure your hard. Make sure the fence posts go deep into the ground. Roll up the garden hose and put the sprinklers away. Most of all, don’t leave your dog in the yard when you’re not home.

Keep Files for Your Pooch

Your dog’s medical, adoption, and other papers are important to keep track of, so keep them in a file folder and in a safe place. We also recommend scanning them and uploading them to your favorite cloud server.

Dog First Aid Kit

Just as you should have a first aid kit for your family, you should have one for your dog. Include hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, antibacterial soap, gauze, self-adhesive medical tape, nail clippers, Benadryl for allergic reactions, cotton balls, a rectal thermometer, cotton balls, an ice pack, bottled water, a washcloth, towel, and a blanket. The best place to store it is in your car, where you can retrieve it whether out or at home. Of course, it can’t hurt to have two, one in the house and one in your car’s trunk.

Finally, remember to take your dog on plenty of walks so they get the exercise they need. This is also a great way to bond with your pet. And, if you need help making room for your dog, consider renting a self storage as a place to keep belongings you need, but don’t need all the time. Storage is great for business inventory, sports equipment, off-season clothes, and more, and putting some of these away will allow you to make more room at home for your pup. If you need help finding a facility, check our listings, which span the U.S. and Canada.