Home owners, deciding to introduce a pet to the home, should not take the decision lightly.  Pets can have a big impact on the fabric of the home and ultimately, the value, when you come to sell.
It is easy to focus on the positive side of a new pet, the companionship, the loyalty, the cuddles, but there are a number of practicalities to consider, before bringing that cute puppy Labrador into your one bedroom apartment.
Firstly, you need to think about how much, or how little, you need to adapt and protect your home – as this will determine your choice of pet.  Here are some tips, for the types of the most popular family pets:-

  • Fish.  If you are setting up a fish tank, you will only need a suitable support for it, close to a power point for plugging in the thermostat and lighting.
  • Birds.  If you are buying a budgie, all you will need to decide, is where to place the cage, ideally in a room with a ceramic or hard floor, with room to let it fly around.  Position loose covers on furniture, to protect it from unwelcome droppings.
  • Cats.  Scratching door architraves, soft furnishings and carpets, is the trade mark of any cat worth its salt.  To minimise their damage, position scratching posts around your home and spray them with catnip, or with a pheromone spray to relax him.  Agitated cats may also be calmed, by a plug-in pheromone diffuser. 

If your cat persists in scratching, do not consider trimming its claws as that would leave it defenceless, in an attack from another cat.  Instead, position loose covers for chair arms, plastic covers for door architraves and loose square carpets, to place over favourite scratching areas.
If your cat is allowed out, install a cat flap with a magnetic, or infra-red control flap, which will only allow cats with the corresponding device on their collar, to gain access.

  • Dogs.  It is advisable to take your new dog to obedience classes, early on, as delaying will only make things harder.  An obedient dog will respect your home and make home life easier.  Consider Kennel Club- registered dog training clubs, or a Good Citizen Dog Scheme.

If your dog persists on jumping on furniture, place a large tin foil across the furniture, so that landing is uncomfortable.  Consider a bed basket for your dog, so it has a comfortable place to retire.  A stair gate will train a dog to respect the boundary of the household sleeping quarters. 
Many dogs and cats free roaming around the house, show interest in playing with, chewing or gnawing electrical cables.  This can be fatal, so secure electrical cords, coat them with a bitter substance, or pet deterrent to discourage chewing.  Be extra vigilant at Christmas, as the novel presence of decorative lights on a tree, can spell disaster for pets and the home owner.

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