While excitement and anticipation may be at the top of the list when bringing home a new puppy, preparing for him should rate highly on the list. Just as you would need to prepare a home when you have a baby, pet owners also need to take special precautions when “puppy-proofing.”

Before you start preparing your home for a puppy, you should take into consideration the yard and garden. First, check fences and gates to be sure there are no holes large enough for him to get his head stuck in. Watch for litter and/or trash cans, which can be tipped over, giving your new puppy the chance to eat things that he shouldn’t. And finally, know where you are treating your lawn and garden with pesticides, and then forbid your puppy from going there. In addition, make sure that all chemicals and other harmful products are put away out of your new friend’s reach.

Next, you will need to investigate your home and pretend that a small toddler is coming to live with you! Like toddlers, puppies will find everything new and exciting. They don’t know when something is dangerous or can’t tell if that “interesting” remote control will get them into trouble.

In addition, when preparing your home for the new puppy, you should keep these tips in mind:

• Be sure all electrical and cable wires are either in a space your puppy will not be or hide them under rugs or carpets. Do not keep wires where your puppy could chew and gnaw on them.
• Just like a toddler, your puppy will explore every element, including low cupboards. Just when you thought having a puppy was easier than a child, he will learn to nudge those cupboard doors open! Consider installing locks or sort through them and only keep safe objects in low areas.

So far, so good, right? Well, that’s only if you remember that in reality your puppy has the mind of a small child. Soon you’ll be getting ready for afternoon walks to the park, 3 a.m. trips to the bathroom, (more officially, outside) and lots of cuddling. So, while preparing your home for your puppy, think of him as a member of your family. Buy him a bed made from plastic, which is more resistant to chewing. Line it with comfortable bedding—washable of course—and then place it in a special place just for him. Make sure it is somewhere he will be safe and comfortable.

Preparing your home for your new puppy is a lot of work, so you may consider buying a puppy pen until everything is taken care of. Just like a baby’s playpen, a puppy pen will offer an area for him to play without roaming the house. By doing this, you are also saving your furniture and other objects from being chewed on. (Don’t worry—he’ll eventually grow out of this!)

Another important thing to think about when preparing your home for your puppy is any stairs that you may have in the house. If you have an open basement or second floor, use baby gates to confine his run area to prevent harm. Babies and puppies alike are not aware of danger and don’t realize that they could fall down steps and hurt themselves.

The most important thing to think about while preparing your home for the new puppy is just like a child, they will need cuddling, attention and there will definitely be a lot of wet kisses!