Organizing Pets

Organizing for Pets

From cats to dogs to snakes, pets add a layer of joy and vitality to our lives. But make no mistake: they add complexity as well.  If you’ve made the choice to bring a pet (or two or three) into your space, here are a few tips that might make it easier to have them around.

Be thoughtful about where to keep the cage/crate/bed/etc. Make sure to select a space that is safe for the pet (e.g. not near an active fireplace) and where the pet’s normal activities won’t damage your home (e.g. no litter box on the new soft pine floor.)

If you take your pet outdoors, hang the leash on a hook near the door so you won’t drag moisture or dirt into the house.

Decide who will feed the pet when. If multiple people share the job, consider assigning each person a day of the week to avoid confusion.

If you buy in bulk, consider a plastic container with an airtight lid that can be kept in a handy location (e.g. the kitchen), and then store the remainder in a garage or storage space. If you have multiple pets or a large pet, you may like a container with wheels for easy access.

Consider placing a mat under a feeding bowl to protect the floor or carpet. A rubberized mat can also help to keep bowls from sliding while a pet eats. Want to get fancy? Try a retracting pet bowl that slides under the kick of a kitchen cabinet.

Hide a Pet Feeding Bowl

Keep treats in one location. A decorative jar can be a clever solution, but a simple section of a drawer or shelf will also work well.

If you bathe inside, keep supplies on a shelf or in a cabinet near the sink or tub.

If you prefer the back yard, consider getting a shower caddy so supplies can be easily carried in and out.

Set an attractive basket/bin on the floor. Popular places are behind a sofa or tucked near a chair in a family room.

Set up a file for each pet to hold:

  • Vaccination record
  • Insurance paperwork, if applicable
  • Veterinarian name & contact information
  • Copy of license, if applicable
  • Record of medical procedures

If your pet takes medications (such as flea & tick treatments, heartworm prevention pills, skin meds, etc.), be sure to keep them separate from human medications. Add in a pen/notepad wherever you store medications so you can easily track when medications have been given (monthly medications often provide a space on the box to keep track…)

Be sure to be clear about who clears waste when for pets who live indoors. (Set a schedule as for feeding)

Keep supplies for refreshing pet areas handy (e.g. newspaper, cat litter, scrapers…)

Always clear waste to an outdoor/garage location (preferably with a lid!)

If you walk a dog, keep a stash of plastic “pick up” bags near the door. 

Keep an extra leash & collar in the car (they can break…)

Consider a safety harness or a pet carrier/crate. Pets being held on a lap or sitting freely become projectiles objects in an accident.

Travel with a plastic container that can be used for food and water while on the road. Remember to pack pet snacks when on road trips, as some pets may not react well to eating scraps from an “on the road” diet.

Always carry vet numbers, vaccination records and proof of rabies shots. And be sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags. [If you choose to leave your pet with a boarder, friend or relative, be sure to leave them with this information as well.]

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Pets – and a system to care for them – can bring unique joy to our lives. What tips have you found most helpful in caring for your pets?

17 thoughts on “Organizing Pets”

  1. Truly great tips and as you know we just got our puppy over 2 months ago and proud to say we have done quite a bit of this already, but you are right organizing with pets does truly make a world of difference.

    1. When a new puppy comes on the scene is the PERFECT time to make a few of these key decisions. I’m not surprised that you’ve got things well in hand, Janine:) So fun to have a new puppy for the summer!!

  2. Great list Seana, we have a cat and dog, and we really got on schedule last year when I set up a “chore chart” for the entire family. It is amazing how things are forgotten if they are not recorded.

    1. I love the “chore chart” idea, Jill. It’s funny how something small – like feeding the cat – can turn into a big family issue! Nobody remembers who did the feeding when:) I always say that many of life frustrations stem from life’s tiniest details, so there really is no area of life that is too insignificant to improve!

    1. We love having a dog… but it is a lot of work for sure:) I bought ours on a whim, which I don’t really recommend. BUT, I did it because we had moved to a new street where there were tons of dogs and my little girl was afraid. I thought if we had a puppy it might help her, and it did!

  3. It’s like my husband read this! He’s been talking about having a chart so we know if the animals have been fed/litterbox changed that day. We all have weird schedules and sometimes don’t know.
    We do put a mat under the dog bowls! That helps a lot, actually.

    1. You’d be surprised how many talk to me about the pet feeding confusion – it’s a very common problem! At the end of the day a system always helps (that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!) I agree on the mat.. its the little things that make the biggest difference.

  4. These are great tips Seana! To be honest, I’m glad I don’t have to do this because we don’t own pets. 🙂 I’d be stunned by the number of things I have to remember on top of my kid’s and husband’s stuff! Ahaha. But my mother in law’s cat loves to hang out in our house.

    1. Pets add a layer of complexity for sure, Rea. No need to rush into extra commitments when you already have such a full life. Great fun, though, that you get to enjoy a bit of your in-law’s cats. All the fun without the work:)

  5. Hi Seana,
    Pets are like people, aren’t they? Just like children, you really need to organize their day to day needs.
    I have found your tip about the airtight food container to be very useful.
    We have a small dog that doesn’t eat much, so her food lasts a long time.
    I keep the container right next to her food dish in the corner of the kitchen. Now, I can ask anyone to feed her and no one complains because the food is right there.
    Nice list of tips!

    1. What a nice comment, Neena. Thank you so much! I have a small pet as well, so the airtight container saves me $$. Always easier to get family members to cooperate if it is easy, right?

    1. Feeding the pets is a wonderful kid job… And with all your animals, everyone can have a chance, right Michelle? It has been an eye opener to see how many people lose track of whether the pet has been fed, so maybe a chart is the perfect solution:)

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