8 Important Things to Do Before Adopting Your First Pet

Are you thinking about adopting a pet? Congratulations! Choosing to adopt a dog, cat, or other animal can bring you a lot of joy and wonderful memories for years to come. Bringing home a brand-new family member unprepared, however, can be stressful for you and for anyone else in your family.

Knowing what to expect and properly preparing for your new furry friend before bringing him or her home will greatly help in taking away your stress and will also help your new buddy feel right at home. Follow these 8 tips before you go out and find your new best friend!

Make Sure That You’re Ready – First and foremost, realize that adopting a pet isn’t just about having an adorable animal in your everyday life – it is also a big lifestyle change and demands various responsibilities. Before you start searching for your new pet, ask yourself if you are financially and mentally ready to own a pet. Make sure that you or any of your family members will be home enough to care for your pet, if anyone has any pet allergies, and if owning a pet will fit your budget and lifestyle. If you’re frequently gone from the house or make it a habit of staying out late, a pet might not be right for you right now.

Find a Responsible Breeder if You Want a Purebred – When you begin your search for a purebred pet, make sure that you locate a responsible, knowledgeable breeder. You can visit the American Kennel Club online at www.akc.org to help you find a reputable breeder.

Consider Adopting From a Local Shelter – Purebred pets make wonderful companions, but so do those who are in shelters. When you choose to adopt a pet from a rescue organization or your local shelter, you really are saving a life. Visit the shelters nearest you to find the perfect pet for you and your lifestyle.

Get the Basics – Before you bring your new pet home, it would be a good idea to have a few basic items at home ready for their arrival. Be sure that you have a bed, food and water dishes, food, a leash if you’re adopting a dog, and kitty litter and a litter box if you are adopting a cat. Don’t forget to bring a collar when you find your new buddy, and get an ID tag made as soon as you’re able!

Establish Family-Wide Ground Rules – Set some ground rules for everyone to follow and be sure that everyone agrees and works together to enforce them. This will make your pet much less confused on what he or she is allowed to do. For instance, if you don’t want your pet on the couch, make sure that no one allows him or her on the couch.

Help Your New Friend Adjust – Over the coming days and weeks, your pet will be adjusting to his or her new life with you in your home. You might notice some symptoms of anxiety including increased bowel movements or hiding behind furniture. Remember to be patient and understanding. Introduce him or her to new people slowly and remember to be easy-going if your pet is feeling anxious about new people or places.

Make Plans to Visit the Vet – You will want to see your vet during the first week of your adoption, if not right after you adopt your pet. Remember to bring any and all medical and vaccine records that the shelter or rescue organization provides you. Be sure to ask a lot of questions, and consider getting your pet microchipped.

Pet-Proof Your Home – Pet-proofing is a time-consuming endeavor; however, it is well worth doing so that your pet remains safe. Buy a trashcan that your pet can’t open, and consider putting up baby gates that limit access to certain rooms of the house. Cover up electrical outlets, put safety locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and close your doors whenever you can. Finally, don’t forget to put away anything valuable. Young pets like to chew on several objects, so put away money, clothes, jewelry, shoes, and any other chewable objects.

We hope that this list will help you be more prepared before you adopt your next best friend! Don’t forget to keep your home especially safe by making sure that your home insurance is up-to-date as well. Give your agent at Madison Mutual Insurance Company a call today at 1-800-766-MMIC to make sure that your policy is updated for your needs!

Banish the Dry Winter Air in Your Home With These 7 Tips!

Winter is still very much alive and well in the Midwest, and you probably have been noticing your skin becoming more dried out than usual throughout the winter. Maybe you’ve experienced more static cling and static shock or an increase in your allergies as well. If this sounds about right to you, you could have dry air in your home, a problem that is pretty common amongst homeowners in the wintertime. This issue is caused by low humidity, which isn’t uncommon during the winter months. This dry air can frequently lead to nosebleeds, dry skin, and a greater susceptibility to viruses including the cold and the flu virus.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to fix this problem, nor do you have to wait until the arrival of spring. Try these 7 handy tips on for size and get that humidity back into your home ASAP!

Purchase a Good Humidifier – This is the easiest, most immediate fix to the problem, although it will cost you some money. A humidifier will bring moisture into the rooms that are the driest. Aside from fronting the money, you will also have to keep in mind that they could hike up your energy bill when you run them. Aside from that, a humidifier is a good purchase to make if you want to get rid of dry air fast.

Put Vases In Sunny Places – You don’t even need to buy flowers for this tip to work! Grab a vase, fill it with water, and leave it in front of a sunny window. The sun will begin to evaporate the water through the window. This releases moisture into the air, eradicating dry air.

Cook a Favorite Meal on the Stovetop – Love stir-fries? Enjoy frying chicken or fish? Get cooking (literally)! When you use your stovetop, you will unknowingly increase the amount of moisture in the air. Don’t want to cook? Try making a hot cup of tea to stay warm and put out some moisture at the same time with your kettle!

Enjoy a Shower With the Door Open – Hot showers feel pretty amazing in the winter. Next time you enjoy one, go ahead and leave the door open. The steam will easily add extra moisture into your home. Are you a bath fan? You can still take baths, but try to leave the warm water in the bath to cool first before you drain the tub. This is a good way to get the remaining heat to add a bit of humidity to the air.

Place Bowls of Water on Your Registers – Do you have registers that run through the floor? Grab a large metal or ceramic bowl, fill it with water, and set it on top of your registers. The water inside the bowl will eventually heat up and will push humidity into the air!

Air Dry Your Clothes – We know that the dryer is a convenience, especially in the wintertime, but try to say “no” to the dryer more often. Break out the old rack and dry your wet clothes on it to help bring moisture into the air and save on your electric bills!

Bring Home a Houseplant – Houseplants are amazing. They don’t ask for much, but in return for water and sunlight, they give us oxygen, a bit of happiness and color, and yes, moisture! Through the process of transpiration, which is what happens when moisture evaporates from the leaves and stems of a plant, your new floral friend will help decrease the dryness in your home. Just be sure to keep them well-watered!

How do you tackle dry air in your home during the winter? Which tricks have you found to be the most effective? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!

6 Ways to Love Your Car (and Keep It Around Longer)

Your car works hard for you. It’s always there to get you where you need to go at any time of the day or night. You should give it the attention, love, and care that it deserves. Many of us really do love our rides but aren’t too sure how to care for our cars.

If this is you, and you want to truly love your car (and make it hang around for as long as possible), try out the following 6 tips!

Take Good Care of Your Tires – You really can’t get anywhere without your tires. Take good care of them by driving within the speed limits at all times, avoiding as many pot holes and road hazards as possible, and rotating them every few months at your trusted mechanic’s shop. This will help prolong your tires’ lives.

Run Your Errands All Together – If you have some errands to run, try doing them all in one trip. Wear and tear on your vehicle takes place within the first few minutes of driving, so keep your engine and other car parts happy by running several errands in one trip.

Keep Your Tank Above the ¼ Mark – Driving consistently on a low tank of gas is bad for the engine and can also cause sediment on the bottom of the tank to clog up the fuel filter. It can also cause the electric fuel pump inside the tank to overheat. Treat your engine with respect by filling up your gas tank regularly.

Prolong Your Battery’s Light – You can make your car’s battery last by doing a few simple things. First of all, avoid leaving the headlight and the lights inside the car on. Also, close your doors at all times, and, for newer cars, don’t let your phone charge inside the car when the vehicle is turned off.

Lighten the Load – Want to relieve the stress on your tires, wheel bearings, springs, and suspension system? Looking for an easy way to increase your MPG? Clean out your car! When you haul unnecessary items back and forth, it weighs down your vehicle and puts a good deal of stress on its various parts. Only keep the items that you really need in your car at all times to keep your car happy.

Wash (and Wax) Your Car Often – Washing the car can be a chore, but it’s well worth it and a great way to show that you really care about your vehicle. Giving your car a bath every now and again helps get rid of the grime that often clings to it through everyday travel, especially in the wintertime. Waxing your car regularly will help protect the paint job and form a barrier against tree sap, bird droppings, and other annoyances that can damage the paint. If nothing else, aim to wax your car at the beginning of each season.

Want another great way to love your car? How about signing up for the perfect auto insurance policy? Get started by calling the friendly, knowledgeable experts at Madison Mutual Insurance Company today at 1-800-766-MMIC or learn more about us at www.madisonmutual.com!

5 Easy Ways You Can Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

For certain parts of the nation, snow has been abundant so far this winter. It’s not uncommon to see icicles clinging to gutters during these frosty, frozen days of winter. The question is – are icicles a sign that something is amiss with one’s roof?

The short answer to that question is not always. Icicles can be an indicator of an ice dam that has formed on the roof of a structure, however.

If you’re unfamiliar with what an ice dam is, it is a formation of chunks of ice that can be found along the margins of your roof. Whenever it’s in its frozen state, ice dams are no more trouble than the icicles that precariously hang around on your gutters. The trouble comes when the water begins to melt off your roof during the warmer parts of the day. The melted water will pool behind the ice and seep back under the shingles. In these instances, the water can work its way 5 or even 10 feet back underneath the shingles.

While icicles – particularly large ones – clinging from your gutters can be a sign of ice dams being present, ice dams can form without the presence of any icicles whatsoever. This means that you could have an ice dam without knowing about it until it’s too late. These ice dams can damage and loosen your shingles, tear off your gutters, and cause water to pool and seep into your attic, which can cause a lot of interior damage.

Luckily, you can prevent ice dams from ever forming on your roof. The trick is to keep your roof and eaves at the same temperature. Here are 5 tips to help you get started!

*Add extra insulation in your attic floor. This will help keep the warm air inside your home and out of the attic, trapping the warm air where you need it.

*Insulate the attic access doors with a cover. You can also seal any existing hatches with proper weather-stripping to keep the heat out of the attic.

*Relocate or remove heat sources in the attic directly under your roof. This can include recessed lighting, for example.

*Check all of the exhausts around your home and ensure that the ducts from your kitchen, bathrooms, and other living spaces are being directed to the outside and not your attic. The additional air can create more heat, which can cause ice dams.

*If you have a chimney, check the flashing around it. It can crack and separate from your roof as time progresses, which will allow hot air to escape and water to trickle in along the chimney. An easy way to do this is to have your chimney swept and checked by a professional every year before winter hits.

If an ice dam does happen to form, don’t panic! Just keep your attic well-ventilated. If worse comes to worse, call a professional roofing company. They can help steam the ice dam off.

Remember, by taking necessary precautions you are protecting your home from any potential damage. You can also protect your home and everything that matters to you even more with Madison Mutual Insurance Company. Call us today at 1-800-766-MMIC to learn more!