Living with pets is a great way to reduce stress and loneliness, yet what happens when your pet starts causing damage to your home? Whether you’re renting or living in your own place, here are some easy ways to ensure that your home is pet-proof, both for your pet’s safety, as well as your peace of mind.
Consider bare floors instead of carpets
Carpets are a great way to bring a room together, but the truth is that they don’t get along with pets. From hairs to stains, and even scratches and chew marks, there’s a lot of maintenance you will need to commit to. Hardwood flooring is both stylish, as well as resistant, and might be a better alternative. However, if you can’t part ways with carpets, consider one in a color that matches your pet’s fur. Keeping your pet’s claws trimmed also helps, as well as vacuuming twice a week, and steam cleaning once a month.
Protect your furniture
Cats love giving the sofa a good scratch, and one easy way to get rid of this habit is by placing a scratch post next to it or putting flexible plastic trays on the armrests. Covering your sofa or armchair with a blanket will also protect it from getting too much hair on it. Alternatively, you can teach your pets that they’re not allowed on the furniture, by placing a pet bed with toys next to the furniture and encouraging them to use that instead.
Set deterrents in place
Pets are sensitive to strong smells, so one way to deter pets from both furniture, as well as spaces they could crawl into, is using pet sprays. There are plenty of options on the market, designed for either cats or dogs, but if you prefer a natural alternative, a vinegar solution also does the trick. If you wish to keep your cats off the counters, you can also look into buying motion-activated spray deterrents.
Use tall shelves
Anything that can easily break or be knocked over should be placed on high shelves, from fragile knick-knacks and lamps to houseplants. If you have cats, it’s best to keep in mind that they can jump to heights of up to six feet, so if you have wall-mounted appliances, such as a TV, make sure that they are fixed in place properly.
Tidy the cables
Cables can be very tempting chew toys, so make sure that they are safely tucked away behind furniture or skirting boards. Hanging cables are hazardous not only because your pets can drag the appliances attached to them, but they can also hurt themselves, so make sure they are safely contained. If you have blinds, you might want to tie the cords, to prevent cats from accidentally injuring themselves while on the windowsill.
Keep food and toxic substances out of reach
There are many household items that can make your pet sick, from food to cleaning products and cosmetics, so keeping them in cabinets is a must. Food items that don’t seem immediately dangerous, such as onions or spices, should also be kept hidden. Even if the food is not dangerous, the wrappers present a choking hazard, so make sure that the garbage bin is also tucked away. For peace of mind, you can even install childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
Designate off-limits areas
One way to minimize potential pet damage to your home is to designate areas where the pets are not allowed, such as the laundry room, nursery, or even a guest room. If you have areas you can’t restrict the access to by closing the door, you can install stair gates or baby gates. Having pet-free zones in your home not only helps keep it tidy, but also creates areas you can use if you have friends and family who are allergic to pets come over.
Keep your pet entertained
Let’s face it: a lot of pet damage occurs because your pets get bored while you’re away. The last thing you want to come home to is your dog digging a tunnel in your sofa, or your cat making confetti out of your curtains. So always make sure that your pets have plenty to keep them entertained, by giving them something to play with, or treat-dispensing toy puzzles. If you have pets with separation anxiety, you can leave them with a sweater or an item that has your smell, so that they feel safe until you return.
Should you consider a crate?
There is quite a bit of debate about whether using a dog crate is cruel or not. On one hand, it can create a contained safe space for your pet. However, if you’re likely to be away from home for over 8 hours, you might want to designate a room for your dog to spend time in, or even find a pet sitter.