Animals are an important part of life for many people. They are more than just pets: they are companions, entertainers, exercise buddies, and comforters. They are family. However, having an animal – especially one who stays indoors – presents a special set of problems for the home owner. Although a well-trained and monitored pet will eliminate many of these problems, planning a pet-friendly environment will help to keep pet damage to a minimum.
Even the most well trained pets have accidents from time to time. Select flooring that will make clean-up easy and damage minimal. Hardwood or laminate flooring should be treated sufficiently to avoid urine soaking into the wood. Whether you hire a professional or install the flooring yourself, be sure to be review the manufacturer’s treatment and cleaning instructions.
If you have carpets, using a treatment like Scotch Guard will keep staining and odors to a minimum. Choosing a carpet or rug with a pattern will help hide stains better than solid colors. If you can’t avoid using a white or extremely light carpet, it might be a good idea to keep that area off limits to your pet by using a pet gate.
Pets love to snuggle on furniture with their humans. Choose pet-friendly furniture in treatments like leather (or good faux leather) to cut down on time cleaning pet hairs and muddy paw prints. Choose a solution that both cleans and conditions your leather furniture to ensure years of enjoyment. If you choose furniture with fabric upholstery, make sure it is well treated with a stain and odor repellent as soon as it’s placed in the room. Many furniture retailers offer stain treatment upon purchase of the item.
Some pets, especially young pets, will have a tendency to see furniture as just another chew toy. There are commercial sprays available for wood, leather, and fabric covered furniture that will discourage pets from chewing on furniture without damaging the piece. Select a treatment that’s appropriate for the type of furniture finish and make sure that Fido or Fluffy has plenty of toys to keep him sufficiently entertained that will sooth their chewing tendencies and enhance playtime for you and your pet.
Pet owners know that pet hair gets everywhere! Regular grooming of your pet will cut down on the amount of stray pet hairs in your home. Choose fabrics for bedding and window treatments that can be easily and often washed. Make sure fabrics are treated with stain repellent and are inspected often for tears or damage. If you choose to use brocades or other fabrics that require special cleaning methods, use them in areas that are off-limits or high enough from the ground to keep it safe from potential pet damage.
Even the smallest of pets can charge through a house during play like a bull in a china shop. Avoid decorating with small, breakable objects that can be knocked over and broken. End tables should be large and sturdy enough to prevent being toppled if Fido or Fluffy collides with it. Choosing colors that match your pet’s fur will create a tidier look, even during shedding. Lastly, invest in hand-held and upright cleaners that are manufactured specifically for excessive fur and pet stains. HGTV.com offers many good suggestions for home décor designs that are both fashionable and pet-friendly.
Although a home warranty may cover some types of pet damage, warranties differ from company to company. Read your policy carefully to verify what types of damage can be covered. Being proactive with your home design will save you time and money, and allow for greater enjoyment of both your home and your pet!
Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.