How to Pet-Proof Furniture for Your Cat or Dog
You love your pets and they love you, but you don’t love the effect they have on your carpet, flooring, and furniture. Never fear -- you don’t have to trade away snuggles with your favorite furry friends in order to keep your home looking gorgeous. Learn how to pet proof furniture from cats, dogs, and other household pets while keeping them happy and comfortable.
Tips for Protecting Furniture from Cats
Owning a cat is fun, but replacing damaged furniture and carpeting is not. One of the best ways to protect your home from damage is by preventing it in the first place. If you own a cat, you should also own a cat tree so that your cat won’t want to turn your furniture into a scratching post.
When you’re training your cat to use the cat tree, you’ll want to place it in a conspicuous area. Later, once he or she is using the tree on a regular basis, you can move it little by little to a less obvious placement. If the cat has already been scratching in a particular spot, place the scratching post there in order to help re-direct them; you’ll be able to move the post once the cat has started ignoring the previous spot.
Another advantage of a cat tree, especially a tall one, is that it offers the cat a safe place when there is too much noise or activity. If your cat is running into a bookshelf or hiding under the bed, a high cat tree can offer an alternative spot to escape where kitty will feel safe.
If your cat persists in scratching furniture or carpeting, try discouraging the behavior by covering the area in question with aluminum foil, double-sided tape, or some other unpleasant material. This will help the cat learn to avoid the area and may be paired with a bitter apple spray to help reinforce this avoidance. Once the behavior has ceased, you can remove the covering.
Besides scratches, cats can cause damage when they have potty accidents on soft surfaces like carpet or upholstery. It’s vital that you properly clean the spot, since the smell can persist and cause the animal to soil the same spot repeatedly. Again, prevention is important; ensure that the cat’s litter box is kept clean and accessible so that he or she has no reason to soil the floor or furniture.
Finally, you can help to prevent stains by adding a stain repellant treatment to your soft surfaces. This can be done professionally or with a do-it-yourself spray that helps to keep stains from setting in and ruining fabrics. If you choose this type of treatment, be sure to follow directions carefully for application and subsequent cleaning of treated fabrics.
Tips for Protecting Furniture from Dogs
Damage caused by dogs is more likely to be from stains, either from potty accidents or from mud tracked in after walks. Here too, you’ll benefit from treated fabrics to prevent set-in stains and make them easier to clean if they do occur. If you allow your dog on the couch, you may want to consider some family friendly sofa material to aid in cleaning.
Dogs can also cause damage by chewing table legs, pillows, throws, and chair footrests. Young puppies may instinctively chew inappropriately and should be redirected to chew toys or chewable treats. Older dogs generally chew because they are bored or anxious. If your older dog is chewing furniture, a good walk or session of fetch will probably help to curb the behavior.
Protect flooring from damage by keeping your dog’s nails properly trimmed. This will help them be more comfortable while also preventing scratches, especially to hardwood floors.
Finally, damage can occur when kids and dogs chase each other or roughhouse in the home. Encourage outdoor play or playtime in areas of the home without fragile or breakable decorative elements in order to keep your pet, and your decor, safe.
Tips for Other Pets
If you have other pets, including reptiles, small mammals, or birds, you’ll want to exercise care before allowing them to roam the house. They can cause damage from their claws or from soiling accidents, but they can also be put at risk from overstuffed furniture or from toxic fumes from cleaners and furniture treatments.
If you want to allow your small pet to roam free, ensure that they are under your supervision and that you are careful to keep them away from plants or other decorative elements that could harm them.
Whatever type of pet you have in your home, you can create spaces that are safe for them while also keeping your furniture, flooring, and carpet looking their best. Pets are part of the family; by taking commonsense precautions you can keep everyone safer, happier, and more comfortable.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Murdock Edgar
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