Pet-Proofing Your Home
In my last article, I talked about how I am looking to move with my boy. I focused on how to make the transition easier for him. One should also be thinking about the other important aspect of pet-proofing your home. I haven’t found a house yet, but I’m still thinking about what I’ll do to get my home pet-ready once I finally find one I love.
Whether you are getting a new pet, or a new house, making sure your house is ready is essential for both keeping your house in good condition and keeping your pet safe. Here are some things to help prepare your home.
The flooring in a house takes more abuse than any other aspect. It’s continually being walked on by members of the household and their guests, and when you add pets to the mix, it gets the extra abuse of dirty paws and rough claws. If you own your home, you have the freedom to choose the flooring you want, and you want something that is going to stand up to anything a pet (or human) can bring to it.
Hardwood and laminate flooring are popular choices for houses as they are easy to clean, but they aren’t necessarily the best thing for your pet. With those types of flooring being so slick and slippery, animals have a hard time walking on them which is especially troubling for large dogs, as their weight and energy levels make it easy for them to slip and hurt themselves — especially large senior dogs. These types are also easily damaged by the claws of both cats and dogs, and if they often sleep directly on the floor (like my dog, who prefers the hard floor to his expensive and soft giant dog bed), it can be hard on their bones and joints.
Taking all that into account, it may be better to look into carpeting your house. While you may think carpeted floors are more difficult to clean, there are great pet-proof carpets out there that are stain-resistant, which is going to be helpful if you have kids as well. It’s also softer and non-slippery, so it’s going to be more comfortable and safer for the whole family.
The kitchen has always been forbidden territory for every dog that my family had. It makes sense, as you want to keep the kitchen clean and food-prep ready, and there are a lot of unsafe things in the kitchen. Of course, dogs only see it as a hallowed playland, filled with all the best smells. If your dog is anything like my dog, the second you leave the room, he is in there getting into everything, especially the garbage.
The very first thing you need to get when pet-proofing your home, whether it’s for a new dog, or a move to a new house, is to get the best dog-proof trash can you can find. It could get expensive, but it’s worth every penny as not only is a dog getting into a trash messy, but it can also be hazardous if they eat something that can hurt or poison them. In addition to an appropriate trash can, you might consider putting child locks on cupboards and the refrigerator. Dogs are smart and can figure those things out, and so can ambitious cats as well. Consider this story. A roommate I had in college had two of the evilest cats I’ve ever met. While one just pooped everywhere other than her litter box, the other one set out to aggravate me in every way possible (whether on purpose or not is in the eye of the beholder, but I digress). One of those ways was opening the freezer when no one was home. One day the freezer was left open for so long, I lost $50 worth of food — which is a lot to a broke college student! After that, I child-locked the freezer so it wouldn’t happen again. These cats also liked to crawl into the cupboards and sleep in the pots and pans. I never got around to child-locking those cupboards as well, but thought about it all the time.
We can keep talking specifics in each room of the house, but the truth is a pet can be destructive anywhere inside or outside of the house. Even the most chill animal can go nuts some days and cause damage by digging holes in the yard or ripping up a sofa. While it’s easier to prevent them from doing destructive things while you are at home, you can’t guarantee they won’t destroy something or get into things you don’t want them to when you’re out of the house.
Of course, you’ve been training your animals on what they can and can’t do, but just like a child, they aren’t always going to listen. And also just like a child, a bored and energy-filled kid is going to find some way to get themselves into trouble. This phenomenon is the same for your dog, especially if they are a high-energy breed. There are a few ways you can approach this.
One way you can help curb any destructive tendencies is to make sure your dog never gets bored. You can give them frozen stuffed Kongs to work on while they’re home alone, which will stimulate their mind while keeping them busy. Another thing you need to do is make sure your high-energy dog burns a bunch of energy before leaving them home alone since a dog with too much energy is a destructive dog. Exercising your dog can be difficult on days when the weather is terrible, too cold, or too hot, or you just don’t have the energy yourself to help your dog burn all of his, so you might consider looking into getting a dog treadmill. It may sound silly, but when you have a high-energy working dog that has been bred to have great stamina, it helps to have a way to use up their energy that way outlasts your own.
Moving to a new place, or bringing a new pet into your home, has its challenges, but destruction to your house doesn’t have to be one of them. Pet-proofing your home takes a little time and planning, but you or your landlord will appreciate it in the long run. A safe and pristine house is the goal, and with a pet, it needs to be a priority!
“Pet-Proofing Your Home for Pet Safety: Moving with Dogs”
Guest Author: Mila Sanchez
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