Pets require time, attention, and as safe and comfortable of a home as we do. Unfortunately, animals are commonly an afterthought for people who are building, buying and remodeling homes. We must start thinking of pets as important beings and attending to their particular needs, rather than viewing them as possessions, or even disposable.
Taking care of an animal is no easy task. They need shelter, water, shade, daylight, good air circulation, non-irritating surfaces, fully fenced areas and spaces to play. There are many simple DIY tips that’ll turn your home into a pet-friendly environment. All it takes is the knowledge and a desire to want to make your living space better for you and your pet.
I’m guessing one of the first questions that pops into your head relates to flooring. You have to weigh many aspects including style, comfort and durability, that it becomes difficult to choose a best fit for you and your pet. See below for the best and worst home flooring options for animals.
Best Flooring Options
- Hard Surface Floors: Bare doesn't have to be boring. Painted concrete is lovely and durable, as are terrazzo and brick.
- Bamboo: An excellent choice for homes with pets. Bamboo won’t wear out. It’s hard and stands up to traffic (which means less repairs). It’s also renewable (green) and stain resistant.
- Stone: This floor is wonderful for pet owners because it doesn’t scratch and will hold up against accidents. Take note that it’s a hard material and can be cold and uncomfortable for pets to sit on.
- Tile: Specifically ceramic tile is the best flooring for pets because it’s easy to clean and resistant to stains. It’s good for wear and tear and won’t scratch. If your pet has an accident, it won’t damage the condition of the floor. The surface is hard and uncomfortable for pets to lie on, but rugs will help. Tile is toenail-proof, it makes a room look sleek and elegant and gives animals a cool place to nap in the hotter months.
- New Luxury Vinyl: It’s even better than vinyl because of its added thickness. There’s a lot more give and it’s quite comfortable to walk on.
Most Challenging Flooring Options
- Hardwood: Although many homeowners prefer hardwood, it can stain and long nails will scratch the floors. Be especially careful of the area near the water bowl and be sure to clean up any spills immediately.
- Laminate: This material is slippery and can be hard for pets to walk on.
- Carpet: This is likely the worst flooring choice you can make for your pet. Carpet absorbs odors, traps pet hair and soaks up inevitable pet-related stains like a sponge.
Selecting Optimal Furniture
This is another category pet owner’s worry about for many important reasons. Furniture is not only expensive, but it gets seen and used daily. Being selective in the beginning of your furniture hunt (or when you’re replacing it) could save you a lot of stress and money down the road. See a few optimal furniture materials below so you’re left with no rips or regrets.
- Crypton: This is a nearly indestructible, synthetic fabric that's resistant to stains, smells, bacteria and muddy paws. Sounds amazing!
- Leather: You may be thinking, what? But it’s a good choice because it’s easy to clean and durable. If you’re really concerned about the material, but like the look of leather, then opt for pleather.
- Ultrasuede: This is a machine-washable microfiber that feels as smooth and seductive as real suede. It’s resistant to stains and discoloration and can be machine washed and dry-cleaned.
If nothing else, try and match the colors of your furniture to your pets’ fur. The hair they leave behind won't be as visible and it’s less of a mess for you to look at all day.
Cleaning Tools & Products
The most important action you can take to make a happy and healthy home for you and your pet is to clean often. Vacuum any carpet regularly and remove hair off the furniture at least twice a week. In fact, you may need to vacuum daily when your pet is shedding. Trust me, you’ll want to because pet hair has an odor, and contains an oil that attracts dirt to the fabric on which it sits.
There are a few ways to prepare for and prevent damage. One idea is to set up an animal room near an entry with tools to help you clean up dirt and wipe down your pet. Also, furniture covers are a great protection option for preventing damage before it happens.
Pet Safety, Hangouts & Sleep Spaces
Create spaces and places your pet can relax alone and sleep, especially when they’re young and growing. Provide your pet with tidy, attractive treats and toys for healthy stimulation.
When you give pets their own space, you won't have to worry about them seeking shelter where they don't belong. Make sure the places you carve out are hazard-free zones, with a cozy bed, water source and safe toys. Remember that even if you’re not a fan of working out, your pets enjoy it. A well-exercised pet is less likely to get into trouble, and more likely to rest well at night.
Another safety precaution you can take is building a fenced-in yard. This way you won’t have to worry about pets running into the street or into your neighbor’s yard. Also, litter boxes should be placed away from feeding areas and in a place that's private, but not too isolated. If your pet doesn't feel safe or comfortable using a litter box, he/she won't.
Check & Remove all Hazards
The first order of business should be to take a puppy's eye-view of your home and see for yourself what may be a danger or threat to your pet. Observe ground level, but also think about where they might be climbing or jumping. Research what common household items are hazardous to pets and not humans. Discard trash regularly and don't leave human foods and medications where pets can access them.
Below are a few other important suggestions.
- Look for choking, strangulation, electrocution and suffocation hazards.
- Keep window treatment cords short and cut through any loops.
- Unplug or cover wires and electrical cords.
- Make sure indoor plants are varieties that are pet-safe.
- Safety lock cupboards with access to home cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers and other hazardous items, including antifreeze.
- Keep your toilet lid down to eliminate risk of poisoning (especially if you use automatic bowl cleaners).
- If windows are open, make sure screens are sturdy and properly installed. You may not know it but, pets falling out of windows is a common occurrence.
- Store your pet's food appropriately to avoid contamination and to slow the vitamin and nutrient degradation process.
Groom Well & Bathe Often
The saying goes, if you want a clean house, then keep a clean pet. Grooming your pet and bathing them on a regular basis is good for your animal and your house. Trim their nails and brush and bathe them to remove loose hairs. You can avoid clogged drains if you brush them before and after a bath. Your furniture and rugs will last longer if they don't need to be washed as often. Keeping your pet squeaky clean is one way to prevent wear and tear. Beyond regular deep cleaning, make sure pet food is sealed and litter boxes are away from the main living area.
Pets are fun to have and have brought joy to homes everywhere. Show your pets how much you love them by providing a healthy, safe and clean place to live. If you get lazy and try to cut corners, it’ll show in your home. Use these DIY tips to create a pet-friendly home for all to enjoy.
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