Pet ownership enriches your life in so many ways. First and foremost, there’s the companionship and unconditional love an adoring animal brings into your home. Then there’s soothing snuggle time and the accompanying health benefits like lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and decreased feelings of loneliness. Depending on the type of pet and breed, you’re also going to get plenty of motivation to stay active or the perfect excuse to relax.
But all those perks come with unavoidable responsibilities. Pets can be messy and create odors you’d rather not have in your home. Most breeds shed and are likely to be destructive when they’re young and any time they’re not getting enough exercise and attention. Try these 10 simple strategies on how to pet-proof your home to keep your space in top condition and create a harmonious relationship between you and the pets in your life.
1. Remove Temptations
One of the best ways to make sure your pet stays out of pantries, cabinets, trash cans, and other spots where food odors may be too enticing to ignore is to install door and lid locks. These simple devices make it easy for you and your family to gain entry while keeping your pet out. For your pet’s safety, secure medicine cabinets, toiletry storage, and closets stocked with cleaning supplies that may be toxic to your four-legged explorer.
2. Make Corrections Count
Despite your best training efforts, your pet will test the limits now and then. When you catch your dog or cat in the act, use a word like “no” or “watch,” or a noise like tongue clicking as you redirect your pet to an acceptable alternative activity. Be clear and consistent, using the same cheerful tone you’d use with any other training cue. Once the behavior has been corrected, you can reward your pet with a healthy treat or attentive petting to reinforce a positive response.
3. Keep Bedding Clean
Minimize pet hair, dirt, and odor by covering your pet’s bed with a washable and waterproof pet bed cover. Not only will the microfleece and nylon ripstop cover extend the life of your pet bed, but it’s also waterproof to prevent odors and stains that come from accidents. A reversible design gives you two color options and round or rectangular options to fit most any pet bed.
4. Know Your Houseplants
Head off potential GI issues and trips to the vet clinic by reading up on plants that are harmful to dogs and cats. You may be surprised to learn that apple stems, seeds, and leaves contain cyanide, aloe and mint can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and an encounter with a carnation may bring on dermatitis. Keep your poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and amaryllis out of reach since these festive decorations can cause stomach upset that will derail all your holiday plans.
5. Stock Up on Pet Toys
Pet toys aren’t just for fun, they’re a welcome outlet for your pet’s energy and enthusiasm. Scatter a few favorite chew and play toys on every floor of your house for a readily available distraction. Kids toys look like fun too but can be chewed up and swallowed, leading to puppy tummy upset, so get your children in the habit of picking up their toys and games as soon as they finish playing.
6. Simplify Kitty Litter Clean-Up
For easy cat clean-up, contain your kitty litter with a cat litter mat. Choose one made of durable PVC or silicone, with a skid-resistant backing, and cushioned surface. Keep a supply of litter bags on hand to remove offensive odors before they have a chance to spread.
7. Cover the Furniture
Protect your furniture from stains, hair, dirt, and odor with furniture covers in 10 different sizes. Lightweight and waterproof microfleece shields everything from a favorite armchair to your oversized king bed in reversible, neutral tones like buff, bamboo, and slate.
8. Make Chewing Taste Bad
If distracting your pet from chewing or licking isn’t enough, use a repellent spray to make furniture, shoes, door frames, and other household items distasteful to your dog or cat. You can find products that are non-toxic and safe for your pet and family and come in a range of formulas from medicinal to citrusy, plant-based tastes and odors.
9. Protect Your Home in Style
If you want to minimize pet wear and tear and let your sense of style shine through, toss fashionable yet functional silky throws in key spots throughout your house to eliminate odor and make fur clean-up a breeze. Soft fleece in neutral colors feels luxurious while offering waterproofing protection for sofas, beds, and playrooms.
10. Cover High-end Finishes
Often the most expensive decorative touches are the hardest to protect. Cover leather furniture, hardwood, ceramic flooring, and other non-grip surfaces with a non-slip pet blanket for comfort and style that stays in place. Waterproof and plush, this machine-washable blanket grips with silicone dots to stay put in the trickiest spots. Keep one in the car to protect leather car seats from scratches and tears.
By employing all or even a few of these simple techniques you’ll create an environment where smiles abound when you see your pet and your pet sees you.
Written by Ann Gibson for Matcha in partnership with Mambe Waterproof Blankets.