If you live with a dog or cat, you’ve always got someone who’s happy to see you when you walk through the door—but you might be in for more than a boisterous greeting. Every pet owner knows the ups and downs of chewing, scratching and the occasional “accident.” While it may be impossible to eliminate these issues completely, there are many things you can do to protect your home and furniture from potential damage.
1. Protect your floors.
Whether it’s hardwood, tile or carpet, your floor is no place for pets to relieve themselves. Do your best to minimize the damage and subsequent cleanup with absorbent pads in places where accidents have happened. If you have to be gone for a long time, consider crate training or adding a smart pet door that lets them out but won’t compromise security. Be sure to invest in a quality carpet and upholstery cleaner that eliminates odor and uses enzymes to erase all traces that can lead to repeat offenses.
2. Give your cat something to scratch.
If your feisty feline can’t keep its claws off the couch, give them something better to dig into. Scratching posts offer a safe alternative to your favorite chair. To help your kitty make the transition, place the scratching post near their favorite naughty scratching spot. And be willing to try different types of posts (horizontal, vertical, climbing frames and perches, rope or corrugated cardboard, etc.) to find the one your cat likes best.
3. Make scratching a sticky situation.
Double-sided tape can be your best friend if your cat is shredding your furniture. Felines don’t like their paws sticking, and will seek out other, more hospitable places to scratch—like that nice new post you got them!
4. Make chewing unappealing.
Chewing is a natural instinct, but you don’t want your pup to turn your furniture, shoes or baseboards into chew toys. One of the best deterrents is to make the item they love to chew yucky. You can buy bitter sprays that are designed to prevent chewing or try Tabasco or another hot sauce. A spicy jolt may be all it takes to make Fido seek out more suitable chewing options.
5. Try a baby gate.
Sometimes keeping your pet away from certain areas is the best way to protect your home and furnishings. Baby gates are a convenient solution because they can easily be removed and called up for service as needed. If your pup gets up to trouble in specific places whenever you leave them home alone, use a gate to cut off their access. During holidays or other special occasions, a gate is the perfect way to protect decorations and displays.
6. Use slipcovers.
If you’ve got a shedder or are training a new puppy, slipcovers may be your saving grace. Protect your upholstery and cushions with a slipcover you can throw in the wash. Best of all, when your pup gets housetrained you can toss the cover for good and enjoy your sofa like it’s brand new again.
7. Hide cords and remotes.
Cords and remotes are often targets of chewers. The best way to keep your remote control out of your dog’s mouth is to keep it out of reach. Put it on a high shelf or use a drawer, bin or box to hide it away. Cords are another favorite, and if they get damaged you could have an electrical problem or fire risk. You can buy cord covers to protect them from being chewed or try using bitter spray or hot sauce to make them unappealing.
Pets make our lives better, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with some high-maintenance quirks. Get ahead of potential pet problems by removing temptations; protecting floors, furniture and electronics from damage; and stocking up on some good cleaners.