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If you've got pets, you know a pet-friendly home is a must. Whether you have cats, dogs, hamsters, or maybe a mixture, they're going to spend most — if not all — of their time in your house. So, how do you make sure the place is a perfect fit for Fido and Fluffy?
Here are four tips to create a pet-friendly home:
1. Pick durable materials
No matter how much you love your pet, you don't want your home to look like it’s gone to the dogs. To keep your abode looking like it’s in top shape, pick durable flooring, such as tile, vinyl, or stone, that is easy to clean, stain resistant, and toenail proof. If you can’t give up your love for carpet, then choose a color that matches your pet, so loose hairs blend in. Be sure to use pads under area rugs to prevent accidental slips and slides.
In addition to flooring, choose wall treatments and furnishings with your pet in mind. Light colors will be more likely to show dirt. It also is easier to wipe smudges off of a satin paint finish than off of a flat finish.
If you are concerned about eliminating fur and pet odors from furniture, then Ultrasuede®, a machine-washable microfiber, might be your best bet for fabric that is family- and pet-friendly.
2. Minimize dirt
It goes without saying that you should clean litter boxes and fish or reptile tanks regularly. Brushing and washing your pet, and vacuuming frequently also can help hold off hair balls and pet odors.
Additionally, if you have a dog, establishing a pet-friendly animal area at an entry or in a mudroom can prevent dirt from being tracked throughout your home. If you’re planning to install a doggie door, this is a great place to put it to restrict your pooch from the rest of the house, while still providing free access to the outdoors.
Use a storage shelf or basket to keep towels within arm’s reach when you need to dry fur. Then, add an attractive hook to give you a handy place to hang a leash.
3. Keep safety in mind
Safety is paramount in a pet-friendly home. In particular, keep electrical cords out of the way and avoid curtains or blinds with long cords in which your pet could get tangled. Secure screens and bars, so cats can’t fall out of windows. Put breakables out of reach. And childproof your home with cabinet locks, as well as trash-can and toilet-bowl lid latches, so your curious creature steers clear of harm.
Common household items can be hazardous to pets. So familiarize yourself with the top pet toxins — a list that includes medication, plants, people food, cleaning products, pesticides, and fertilizers.
4. Carve out a pet-friendly space
To prevent your pet from wreaking havoc in your home, give him a place to call his own that doesn’t detract from your design. Place a cozy crate or dog bed in a kitchen nook, or push it under a table. Place pet toys in a swank storage basket.
If you don’t think your pet’s things are appealing, then it’s best to keep them out of sight. Many cabinetmakers offer systems that store food in airtight containers and bowls as part of a built-in feeding system that is stowed behind closed doors or in a cabinet. This keeps the food out of sight and prevents the bowls from being a tripping hazard.
Whatever home design options you choose, be sure they fit with your pet's personality. Then, with a little foresight, you can ensure that your pet has all the creature comforts he will need without creating obtrusive headaches.
By: Patricia-Anne Tom
Want more information on living with pets in your home? Get tips here.