Over the years, pets have evolved from being a wonderful distraction to become literally part of the family and as the human population grows so does the pet population.
But the thing is, if you have a dog or cat, or are planning to have one, you most certainly know that they can get into just as much trouble as kids and you don’t want them to get into anything that could hurt them. That means you have to try to keep your house as pet-friendly as possible.
So, is your home the perfect sanctuary for your pet? I know it can be a bit challenging, but it is doable. Here I will be sharing with you tips you can follow to protect your pets, as well as home and furniture.
1.- Pick up the right fabrics
Though it is commonly said homes with kids require high maintenance, pets are a bigger challenge. Most of the pets tend to shed their hair. Some of them shed a lot, and there are few things more tedious than having to clean hair all day long from the couch or from an accent chair. This is why it is so important to seek for the perfect fabric for all your upholstered furniture.
The goal is to pick something that is stain and fur resistant. Forget silk or chintz and avoid velvet and corduroy known as pet-hair magnets. Discover instead the joys of performance fabrics such as Crypton, Ultrasuede and Sunbrella solutions that are nearly indestructible synthetic materials that can resist stains, smells, bacteria and muddy paws.
Another good choice is leather. This timeless material is easy to clean and is very durable, not to mention that possible gentle scratches left by your pet’s claws will only add patina to the piece. But if you see a said irony in choosing an animal made material because of your animal, you can try pleather (which means plastic leather and can refer to a variety of different man-made fabrics). It is relatively inexpensive while keeping the leather appeal.
You might also want to consider buying chic blankets or throws to cover your upholstery. Opt for machine-washable styles, and if your four-legged friend sheds a lot, consider choosing colors that will help hide stray fur.
Finally, if your pets sleep with you, put washable fabrics on your bed. Protect your mattress from the inevitable accidents by covering it with a thick pad. Use cotton bed sheets, preferably in a medium color or a pattern that can hide the pet hair and stains between washings. And for bedspreads, duvet covers will be your best choice because you can take them off and wash them regularly.
2.- Think carefully about rugs
There is no need to give up rugs. The trick is what to buy.
Look for inexpensive, washable rugs. Choose rugs that clearly offer stain resistance and durability. Usually, rugs with tight dense pile made of wool or stain-resistant acrylic (which is similar to wool) can do their jobs with pets.
Believe it or not, tightly-woven antique rugs have passed the test of time and can also resist cats and dogs.
Another great solution nowadays are durable commercial carpeting that can look very nice while bravely hold their own with pets.
While rugs can co-exist with your “4 legged kids”, we recommend that you avoid wall to wall carpets that absorb odors, trap pet hair and soak up inevitable pet-related stains like a sponge. If you must have one, choose the lowest pile.
Regarding the color of your rugs, a great tip from a friend is to match the carpet to your pet’s fur color, because the hair they leave behind won’t be so visible.
Last but not least, if you have an import rug, consider hanging it. It will be safe from your pets, it will help control the noise and add tons of personality to your design.
3.- Stick to semi-gloss paint
Even if you get your pets groomed often, they will still leave smudges on walls and door jambs, and some paint textures will only attract hair. As the author Max Eastman said “Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.” Just learn how to welcome their laughter into your home.
Flat-finish paint for instance is nearly impossible to clean: If you try to wipe off a dirty spot, some paint comes off as well, leaving an unsightly mark that must be repainted. Your best bet is to paint walls with a semi-gloss or satin paint so they’re slick enough to repel fur.
4.- Be careful with your greenery
The basic rule is always keeping your pets away from plants, even if these are not toxic. Eating any plants can cause stomach upset and illness so any plant should be out of your pets reach whenever possible.
Having said that, there are some poisonous plants that certainly should be avoided. Popular plants like certain types of lilies, daisies, azaleas, oleander, tulips, yew, chrysanthemum, English ivy, are toxic, and there are many more. Be sure to research if your houseplants are hazards to your beloved animals.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to pets on its website.
5.- Skip chewable and delicate elements
It is known that puppies are inclined to chew on things. Let it be their toys, your shoes or the bottom of any yummy furniture you might have.
With that in mind, avoid as much as you can wood, rattan, wicker and consider as much as you can metal, chrome and plastic. Those materials will leave your would-be teether searching for other toy.
Another important well known and proven fact: fragile pieces and pets don’t match. Make sure to display your delicate items on high shelves or push them back from edges. Cabinets with glass panel are always a good option also.
Actually, the best way to go is minimal décor. Although minimalism is not for everyone, if you want to create a warm space that is also safe for your pet, the minimal route is an ideal solution. Also, minimal means less cleaning and more space for you pets.
6.- Match your furniture
One of the essential investments you need to make when you have pets is allowing them to have their own throne in your kingdom. In other words, you need to get them a perfect bed.
It is not about overboard with luxury. What you want is to choose a sleeping area that feels desirable to your pets and yet has a similar vibe to your décor. Furthermore, it is all about matching their space to yours so it will look attractive to them and to you!
Your pet gives you so much love. Think about how you can return the favor by creating a home that’s safe and comfortable for everyone. Once you finish, all you have left to do is enjoy each other’s company — which is, of course, the best thing about having a four-legged friend.
Remember Louis Sabin’s words about sharing your home with a pet: “No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you feel rich.”