Designing A Pet-Friendly Home
Written by: Jane Williams
One of the most exciting things about adopting a pet is being able to give it a great life after it has been abandoned. According to the ASPCA, around 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted every year, which is a testimony to the important role that pets play in our lives. Some people take months to choose a dog for adoption; others do so quickly, after falling madly in love with a pooch or kitty seeking a home. It is important to ensure that your home is pet-proof so that your new fur baby is 100% safe and happy.
Removing potential toxins
The number one consideration when it comes to pets is removing toxins from their reach. Be aware that both dogs and cats can be creative and curious, and can use their paws to open cabinets with cleaning fluids or foods that can harm their health (including chocolate and nuts!). If you have adopted a dog, store these items high up in a cupboard. If you are a ‘cat person’, meanwhile, consider safety features that will make it harder for your curious moggy to paw their way into your snack collection or cleaning products. You should also be careful of potential toxins in the yard; everyday plants such as azaleas, sago palms, oleanders, and daffodils can be deadly if ingested by pets so if your garden contains many plants, it might be a good idea to get help from a gardener who can quickly identify and remove toxic species.
Cats and dogs can pop up when you least expect them to… often, they can jump into the kitchen when you are cooking, which can potentially expose them to burns. Consider the use of a kid’s safety gate to keep dogs from stepping into the kitchen when something hot is on the stove. Think about spraying peppermint essential oil on the counter tops, so your cat loses interest. When you are not in the kitchen, place sandpaper or double-sided tape on the counter top; cats hate these surfaces and are not likely to persist if they encounter them various times. You cat or dog can also be at a danger of burns if you have an indoor fireplace. To bring the risk down to zero, a two-sided fireplace fitted into the wall will keep the fire safely behind glass, avoid smoke in the home, and clear up more ground space for your pet to run.
Both dogs and cat love being active and playing and they should have plenty of clean, tidy floorspace to do so. Try to ensure they space to run from one part of the room to the other without having to jump on furniture to do so. This is particularly important in the case of older pets, who can find jumping up on sofas or other items painful if they have osteoarthritis or back/spinal issues.
Choosing the right surface
Marble and polished tiles can be slippery, especially for older pets. Consider laminate flooring, stone, or tiles that provide a little resistance when your pets walk. Carpets are also soft to the touch, but they may be harder to clean considering that pets can sometimes have little accidents. If you can’t live without carpeting, opt for tougher, stain resistant types and avoid continuous loop carpet, which can get caught up in your kitten’s claws. You might also consider large rugs, which will provide plenty of space for your pooch to rest, especially on colder days.
We have provided just a few ideas to keep your home safe and sound but as is the case with children, it is often ‘parents’ themselves who spot potential dangers; after all, each home is different. Be as creative as you can; think of a nook under the staircase where you can build a cute dog house, or opt for a custom-made bed that has a pull-out bed for your dog (this is ideal if you love the idea of your dog sleeping in your room with you). First and foremost, think of the biggest dangers to your pet (including fire, toxic foods, and chemicals), removing them before your best friend’s paws enters their new, loving forever home.