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House Pets: Make Your Home Animal-Friendly

Pets are a central part of the American family; many people will even include their dog or cat’s name when listing their relatives. Americans own 73 million dogs and 90 million cats, and over half of all American homes have pets. Yet animals are very rarely factored into house buying or remodeling choices. When thinking about the perfect house for ourselves, the perfect house for our pet is always an afterthought. But pets have very different needs than their owners, and it’s the owners’ responsibility to accommodate them.

First, make sure to keep harmful objects and substances out of paws’ reach. Many everyday household objects are toxic to animals; in fact, in 2008 alone, the Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 140,000 pet poisonings from household objects. These include many food products: fruit seeds and pits contain cyanide, grapes and raisins cause kidney failure, Xylitol in sugar free foods and gums causes liver failure, caffeine in chocolate and coffee grounds is toxic, and nutmeg harms the central nervous systems. Some non-food items are even more harmful to animals. Keep your pets away from cleaning products, rodenticides, and traps, and be especially careful with antifreeze, whose odor attracts dogs and cats, killing 10,000 pets per year. Some household plants are toxic to animals: if consumed, poinsettia, mums, and aloe vera will harm pets, and lilies cause liver failure in cats. Also, watch out for risks of choking, strangulation, electrocution, and suffocation from small objects, plastic bags, and electrical cords. If the danger isn’t obvious to you, step into your pet’s shoes: get down on all fours and sniff around for potential harms.

There are several ways to protect your pet from these risks. Keep food and medicine elevated and secure; eliminate ways that your pet could get onto counters and tabletops; use a trashcan with a foot pedal that animals cannot access; latch shut any cabinets that pets can open; verify a plant’s harmlessness before buying it; use gates to restrict pets to less harmful parts of the house; and keep cords and wires off the ground or enclosed in tubes.

But poisoning isn’t the only risk to your pet; you must protect it from falling, drowning, old age, and discomfort. Keep toilet lids down, especially if you use toilet bowl cleaning chemicals! Put screens in windows you open; many cats die falling out of windows each year. Keep elderly pets on the first floor, and give them ramps onto the furniture. And give them a space of their own, or else they’ll try to take your space from you: you can turn a mudroom into a pet paradise with a bed, water, toys, and even outdoor access through a doggie door.

Finally, as important as it is to keep your pet safe from your home, you should also keep your home safe from your pet. Tile and linoleum are ideal for pet-owners, but you can make other floor surfaces work too. Wood can be scratched by pets’ nails and stained by their messes; in addition to grooming, cleaning, and housetraining your pet, you should cover any nice, wood flooring with area rugs. For carpets, either match your carpet to your pet (or vise versa) to conceal its shedding, or use wool carpet tiles that you can clean and replace individually. In either case, remove any pet stains immediately to ensure your carpet’s long-lasting cleanliness.

How to use this Information

Sloane’s Carpet Secret is here to help. The best value carpet store in Denver, Sloane’s selections of discount rugs and discount carpet remnants are built to last, with or without puppies. We see no reason why animals and great homes cannot coexist, and we will help you select and install the ideal carpet for every family member, regardless of species.

Tell us how you have pet-proofed your home!