Make Your Home Comfortable for Your Pet

We all love our furry (or scaly) friends. Animal family members are important to us and need to be taken care of in much the same way as a baby or young child. Things that we see as decoration can become dangerous when we aren’t looking. As the one that represents them in the world, it’s important that you are also aware of the potential hazards that everyday objects in your home can potentially pose to your pet. Here’s a list to use as a starting point to ensure your home is pet-friendly.

  1. Separate space. It’s a good idea to have an area for your pet to have that ever-fleeting alone time. A room closed off with a door or baby-gate will give your pets their own space to be—and keeps them safe and out of your hair when you have guests or a lot of traffic in the house. This also allows them to be in an area they are familiar with and less likely to misbehave for being excluded from whatever else is going on. Make sure that this area has enough bedding, food and water, and fun toys for all pets that will be here. If applicable, have access to a window or the ability to go outside independently.
  2. Furniture made for your pet. Whether you purchase pre-made furniture for your pet or make it a home project to build it yourself, invest in cozy furniture and equipment for your non-human family members. That can mean a crate or cage that doubles as an end table—allowing your pet to have a place to be that blends seamlessly into your living space and doesn’t distract from the rest of the atmosphere. You can make or buy discreet litterboxes that hide away unmentionables, or use an aquarium stand to display your fish while finding storage for your things as well. Your pet can feel close to you without taking away from the rest of the home. Be sure to keep these well-regulated for non-furry friends that will require specific temperatures and terrain.
  3. Be mindful of potential hazards. Pets are a lot more susceptible to things that we humans have no issue with. There are a lot of things to keep track of here, but a good rule of thumb is that if it’s unsafe for young children, it’s unsafe for your pet. Consult a veterinarian for their advice on things that they commonly see pet owners bring in pets for. Be sure to check instructions for cleaning products used in areas frequented by your pet, and keep them in secure places without pet access. In line with that, products used specifically for pet maintenance, such as terrarium cleaners, should be stored somewhere they won’t get mixed up with regular household cleaners. Many plants are dangerous for animals if ingested, and at the very least could lead to clean up for you at some point, so be sure to check which plants need to be removed from the home (or yard) or put in areas your pet can’t reach.
  4. Watch what they eat. Certain foods also can cause serious problems for your pets, and vary by the type of animal you have. Food waste should be disposed of immediately, and trashcans should be sealed or stored away where they can’t be accessed.
  5. Double check large appliances and small objects. Toilets, washing machines, and dryers should all be closed to keep your pets from getting inside them when your back is turned. If they’ve been left open and your pet has access to the area, it would be worth it to ensure they aren’t inside before starting any laundry. This also applies to cars, since cats in particular often like to hide inside and underneath them.
  6. Small objects can still be a danger. Cords and smaller objects such as toys and household electronics should be hidden away where they won’t become a choking, chewing, or tripping hazard.
  7. Safe storage for food and water. Have a designated area for your pet to drink and eat that won’t be in the way for people moving around, especially guests who might be unfamiliar with the layout of your home. Keep pet food safe from bugs and early expiration by keeping them in their packaging, but putting the packaging inside a container that can be stored out of the way and well-sealed.
  8. Non-slip rugs. Many experienced pet owners know to steer clear of carpeting in a home with pets, but it’s still a good idea to have rugs on the floor to help your pet avoid slipping when they inevitably run through the house at 3 AM. If you have a particularly furry friend, you can buy patterned rugs, or ones that match their fur to hide shedding in between cleaning sessions.
  9. A cat hotel can go a long way. A cat hotel or cat tree, which often will have built-in scratching posts, can be a life-saver for your walls, furniture, and flooring. They also provide a heightened area for your cat to perch and survey their home.
  10. Create an outdoor sanctuary. If your pet will be going outdoors (or staying out there) for long periods of time, consider creating an area for them to be comfortable. Easily cleanable bedding, food and water, and something to keep them warm or cool depending on the weather will make sure your pet can enjoy the time you spend with them outside. Food and drink should be kept closed off from wild animals after your pet is brought back inside the home. If you’re concerned about escape, consider using plant guards to make digging out unlikely, and a well-maintained fence. Some pet parents also have “catios” to allow their cats to enjoy time outdoors without the worry of them climbing out of reach or becoming impossible to return to the home. Be mindful of laws regarding birds in your area, as in many states it’s illegal for pets to kill birds; having a bell on your pet’s collar will decrease their ability to hunt.

Do you have any additional tips to ensure your home is pet friendly? Leave them in the comments!

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