There’s no use denying that the connection between a pet and its owner has always been a loving and marvelous bond, but times have certainly changed and so have lifestyles with pets. So before you get barking mad over your dog indiscriminately shedding hair everywhere, know that there are modern day steps and antidotes that can be applied. There’s no longer an excuse to exile your dog to the backyard because it is the 21st century and sharing the indoors with your pet is no longer an impossible feat, in fact it’s 100% pet-possible. These tips will put an end to the biggest dog fight of all – the one between your dog and your home.
Let’s start with the one area in the house where pets spend the most time: the floor. Let’s be honest, no matter how many doggy beds you buy, dogs will still inevitably spend the majority of their time on the floor, therefore making it the primary damage-zone for pets, subject to scratches, stains, and stray hairs. Many misinformed pet owners are quick to assemble a flooring made completely of Wee-Wee Pads, but they need to know there are other options out there… ones that will compliment homes rather than making them look like you are trapped inside a floor-length doggy diaper. One essential step is to opt for hard surfaces instead of carpets (or disposable pads). Not only are hard surfaces easier to clean and more durable, but unlike carpets, they don’t trap pet hairs or odors.
In regards to flooring color, floors with patterns or a color that matches your pet are generally recommended, since they are able
to adeptly hide pet hairs. Then there is the important matter of flooring material. Among the better choices out there are ceramic tile and stone, since they’re durable and easy to clean. Another viable option is to use wood or bamboo; while they’re not as damage or stain resistant as tile or stone, these materials are still very durable against scratches.
For the pet owner that needs extra floor protection from enthusiastic claws, laminate floors are by far the most damage-proof, but be warned: due to the slippery propensity of laminate, your pets will have a pretty difficult time roaming around. But instead of going back to carpets, use rugs to complement your hard surface floors and keep your pet from slipping and sliding when chasing its tail. Not only are rugs easy to clean and inexpensive to replace, they also provide a softer alternative for pets to lie on, without sacrificing the pet-friendly décor!
In a home where carpets are a must, your life does not have to be reserved for eternal fiber scrubbing – there are solutions! Buy a carpet made out of sisal, a material that’s more stain resistant and durable than synthetic material (the stuff that makes up a typical carpet).
When it comes to unparalleled variety, nobody comes close to matching Carpet One Home & Floor. From its collection of classic carpets to its stylish Liz Claiborne line, Carpet One has the resources to satisfy everyone’s flooring needs. Even better is their special Lees carpet, which offers amazing resiliency against stains thanks to the use of Ultra 25 and Scotchguard protectors.
For the more creative minded pet-owner, manufacturer Interface Flor offers the innovative carpet tiles. The tiles, each covered with a stylized carpet exterior, can be used to make rugs or wall-to-wall carpets and can be individually lifted for easy cleaning, without damage to the floor beneath. The carpet tiles cost $2 to $10 per square feet and can be bought at Lowe’s, specialty retailers, and through their website (www.flor.com). Thanks to Interface Flor, a single pet stain does not have to ruin an entire room with carpeting.
A Room With A View
A surprising place where your home might need some pet-friendly improvement is the windows. Dogs have always enjoyed windows, especially car windows, but few pet owners know that they can sometimes be a hazard.
When pet-proofing windows avoid all blinds, drapes, and anything with tassels or long cords. They may look pretty, but that only makes them more enticing as play toys for pets, potentially causing entanglement or strangulation from the slats and cords – yikes! No pet owner wants to face such terrifying thoughts. Safe choices include café curtains and valances; they pose less of a danger for pets than blinds and they won’t collect pet hairs, ensuring a tougher allergy-free zone.
While people are well aware of pets scratching the furniture, windowpanes are also pretty vulnerable to scratches. To curb this problem, install pet proof window screens for all your windows. They’re easily affordable, can be found in most hardware stores, and the vinyl/plastic material of the screen can absorb the most savage of scratches.
An increasingly common practice among pet owners is the installation of Plexiglas windows on doggie doors. Plexiglas windows allow pups to see where they’re going while they trot through the door, eliminating the indignant pitfall of bumping into unseen obstructions. Your dogs will appreciate the gesture and it’ll make a fine addition to any pet-friendly aspiring home!
Furniture in the home may be one of top reasons pet owners today are still stuck in the 20th Century. And while you can’t really change the nature of your pets, you canchange the nature of your furniture by choosing pet accommodating fabrics. First and foremost, choose fabrics that are tightly woven, a quality that proves tremendously resistant against scratches and tears. Equally important is picking smooth fabrics for your furniture, which makes them extremely durable and easy to clean. Fabrics of this sort
include microfiber and microsuede.
Similar to the rule for flooring colors, try to match a fabric’s color with the color of your pet. Failing that, use mixed color fabrics – such as tweeds and prints – for your upholstery and furniture in order to easily hide pet hair. However, hiding your pets’ hair and dirt may not be the greatest long-term plan. In that case, invest in some slipcovers; they allow you to detect and clean up dirt much faster, while giving extra protection for your furniture and your family (especially members with pesky allergies) as well.
Considering the recent proliferation of pet product services, is it any surprise that pet owners can now obtain specialized fabrics? One such company known for this service is The Livable Home. This pet boutique offers fabrics that are stain and soil resistant, water and odor repellent, and easily cleanable, all of which come in an assortment of styles and colors. While the boutique is based in Denver, those of us not residing in the Mile High City can shop through their website.
Another fine line of specialized fabrics comes from Crypton Super Fabrics. Aside from being stain, water, and bacteria resistant, the fabrics are easy to clean and come in a variety of styles, including suede, woven, and print. Perhaps the most notable feature of Crypton Super Fabrics is the designs of the legendary William Wegman. Wegman is an art photographer best known for his compositions of his Weimaraners in various costumes and poses (he even shot photos of actor Brad Pitt with his Weimaraners). Wegman has devoted his considerable talent into designing fabrics, which includes a very unique line of fabrics made specifically for dogs! Although the price runs on the steep side ($50-$85 per yard), the efficiency and ingenuity put into the fabrics make up for it.
Then there are the fabrics from Ultrasuede to consider. With their resistance to scratches, stain and odor absorption, combined with their soft and natural texture, Ultrasuede fabrics certainly raise pet friendliness to another comfy level!
Back to the Garden
If your house has a backyard, chances are good that your dog will be romping around quite a bit. It’s important to remember, above all else, construct an enclosed fence around the backyard, making it high enough to not only prevent your dog from escaping, but to prevent any random animal from entering. If the fence doesn’t reach all way to the ground, use chicken wire to compensate for the gaps.
For water lovers, installing a pool is a no-brainer. Make sure however that a pool ramp or dog steps are installed with it. Even if your dog is a world-class swimmer, it never hurts to play it safe! And for pets that are a bit more timid around the water, install a wading pool so that even the non-swimmers can stay cool in the summer heat! Just remember: who originated the doggy paddle? Not humans!
Now we arrive at our last backyard hurdle. You may encounter a problem in the future when you find your dog wiling the day away digging holes all over the backyard. But instead of throwing a fit at the sight of your ruined garden, limit future damage by designating a specific part of the yard as your pup’s digging area, leaving toys and treats to entice him to dig there. Complement this by building a barrier around the garden with wire or wood fencing; though the wood fencing is a lot more expensive and time consuming to construct, aesthetically it’s more pleasing to look at. So after your fence has been constructed and once your dog figures out his digging area, you can leave all future headaches behind … regarding the backyard at least.