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6 Home Hacks for Pet-Friendly Spaces

Welcome to our guide on creating pet-friendly spaces! In this article, we will explore six helpful home hacks that are perfect for dog and cat owners, as well as the owners of small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters.

When contemplating the addition of a pet to your family, you might make the mistake of assuming they will seamlessly fit into your home and lifestyle without any adjustments.

However, integrating pets into your life requires adaptations and a willingness to modify your home and habits to accommodate their needs, resulting in a happy pet and a stress-free routine.

Ensuring your home is pet-proofed is crucial for establishing a harmonious environment for both you and your furry (or scaly!) friends. 

We'll go beyond pet-friendly furniture and protecting against claw marks and explore strategies to streamline pet care, minimise stress and mess, and ensure a safe, comfortable and functional environment.

Why Owning Pets Can Cause Stress in the Home

pet-friendly home

Our pets can provide a source of love, fun, company and purpose, which can help to reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. 

But in some circumstances, elements of pet care can cause stress and anxiety, such as:

  • Increased noise in the home due to barking, mewing, etc, which can lead to disrupted sleep, work and study.

  • Increased mess and dirt.

  • Added financial strain due to food, vet bills, upkeep costs, etc.

  • Damage to furniture, walls, floors, etc, resulting in costly repairs.

  • General maintenance, e.g. feeding, walking, entertaining, vet trips and pet-sitting.

  • Poor pet health: A stressed or unwell pet is more likely to cause disruption and need extra care.

  • All of the above can lead to reduced time for self-care, which can increase stress.

If you're struggling with any of the above points and feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for a pet, then fear not. The strategies we cover in this article can help you streamline pet care and maximise your home’s functionality and durability. 

So let's dive into how these six practical tips and tricks can help you safeguard your home, your pet's well-being, and your mental health while enjoying all the benefits of Paw-renthood.

6 Tips on Making Your Home Pet-Friendly For You and Your Furry Friends

1. Strategically Camouflage Pet Clutter and Blend Accessories

pet-friendly home - dog bed that blends into home decor

Adopting a pet requires you to make space for some extra clutter in the form of pet bowls, beds, toys, etc. This can give your home a more chaotic and uncoordinated appearance. 

To keep your home design looking tidy and synchronised, there's plenty you can do to camouflage your pet's items and keep them organised and functional:

  • Put Things Away: To maintain tidiness and a minimalistic appearance, get into the habit of putting away pet items when they are not in use, such as food bowls and toys.

  • Colour Scheme Awareness: If your home has a particular colour scheme, coordinate your pet's items by choosing colours that match. For example, if you have grey carpets, select a grey pet bed which blends in with your home.

  • Simplistic and Subtle Designs: A failsafe way to successfully blend your pet stuff into your home decor is to opt for simple colours, materials and textures. Avoid bold patterns, shapes and textures which stick out. For example, if you aiming for subtlety, don't pair a bright orange dog bed with a neutral interior design.

  • Multi-Purpose Pet Furniture: Choose items that optimise storage without sacrificing space. For example, you could purchase a pet bed with built-in storage. This creates a cosy cubby for your pet to sleep in while saving space. If you have a cat, you might consider couch protectors made of sisal rope. This material is perfect for cats to scratch and sharpen their claws on. By using these protectors, you can avoid the need for a scratching post, saving even more space. Additionally, they will help keep your furniture free of claw marks.

2. Streamline Pet Care with Simple Routines 

how to keep your home clean with pets

Creating a daily routine is an excellent way to alleviate the burden of caring for your pet. By establishing habits and adhering to a set schedule, you can stay on top of your responsibilities while also staying accountable.

Create a Cleaning and Pet Care Schedule

Regular cleaning of pet items is crucial to prevent harmful bacteria buildup. Create a checklist for regular pet care tasks, including cleaning food/water bowls, litter trays, etc, and keep it in an accessible place to act as a reminder.

Here is a sample task list below to give you an idea. You may need to add different tasks depending on your pets:

  • Vacuum pet hair

  • Wash pet bowls

  • Clean pet bedding

  • Clear litter trays and any indoor pet waste

  • Change sawdust or hay in small pet cages

  • Refresh water or food

  • Tidy up pet toys

  • Administer medicines

Create Cleaning Kits

A cleaning kit is a set of essential cleaning items needed to accomplish a specific task. Having all the necessary supplies in one place can make it easier and faster to tackle any accidental messes and daily chores.

To ensure maximum efficiency, it's a good idea to create a separate cleaning kit for each of the main tasks you need to complete. For example, you could have a kit for clearing litter boxes, cleaning pet cages, or cleaning muddy dogs. You could also have kits for household chores like cleaning the bathroom, dusting, or doing laundry.

As an example, I have a litter box cleaning kit that contains everything I need to easily and efficiently scoop my cat's litter tray. Since this is a daily task, it was important for me to have all the necessary items readily available, without having to search for them buried under other things. In my kit, I keep all the items I need to clean the litter box quickly and easily, including waste bags, a scoop, gloves, and a cleaning solution.

Subscription Pet Supplies 

If you are tired of the endless visits to the pet shop, there are plenty of online subscription services which will regularly deliver the essentials like food and litter. Additionally, there are brands which provide fun selection boxes filled with a variety of treats and toys for your pet to try.

3. Create a Pet-Friendly Mud Room

how to use your mud room for pets

It is a well-known fact that pets tend to create a mess in our homes. If you happen to have a mud room or a utility room in your house, you can use it to contain some of this mess. For instance, you can use it to clean off muddy dogs, brush pet hair without spreading it around, or clean small pet cages.

You could also use this area to keep water bowls if your pet is a messy drinker or litter trays to minimise the tracking of litter dust. 

Note: If you keep your pet's essential items like water or litter tray in a separate room, ensure your pet always has access to the area.

If you don't have a mud room, there are still ways to optimise your home to contain mess caused by pets. For example:

  • Place mats under litter trays to catch excess litter dust.

  • Keep feeding bowls on surfaces which are easy to clean, such as hard floors or purchase a feeding mat.

  • Invest in quality door mats to catch dirt and moisture from your dog's paws after a walk. Additionally, keep designated towels for dog drying nearby.

4. Opt for Pet-Friendly Walls and Floors

the best floors and walls for pets

Selecting the right walls and floors is crucial when creating a pet-friendly home. You'll want to choose materials resistant to scratches, stains, dirt and odours. 

We want our furry friends to feel comfortable, but we also want to ensure that our living spaces are durable and easy to maintain. 

Hard Flooring is Optimal

Hardwood floors with a protective finish can sufficiently withstand the wear and tear caused by pets.

Alternatively, laminate or vinyl flooring that replicates the appearance of hardwood offers a cost-effective option that is still resistant to scratches and other damage. 

Overall, aim for durable, easy-to-clean and, ideally, water-resistant materials so that cleaning up spills and messes is more effortless.

Be Mindful of Carpet

There are both advantages and disadvantages to having carpets when you have pets.

On the one hand, carpets provide a soft and comfortable surface for your pets to walk and lie on, and they can help to minimise noise from footsteps.

On the other hand, carpets can be tough to clean and easily become covered in pet hair. So keep this in mind when choosing the right flooring for your pets.

When choosing the right type of carpet, consider its durability. Experts suggest that carpets made from polypropylene or nylon are the best at resisting stains and dirt while being long-lasting and great for high-traffic areas in your home.

Low-pile carpets are also a good option, being less likely to snag on your pet's claws and become damaged.

Easy-to-Clean Walls

Easy-to-clean walls equal pet-friendly walls. 

You'll want to avoid highly textured wall finishes as they tend to trap dirt and pet hair, and their uneven surface makes them tedious to clean.

Opting for paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish can make cleaning up any messes more straightforward and hassle-free.

Strategic Colour Choices

When selecting colours for walls and floors, consider how visible dirt will be against the surface.

Choose colours that cleverly camouflage pet hair while disguising dirt and dust.

When it comes to hiding dirt, white is not the best pick. Opting for darker shades usually does a better job of concealing stains. In addition, earthy tones like brown, tan, beige, or burnt orange are also great at preventing marks from showing.

For fluffy friends, you could match the colour of your floor to their fur. This can help camouflage the shed hair and make it less noticeable.

Protecting Walls and Floors

If you want to protect your existing decor without upgrading your paint finish or flooring, consider some protective measures to keep your home looking its best:

  • Adorn your walls with washable wallpapers or removable wall decals - these allow for easy updates without worrying about damage to the wall underneath.

  • Plastic or glass wall shields will protect your walls from being brushed with muddy tails and scratched by claws.

  • Put down washable rugs to protect your floor.

5. Pet-Friendly Furniture and Decor

pet friendly furniture and pet proof furniture

One of the challenges faced by pet owners is protecting their furniture from scratches and damage caused by their pets. As pet owners, we want our furry friends to feel comfortable and at ease in our living spaces. 

If your pets like to jump on, sleep on, roll on or scratch your furniture, it won’t be long before claw marks, hair and dirt begin to appear. 

Here are some ways you can protect your furniture and optimise it for pet wear and tear:

  • Use couch protectors: Couch protectors safeguard your couch cushions from claws and their easily removable nature makes cleaning them much easier. Some couch protectors also provide an extra layer of comfort for both you and your furry companion. 

  • Opt for wood: Wood is a durable choice when it comes to pet-friendly furniture and decor. Specifically, hardwoods such as oak, maple and cherry are particularly enduring.

  • Avoid scratch-prone materials: When selecting furniture materials, consider options that aren’t as appealing to scratch. Microfiber or leather can be less enticing to cats or dogs due to their texture or scent. Additionally, tight-weave fabrics are more hardwearing against claws.

  • Be mindful of houseplants: In some cases, houseplants and pets can be a recipe for chaos. Whether they like to nibble on the leaves, knock over plant pots, or dig in the soil, the combination can cause a mess. In serious cases, chewing houseplant leaves can be toxic to pets. To ensure your pet's safety, be mindful of which plants are safe, even if your pet takes a bite of them. The best practice is to keep your plants out of reach of pets, but you might also consider using plant covers and protectors to prevent damage.

6. Keep Your Pet Happy and Satisfied at Home

how to keep pets happy

If your home and routine are suffering at the paws of a destructive pet, you're not alone.

Scratching furniture, chewing shoes or yowling and whining at all hours can cause you stress and make it difficult to relax in your home. Although it can be frustrating, your pet's disruptive tendencies may not be something they can help.

A destructive pet may actually be stressed, anxious, restless, bored or uncomfortable/in pain. If your pet has suddenly become destructive for no obvious reason, take them to the vet to rule out any conditions or illnesses that may be causing their behaviour.

Once you’ve ruled out any mental or physical ailments, begin creating an environment where your pet feels safe and sufficiently entertained.

  • Provide plenty of toys for your pet to play with. 

  • Introduce slow-feeding bowls to increase satisfaction and treat dispensers for entertainment.

  • Indoor cats can benefit from multiple observation spots, ideally in high-up areas where they feel safe and have a bird's eye view. Additionally, providing a safe perch next to a window allows your cat to observe the wildlife outside and satisfy their natural instincts. 

  • Provide scratching posts for cats so can sharpen and maintain their claws.

  • For highly anxious pets, ask your vet about calming sprays or diffusers which contain ingredients that can help relieve stress.

Identify your pet's individual needs by researching the characteristics of your pet's specific breed and taking the time to understand their uniqueness. Being able to interpret your pet's body language can help identify their needs.

Remember that your pet may not communicate their discomfort in the same way that humans do, and some animals may not show signs of pain. Always consult a veterinarian if your pet is exhibiting unusual or concerning behaviour.

Creating a pet-friendly home doesn't have to mean sacrificing style and functionality. By adopting a few simple hacks and routines, you can streamline the responsibilities that come with being a pet parent. Remember, owning a pet is a commitment, and by making your home pet-friendly, you are ensuring contentment for both you and your animal companion. 

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