Pet Friendly Living Spaces
We are a nation of pet lovers. Not every family has pets, but many do. Some have many more than one four-legged friend sharing their living space with them. Pets have been proven to have health benefits to their owners. They can reduce stress and even blood pressure readings. Pets often appear in the news as heroes, having saved a family from fire or intruders.
But… on the flip side – pets can wreak havoc on our living spaces. Pets tend to shed, and they can smell badly as well. Pets track in dirt and pets chew on chairs, couch legs, and coffee tables, along with many other items. Pets jump on the bed and the couch, they make the recliner their own and lay claim to the couch. How do we enjoy the benefits of having pets in our homes yet minimize the negative effects of their presence? Here are some ideas for creating pet friendly living spaces that keep everyone happy.
Make sure your pet has a designated place to sleep. If you can’t afford to buy a fancy store-bought pet bed, there are many alternatives. An old comforter or blanket will do just fine, folded into a manageable sized rectangle. Almost all dogs will immediately realize this spot is meant for them, and embrace it. Cats can be a bit harder to train but can also be shown with gentle redirection that this is their spot. For cats who have accustomed themselves to a couch or recliner, for instance, you might try locating “their” blanket on the end of the couch, or chair, and let them continue to lay where they want, but ON what you want them to lay on. The beauty of using a blanket is that it can be washed weekly and even tossed out and replaced when necessary. That isn’t so easy to say about an entire couch!
It is also very important to make sure you have supplied your pets with toys. Just like us, animals enjoy playing and if you do not provide them with appropriate toys you can hardly fault them for using, say, Grandma’s heirloom pillow to chew on. A puppy will go through a long teething stage and will literally NEED several sturdy toys to chew on during this period. Many pets enjoy having their own small, stuffed toys to sleep with, cuddle with, and gnaw on. These do not need to be or even especially made for pets, as specialty items usually come at a premium, but provide your dog with chew toys for your benefit as well as theirs.
Some people are very comfortable having their pets share the bed with them. If this is the case with your family, minimize the damages of hair and claws by once again, placing “their” blanket on the end of the bed so that you can easily wash and maintain their space. And, of course, when you own pets, air fresheners, candles, and other such tools can go a long ways towards freshening the scent of your home. Many products for carpet and furniture are specially formulated for pets, with powerful agents to fight odor. Enjoy your pets and help them successfully share your space with these helpful tips!