How To Make Your Home Dog-Friendly
Getting a dog is certainly exciting, and it’s something that a lot of people are keen to do. Dogs give you constant companionship and unconditional love, so they’re great if you live alone and want some company, but they’re also the perfect pet for families, especially if you like spending time outdoors or you want your children to learn some responsibility. No matter what your reason for getting a dog, it can often be the best thing a person can do.
Of course, there’s a lot to think about and just bringing a dog into your home without any planning or making important changes could be a disaster for you, the dog, and even your home. That’s why it’s best to take your time over the whole situation and ensure that you have everything in place before they arrive – in that way, you can just enjoy being with them and learning about who they are, and everything else is already dealt with. With that in mind, keep reading to find out a few of the things you’ll need to think about before your new dog arrives.
Your flooring might not even make the list of important things to think about when you’re assessing your home, but it’s actually one of the most important things you can consider, and if you do need to make changes (which you might), then it’s also potentially one of the more expensive and disruptive things you’ll need to do, which is why thinking about this well in advance is a good idea.
If you want to create a dog-friendly home, you’ll need flooring that’s easy to clean but that’s also durable, as it’s going to take a lot of wear and tear; think of a dog’s feet – their claws and paws make direct contact with the floor all the time, and that can cause damage if you don’t choose the right surface.
Some of the best surfaces to invest in when you have a dog are hardwood, laminate, and tile. Although these might seem as though they would be hard for your dog to walk on – they might be slippery, for example – they’ll soon get used to the floors in your home, and those floors are going to last much longer than carpet, for example. Plus, they’ll be a lot easier to clean, which is important if you consider anything from outside can be tracked inside on your dog’s feet and cause a mess.
Don’t Use White
Many people like using white in their interior design ideas. It’s chic and elegant, and it’s neutral too, and since we’re often told that neutral colors are best, it makes sense that so many people would have white in their homes that they can use as an ideal base for anything else they want to add.
That might be the case if you don’t have a dog, but if you do and you want your home to be more dog-friendly, using white is probably not such a great idea. In fact, white can be a real nightmare with a dog around because their fur and muddy paws will quickly turn it from white into something grubby and mucky, whether it’s your flooring, your furniture, your curtains, or even your walls, to some extent.
Instead of white, try something more dog-friendly that still looks great. Some options to think about could be grays, browns, greens, or perhaps even patterns that don’t show the dirt so much. You can also invest in slipcovers for your sofas and chairs because not only are they easy to clean when you need to, but you can also pick a variety of colors and patterns and change the look of your living room when the mood strikes – it’s dog-friendly and gives you the opportunity to make your room look just how you want it.
Get A Good Vacuum
One thing that can’t be avoided when you have a dog is mess; not only will their feet be dirty (sometimes more than others, depending on where they’ve been and what the weather’s like), but they’ll shed their fur all over the place as well. Unless you want your home to be furry and potentially grimy all the time, you’ll need to do a lot of cleaning, and that means investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner so it can do the job well.
It might be tempting to buy a cheap vacuum because it’s going to be picking up so much dog fur and that’s its main role, but if you buy cheap, it will likely get clogged up quickly, and might even stop working altogether because the motor can’t cope with the work you’re asking it to do. It’s far better to invest in a more expensive (and well-rated) machine and keep it for years rather than keep buying cheaper ones – in the end, it will only cost you more if you go for this option.
When you’re looking for the right vacuum, look for ones that have a special attachment for cleaning up after pets, and specifically getting fur and dander off your furniture and floors. Plus, you’ll also want to buy one with a HEPA filter (that stands for high-efficiency particulate air) which will remove tiny allergens from the air, improving your health and maybe even your dog’s health too.
Once you have your vacuum, you’ll need to use it on a regular basis, otherwise the mess will build up and the chore will become a much harder one that’s easier to put off, making things worse.
Install A Doggy Door
A doggy door is a great addition to your home as it means your dog can come and go as they like (of course, they’ll need a secure outside space to go to – they can’t just be allowed to wander the streets). This means you can get on with your own work or even leave the dog for short periods of time, and because they can go out when they need to, your home won’t have any problems. If a dog is left inside for too long, they might need to go to the toilet, for example, or they might get bored and start chewing things and making a mess; a doggy door can stop this from happening.
Even if you think you can’t have a doggy door because you don’t have what might be thought of as a traditional door to your yard, it’s not a problem; you can have a special dog door sliding door installed by professionals. Whatever your home setup is and whatever door you have, you can still make sure your dog has as much access to the garden as they’ll need.
Once your doggy door is installed, it’s wise to put a mat outside or some pet-safe artificial grass, for example. This makes a much more comfortable ‘landing’ area for your dog, and when they come back inside, some of the dirt from their feet will be wiped away. Some people even train their dogs to wipe their feet, so that’s another possible option – if you have the time to do it!
Keep Important Things Out Of Reach
Dogs are curious creatures by nature, and they’ll happily explore whatever they can get their paws on and noses into – although this keeps their brains stimulated and even gives them some physical exercise, it can also lead them into trouble, especially if they decide they want to chew or rip up things that are important to you. Not only would this be upsetting, but it could be dangerous for your dog too.
Because of this, you’ll need to take a good look around before your dog arrives and do a risk assessment about everything in your home. These will be things you never thought of as dangerous or as being at risk of damage before, so you’ll need to look objectively at your possessions and make sure you take everything into account.
Make sure that you move important (and potentially dangerous) things so that they’ll be out of reach of your dog – put them in cupboards and cabinets (with the addition of childproof locks to make sure no dog can get inside), or install shelving so you can store things at a higher level.
On the same note, you should always keep your dog’s toys, blankets, and other things they might want to play with in a place they can easily reach them. If they can get to their toys, they’ll usually decide to play with them, and they won’t go looking for anything else, meaning your home stays much safer, so your dog stays much happier.
Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
Cleaning is a crucial part of living anywhere, and as we’ve seen, if you have a dog, it’s probably more important than ever to do on a regular basis. However, if you’re using any kind of chemical cleaner to make your home look and smell good, it’s time to have a re-think if you also have a dog – those cleaners can be dangerous to them.
When you’re shopping, make sure you read the labels properly, and only buy cleaning products that have been certified as being safe for dogs – they’ll usually also be environmentally friendly products, which makes them even better anyway. If you can’t find anything or those products are out of your budget, why not make your own? You can combine normal household ingredients, like vinegar and baking soda, and create a natural cleaning solution that really works and won’t cause your dog any harm.