Pet-Friendly Homes

Posted on January 21, 2022 Categories: Home Improvements, Looking After Your Home Tags: , , , ,

Most of us can agree that pets give us a greater quality of life, so the least we can do is look after them the best we can when we welcome a new furry friend into our homes and families. How do you decide what kind of animal is right for you, your family and your property though? Even if you’ve decided on a specific animal, you need to consider if your home would be right for them. Read on to discover out how you can make your house a home for any new furry or scaled friends:

Gardens Space

If you have or are considering a dog and want to allow them in the garden, first make sure that all your garden is fully secure so that they can’t escape. Dogs can easily dig holes, make existing ones larger or a weaken fence panel break. Dogs tend to make a lot of mess in the garden, so consider sectioning off an area just for them. Playing with toys or a garden water feature can be fun for them outside, as long as they’re supervised. It is also important to ensure that you set aside time to regularly tidy up after them to keep your garden clean and safe.

If you keep smaller pets outside, such as chickens, guinea pigs or rabbits, make sure they are sheltered. Safe and secure enclosures such as hutches or pens give these pets their own space, while protecting them from bad weather and predators like foxes. With small animals or poultry, you will want them to be able to have their own outdoors space, you can purchase specially designed runs or alternatively make your own. It is important however to remember that many most animals like to dig and may escape if you do not have a suitable enclosure.

Before introducing animals into your garden or new home it is advisable to do a thorough safety check of the area including any potential plants that may be harmful to them (this includes house plants). If in doubt you can easily check them online on website like the RHS.

House Space for Pets

Pets need their own space in your home, just as members of your human family want their own bedrooms or office spaces. Everyone likes to have their own safe place. It is important to show a new pet that they have one to retreat to when they are brought into a new place for the first time. It’s especially important to reassure them when you move to somewhere different and unfamiliar. It can be scary when they don’t know what is happening with their surroundings, belongings and family.

Small furry friends such as rabbits and hamsters, as well as reptilian pets, are easier to settle into a new home, as long as their normal home is setup correctly for them. Cats and dogs on the other hand, may have a whole house to explore unless you choose to section it off with baby gates or room dividers. It is a good to give them their own areas especially to begin with either in a new to them home or when you move to a new property as this can provide them with security, reassurance and also assist you with keeping your home tidy and organised.

Dog Space

Dogs are very active animals, so giving them some of toys that they can play with inside the house can provide a positive distraction. It allows them to amuse themselves while they chew on it or play by themselves rather than damage your home or furniture.

Dogs normally like to have their own bed to lie on, rather than the hard or cold ground. If your dog has full access to the house and isn’t restricted from anywhere, you could consider putting a bed in each room the dog visits, so that they can lie down comfortably while you’re doing your own activities in that room.

It is also possible to build or purchase dog beds and pens built into furniture, under stairs and in other locations so they have a secure place and you can still keep your home tidy. These can look quite attractive and also are not quite as messy as an old blanket on the floor.

Cat Space

Cats also like their own beds, blankets or own space to sleep. One good investment is definitely a scratching post, ideally one that’s part of a bigger activity frame. These can also include dangly toys that are fun for them to play with and hiding holes that cats can retreat to, either for quiet time or to sleep, making them a fun area just for your feline.

To further add to a cat’s desired independence, install a cat flap in a door or window so that they can come and go from the home as they please once they become familiar with their own home. Some people especially those with house cats also consider cat runs that go from the main house to a restrict outside area for exercise.

Your Furniture, Not Theirs

Pets may provide challenges to people who strive to maintain perfectly tidy homes. They can scratch things up, track in mud and go to the toilet indoors. While you can buy sofa covers or behaviour corrector sprays, there are other tricks you can carry out

Dogs like to feel as though they are part of a pack, so naturally, they will want to sit alongside you on the sofa, or lie in your bed with you. If you’re fine with this, it should be quite easy to welcome them up there beside you and have them settle down. However, if you do not want them to do this, try sitting on the floor with them and settling them down there. Once they are relaxed, they should stay in place and you can return to your bed or sofa peacefully.

You may have to do this a few times before the dog sees it as routine, but they should learn quite fast, as long as you don’t break these rules by letting them up on furniture sometimes – it becomes confusing for the animal if you do this. Alternatively consider assigning them their own armchair or section of a sofa with their own blanket on it.

Cats also like to scratch carpets and furniture such as sofas to keep their claws sharp and to exercise the muscles in their legs. To try and deter them from this, you should invest in a scratching post. If you catch your cat trying to scratch your floor or furniture, gently pick them up and move them over to the scratching post, encouraging them to use that instead. If you don’t have space for a post, you can buy scratching pads that attach to the wall. It is also possible to discover them with the use of either commercial or homemade sprays like pepper that can discourage them.

Local Parks and Walking Areas

Owning a dog can be a great excuse to get out of the house, get some exercise and socialise, for yourself as well as your canine. If you are house hunting and looking to move areas this is definitely something you should consider when looking at the local area. You will want to discover local parks, dog parks and footpaths or bridleways for explore with your canine friend.

In terms of finding other places, Walkiees is an excellent website that offers a list of locations where you can take your dog and some facts about them, giving you the option to search the area of your choice. It also lets you know whether you can walk your dog on or off lead in certain places. Additionally, if you are on Facebook, your local community group page should be able to suggest some good places to visit or even have its own dog walking group you can join, based on their experiences as dog owners in the area. You can also explore your nearest town and find out which cafes or pubs are dog friendly, if you want their walk to be part of your own daily activities.

Location, Location, Location

If you want to buy a pet, not only do you need to consider what kind of animal would best fit in with your life, but what kinds of animals would also do well in the area where you live. If you live in a city with lots of busy roads for example, you may need to carefully think through the idea of getting a cat.

Letting a cat outside for the first time can be scary. The worry of them getting lost, hit by a car or accidentally locked in someone’s garden shed are all very real fears. First, make sure that you kitten is old enough (at least five months old) and fully vaccinated (and neutered, if chosen) before you let them out for the first time, or if you have adopted an older cat, give them a couple of weeks to settle into your home before introducing them to the outside world. Make sure that your cat is wearing a reflective or glow-in-the-dark collar with your phone number on it and that they are microchipped.

You may need to seek permission if you want to bring other animals such as chickens to your home, even if you own your property. It is always worth checking your property deeds and even speaking to your neighbours. Not everyone will appreciate chickens, as they can be quite noisy in the mornings.

Small Furry Friends

While cats and dogs are the usual choices for family pets, don’t underestimate the value smaller furry animals can bring into your lives too. If you want a pet but maybe have limited space or time you could consider other smaller pets to keep indoors, why not consider a hamster, chinchilla, mouse, rat, degu, ferret or gerbil? Each has great things to offer in their own right, all of them sociable while living in cages or enclosed spacing of some kind, so they aren’t as dominating as cats or dogs in the home.

This can be more practical for people who live in smaller properties, such as flats or bungalows. Animal charities such as the Blue Cross and the RSPCA can offer information and advice on owning these animals, so you can read through what they have to say and find out which one may be most suitable for you or your family. 

Fishy & Reptile Friends

Fish or reptiles aren’t always valued as highly as other pets, because they can’t be fussed like other animals. However, fish with their beautiful colours and near constant movement around their tanks, fish can be very relaxing to watch. They can also be relatively low-maintenance, which gives them an advantage over other pets, particularly for people wanting pets who live in smaller spaces. Reptiles also make interesting pets with a little research and training. However, because reptiles aren’t traditionally as domestic as other animals, they have more specialised needs.

When you buy fish or reptiles, it’s very important that you buy the right sized tank for them, consider where their tank will be located (out of direct sunlight), and ensure that you access to the necessary electrical points to keep their tank running smoothly. You may need to consider filters, lighting and heaters. When you move home you will also need to consider the logistics associated with moving them. Although with careful planning it is possible to do this yourself there are also specialist companies that provide support and assistance with this if you are moving any distance.

Alternatively, you could always keep fish in a garden pond, which gives them more space and requires less cleaning than a tank. A functioning pond can also be a focal point in your garden as well as attract wildlife such as frogs, which can add to the experience of owning fish.

Pets like chameleons, snakes, tortoises and geckos are all examples of exciting reptiles you could have as a pet. The World Animal Protection reported recently on providing homes in the UK and on what is making many reptile pets miserable, such as their dislike of being handled, the wrong diet and bad lighting. If you are set on adopting a reptile, make sure that you are fully considering the needs of that specific creature and if you can meet them.

Accidental Dangers

There are some things we encounter in our everyday lives that are harmless to us but can be fatal to our pets. A key example of this is rat poison or slug bait in outhouses or gardens. If you put down any poisons or traps to deter unwanted creatures, keep your pets away from those areas.

While flowers are lovely to have in the home, you need to consider which you are choosing to display, especially if you have a cat around. Many common flowers are harmful to cats, and if ingested at all, the cat could die from their poison. Flowers such as lilies and daffodils are commonly known to be dangerous, but here is a full list from Cats Protection of others you need to watch out for, as well as which ones are safe.

All animals love their food, but dogs particularly like to scrounge and eat whatever they can kind. Always try to make sure that you’ve tidied your worktops and cleaned your floor if necessary, after preparing food, to avoid your dog eating anything they shouldn’t, such as chocolate and grapes.

Conclusion

With these tips, you should be able to go forth and make the necessary adjustments to your current or future home before bringing a new pet into it or moving, as well as changes that can improve the happiness of your current pets.

However, the suitability of your home is only one thing to consider when going to buy a pet. Remember that owning one is a big responsibility to take on. The require time, love, attention and training, as well as cleaning and feeding them which can be costly. If you are willing to put in the work in and have done your research on the specific animals you want in your life, including reading this article, then you’re just about ready to go out and get them.

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