How to Protect Your Home From Pet Damage

Rod Lorenz

We love our dogs and cats, but our furniture and floors won't, unless we take certain precautions. Here’s what you can do to protect your home from pet damage:

Give Them Daily Exercise

An anxious or bored animal will be more likely to chew through the furniture. This is why dogs need to be walked at least once a day.

Also, both dogs and cats need regular time to play to stay active and to prevent them from taking out their nervous energy on your floors and rugs. 

Give Them Training

Give your pet basic training and commands. If you don't think you can train a pet on your own, there are many consultants and classes that can help you.

Limit Their Space to Roam

Crate training is popular with dog owners since it's a simple way to stop your pet from destroying things when you're not at home. 

Provide Scratching Alternatives 

You’re probably not going to crate-train a cat, so this means you need to find another way to keep them from destroying the furniture.

Train your cat to use a scratching post. If they start scratching the furniture, pick them up and put their paws on the scratching post, then give them a treat. Positive reinforcement works well both for cat training and dog training. 

Keep Pet Nails Trimmed

Scratches are the biggest concern when allowing pets on hardwood floors. The obvious solution is to keep the pets’ nails trimmed, which is also good for them. If you hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim!

Cats don’t usually walk with their nails out, but they can still scratch floors when chasing and roughhousing. To prevent this floor damage, as well as scratched-up furniture, some people go so far as to declaw their cats.

Choose a Hard Floor 

The harder a wood species is, the more it can resist damage from pets. So if you know your flooring will be exposed to pet nails, look for hardwood floors that rank fairly high on the Janka hardness scale. (Big dogs can even dent relatively soft woods while running through a home.)

Luxury vinyl tile and luxury vinyl planks are other great options because of their hardness.

Put Rugs in High-Traffic Areas

Remember that rugs aren’t just a beautiful way to accentuate the look of your floor; they protect against pet damage as well.

Use Mats

Even with modern finishes, plain water can damage hardwood floors if left too long. If your dog spreads a lot of water when drinking, try moving the water bowl to a non-wood surface, since a wet mat left on hardwood is also not a good idea. 

Kitty litter can also be damaging to a wood floor, so place a rug around litter boxes as well.

Clean Pet Urine Immediately

The acid in urine can damage the wood and finish if it stays for too long. Fortunately, if you clean the urine without delay, it shouldn’t be a problem. 

Pet urine and fecal odors aren’t just unpleasant; they can also confuse your pet, making them think that it’s okay to keep going in that place. This is why you need to buy an enzymatic cleaner from a local hardware or convenience store. Enzymatic cleaners contain bacteria that feed on the organic material and ammonia in pet waste (and vomit) to effectively remove odor.

In our blog next week, we'll discuss the best types of flooring for people who have indoor pets.

Image: Shutterstock

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