Creating A Pet-friendly Home

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Creating a pet-friendly interior makes home life with dogs and cats a bit easier. Your pets are a part of your family. You care for them and they give you joy. And some accommodations in your home are quite necessary when you have these particular pets. They roam around your house, often wherever they want to, so it’s best to make spaces for them. In and around the home, they need a place to sleep, ready access to water, and a place to eat. Besides some training, you also need to make sure they stay clean. And put preventative measures in place for any toilet accidents or furniture damage incidents.

A pet-friendly home is a happy home.

I’ve selected some items from 4APet that I reckon will be assets to your home and make your pets feel special. If you click through the links and buy, Design Elements will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for the support. There’s a full disclaimer on the Legal Stuff page. It may happen that when you’re reading this, 4Apet has no stock of the item, BUT… You can Pre-order it to be the first to get it when their stock comes in. Please note that 4APet is a South African e-commerce site and they ship nationally and internationally.

Some of the items are on my own shopping list that I am planning to get for my doggy, Piper. Some things would be perfect for other fur-kid parents I know. I’ve also included some items I wish I’d had when we had our cat. Let’s look at cleanliness, sleeping arrangements and accessories.

Piper (Photo by Shawn Looyen)

Piper is my beautiful hooligan dog. She’s a Boxer, and she loves to be part of the action (even if that’s sitting on the couch). But, I’m not fond of pet hair – it makes my skin crawl. Try keeping a Boxer off a couch, though. We’ve at least trained her to lay on only one end of it on a blanket.

Dogs are loyal pack animals. They like to hang out with their family, (and Boxers more than most breeds). They will follow you around your home and settle down to stay near to you, even outside the bathroom door. Piper likes to be near me during the day, but she’ll occasionally go visit Dad in his home office for a bit. Boxers love all their hoomans. When our son is watching tv, she’s usually next to him on the sofa. And she likes to lie down on the rug in his room when we do bedtime stories.

Good Hygiene For A Pet-friendly Home

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

The first step to a pet-friendly home is keeping your pets clean and neat. Keeping your fur kids clean will prevent odours and you’ll have to wash their bedding a bit less. Bathing frequency is breed dependent though, so please research your dog’s hygiene needs.

Make sure you:

  • Bathe your pets (Shampoo and water for dogs. Cats may get a bit upset with you, but if they’re full of mud or something, you’ll have to.)
  • Brush their hair (preempt hair fall by regularly brushing your pet).
  • Clean your clothing or furniture with Hair Rollers (remove pet hair from clothes and furniture).
  • Clip your dog’s nails or take them to a groomer (please do not declaw your cats).
  • Keep a towel at every entrance (on rainy days) to clean your dog’s paws.
  • Use a Pet hair vacuum cleaner (if you have even one dog this is a must – sweeping the living areas every day will get old fast).
  • Have pee training pads for dodgy doggy messes.
  • Find a way to enclose the cat litter box (if you know, you know).
  • Clean your rugs regularly.

Fur Management

I’ve chosen two options of the lovely shampoo options 4APet stocks. One is the normal type used with water. There’s also a dry shampoo option for between washes… or if you have a cat that will claw the ever-loving hell out of you if you try and put them in a bath. You can also sprinkle dry shampoo on their bedding to keep it fresh.

Natural Pet Dry skin Shampoo: https://4apet.co.za/products/natura-pets-dry-skin-pets-shampoo-oatmeal-vanilla?_pos=4&_sid=b15510620&_ss=r&ref=DesignElements22

Natural Pet Dry shampoo: https://4apet.co.za/products/pets-dry-pet-shampoo-2?ref=DesignElements22&variant=31580550070354

If you have a cat, you know their hair clings to clothing and bedding. Dog fur is not much better. Get a hair remover that will help you manage errant fur leavings. It will help you keep your outfit, furniture, and even carpet, hair free. This one’s definitely on my shopping list.

Sonic Pet Hair Remover: https://4apet.co.za/products/sonic-pet-hair-remover?ref=DesignElements22&variant=40692656242871.

Reduce the amount of hair your pets leave all around the house by regularly brushing them. This is especially important at the end of Winter as their coats begin to shed. Some breeds need daily brushing to prevent their fur from matting or dropping all over your home. Research your dog’s grooming requirements. Following the breed grooming recommendations will make cleaning your home so much easier.

This brush claims to reduce shedding by up to 90%. I’m keen to try it as Piper’s hair seems to be all over our tiled floors this Spring… 15 minutes after cleaning. Pet Grooming Brush: https://4apet.co.za/products/pet-grooming-brush?ref=DesignElements22&variant=42186461413631

Got a robot vacuum cleaner? Do not set it to clean while you are out unless it will be in a closed room your pets can’t access. You don’t want to come home and discover the Roomba has smeared an accident all over your floors. I may burn the house down if that happens. I’d rather stick to a proper wet & dry vacuum cleaner that’s built for pet dander. I’m currently searching for one, so let me know in the comments if you’ve found a gem.

Keep a towel by your door for when pup has to go out in the rain. I’ve trained mine to stop for a towel-down when she comes in the door. The phrase “Dirty paws” gets her to stand still and lift her paws, in turn, for us to clean her up. We always get a little ‘thank you’ kiss from her after we’ve rubbed all the rainwater and mud off.

Washable rugs are a must even if you don’t have dust-mite allergies. Unless you’re getting the carpet cleaners in once a month, having rugs that you can clean yourself is key. There are some on the market that are machine washable or make sure you can use a wet & dry vac on other types.

Toilet Time

Do you have a puppy or an elderly dog with incontinence issues? Get your puppy used to doing their business on grass or Astro with a grassy pee pad. Your old dog will thank you for making their toilet easier to reach in time. These can be easily hosed down, and they save your floors from messes.

Mrs Pooch Puppy Training Grass: https://4apet.co.za/products/puppy-training-grass-100-x-100cm?ref=DesignElements22&variant=42636581339391

Cat litter boxes should be shut away somehow. Whether you have dogs as well or small children, you don’t want either of them digging around in that box. Even if all you have is cats, it’s still a good idea to give them a private loo compartment. The best solution I’ve ever seen is to put the litter box inside a cupboard of some sort. The cupboard door should have a cat flap and a lock/latch on the door. This solution will prevent cats from kicking cat litter all over your floor. Enclosing the cat litter box will also help to keep the smell contained. Some sort of ventilation is a good idea. You can open the door to clean the litter tray.

If you don’t have a suitable cupboard, there is a super cheap and easy solution. Put the litter tray in a cardboard box (with the lid closed), and cut a high hole in one side for the kitty to get in and out. We did this when we had a cat. This isn’t the prettiest solution for your home though, so I would tuck it away in some back area. A deep plastic container box with a lid could also work – as long as the litter box fits in and kitty has enough headroom. You’d still have to cut a high hole in one side. I say a ‘high’ hole so that the cat litter doesn’t get kicked out easily. Cats tend to scratch out a hole to do their toiletries in and can make a big mess in the process.

This litter box with the high sides would also be a great help to keep the cat litter inside the box, but I’d still put it inside a cupboard. Cat Litter Box With Scoop: https://4apet.co.za/products/cat-litter-box-with-scoop-assorted-colours?ref=DesignElements22&variant=40371871416503

Storing Your Pet’s Stuff

Photo by Kaboompics

Instead of letting dog or cat toys lay around randomly on the floor or in the garden, coral them in a basket in your living area. It’s the same reasoning as with kids and their toys – if your pets can’t see them all the time, they’ll be more interested in playing with them when they do.

Storing your pet’s food in an airtight container is important to keep it fresh. Cats especially don’t like stale food – I’m convinced that’s why they want their bowls filled up 20 times a day. We decant Piper’s food into clip-lid storage boxes instead of the bag of dog food hanging out by the kitchen door. If 2 or 3 boxes are filled, you only need to keep one accessible in your pantry cupboard or laundry room at all times – the rest can be safely tucked away in the garage/shed.

Somewhere For Your Pet To Sleep

Your dog should be sleeping inside the house at night. Between cold nights, burglars, and dog thieves, it’s a much safer option for your whole family. My dog actually stays inside with us all day, unless she wants to sun herself on the lawn or go out to bark at the gate. When we go out, she stays in the house and seems to prefer it that way – we’ve left her outside in the past and she’s been quite destructive in the garden. She’s never destructive in the house.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Pet Beds

If you don’t want your pooch on the furniture, it’s best to give them specific resting spots so they know where they’re permitted to lounge. Place some sort of bed in every room they’re likely to follow you to (or a blanket). They’ll be quite happy to have their very own little bed and less likely to jump onto yours.

Put your cat’s bed in a cosy nook or a sunny napping spot. They’ll enjoy having their very own space to slink away to.

4APet has multiple options, but I’ve selected three to show you how cute pet beds can be.

The above three pet bed options are all suitable for cats or smaller dogs. The Cooper looks like a mini couch (I wish it was big enough for Piper, but I’m hoping they get bigger ones soon). The monochromatic Pyramid would look super cute in a kid’s bedroom for their best friend to hang out with them in. And the Jug has pompoms for kitty to play with and high sides for your furball can snuggle down in.

Rex Cooper Bed: https://4apet.co.za/collections/pet-accessories/products/rex-cooper-light-grey-pet-bed-post?ref=DesignElements22&variant=42972679012607

Rex Pyramid Comfy Pet Bed: https://4apet.co.za/collections/pet-accessories/products/rex-pyramid-comfy-pet-bed?ref=DesignElements22&variant=42889362899199

Rex Jug Bed: https://4apet.co.za/products/pet-jug-bed-for-pets-rex?ref=DesignElements22&variant=42751962841343 

Photo by Carissa Weiser on Unsplash

Your Furniture

If your pets are going to be on your furniture, they should be upholstered with ‘Performance fabrics’. These are fabrics that will hold up well to wear and tear and many washes. If your sofa/armchair style allows, add a slip-cover that you can remove for easy cleaning. Upholsterers can usually make you one that matches the couch’s fabric.

Add a throw on your leather couch to protect it from claws and licking. Or try to have an occasional chair for their ‘spot’ to keep them off the main sofa. The chair strategy worked well with the family dog I grew up with.

We don’t like to have dogs on the beds in our house so we restrict Piper’s access to the bedrooms. For us, this is as simple as keeping bedroom doors closed when we go out and at night. During the day she’s happy to lay on her own bed next to my desk. You could restrict access to a bedroom section using a baby gate

Accessories For A Pet-friendly Home

Piper dunks her whole snout in her water bowl when she’s revved up, (it happens often). She then proceeds to splash and drip all over the floor. Is your dog a sloppy drinker? I’m sure most dogs end up dripping water all over the floor. And then you either stand on it while wearing socks, or the dog has a slightly sandy paw and ends up tracking muddy pawprints through the house. If only there was a bowl that could somehow prevent the water from messing all around the bowl… *ahem* So, 4APet has this bowl that I can’t wait to get for Piper. It prevents messes and slows the dog down when they drink. It has a special floating disc that regulates the amount of water available. See below.

We don’t have a cat now, but we have in the past. And I would really recommend placing scratching posts near upholstered furniture. You may need to gently correct them a few times if they’re used to clawing the couch, but cats can learn. Give kitty a treat for scratching on the post just like you would train a puppy. You may have to be extra patient when training a cat, but they do eventually get the point. These scratchers from 4APet have pompoms tantalizingly dangling for your feline friend to bat their paws at. And one has a cosy hammock on top for lazing in.

Get the above accessories from 4APet through the following links:

Rex No-spill Water Bowl: https://4apet.co.za/products/rex-no-spill-pet-water-fountain-bowl?_pos=9&_sid=4881650ac&_ss=r&ref=DesignElements22

Rex 2-Pole Tower Pet Scratcher: https://4apet.co.za/products/rex-2-pole-tower-pet-scratcher-post-beige?_pos=13&_sid=4881650ac&_ss=r&ref=DesignElements22

Rex Rolling Paw Cat Scratcher: https://4apet.co.za/products/rolling-paw-cat-scratcher-black-rex?ref=DesignElements22&variant=43484742156543

Loving Your Pet-friendly Home

Here are some last little tidbits to remember when creating a pet-friendly home:

Flooring

Hard floors are best when you have dogs. Tiles, faux wood vinyl, hardwood, or poured cement flooring are all more durable than wall-to-wall carpets. Laminate wood floors will scratch up, unless you regularly clip your dog’s nails (this can be tricky though, so I’d recommend a groomer for this task. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you can cut a vein in their claw).

Cats will scratch their claws on carpets, and some may pee on them too… you really don’t want that to happen. When I was a teen my neighbour’s cat marked the new carpet in her room just after they moved in (the same month we did). It was a real struggle for them to clean it. We’re in a warm climate, we don’t really need carpeted floors – stick to the more durable option and add loose rugs. Underfloor heating can be put in before you put new flooring down if you really need warm floors.

Your Pet Is Part Of Your Family

Your pet relies on you as a toddler would rely on a parent. Think of them as a little 3-year-old that can learn at that level, but also needs similar care. They also want to spend a lot of time with you, which usually means being inside your home and hanging out where you are. A lot of dogs now have separation anxiety, especially after Lockdown. You were home with them for months and then suddenly you weren’t. Piper was less than a year old when Lockdown happened, so she’s quite attached to us. We’re all very lucky that both my husband and I work from home.

If you do need to leave your dog home for the day, there are a lot of products that keep their minds occupied while you’re out (I don’t think cat’s care). Try this Snuffle Mat https://4apet.co.za/products/pet-snuffle-mat?ref=DesignElements22 to keep them busy for a bit. It’s good for foraging tiny treats.

Setting your home up for pet-friendly success will be a definite boon to your home life. Figure out the best ways to live in harmony with your pets so that living with animals in your home is a true joy rather than tedious and sometimes irritating.

Photo by Adam Kuylenstie on Unsplash

I’m so grateful you’ve read this post all the way to the end. I’d like to gift you a discount at 4APet (or 4AKid). Use the Coupon code DESIGNELEMENTS at checkout and you’ll receive your 10% discount. Happy shopping!

Blessings, Chantal

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7 thoughts on “Creating A Pet-friendly Home”

  1. I don’t currently have a dog, but I definitely agree on the things you suggested. When I had a dog he had his own dog bed and his own set of towels for rainy days. I wish I knew about the dry shampoo back then because he hated bath time!

  2. Hey Chantal, great post! Well designed and the items are all well displayed. We used to have a Chocolate Lab, and we miss him dearly. Pets bring so much life to a home. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great tips, and I will definitely be getting a pet hair vacuum when our current one is done – pet hair EVERYWHERE! Thanks for the tip about brushing too, will have to try that.

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