Whether they’re covered in fur, feathers or tuck themselves away in a shell, animals play a huge part in our lives. For pet owners, they’re by our side every day. Whether they're widening their eyes when hoping to be fed or cuddling on the sofa, we love our four-legged friends.
Bringing an animal companion home to share your space is wonderful, but unfortunately it can come with risks. While they may not mean to, having pets can cause damage to your home, so it’s important to know how to proof your home against cats, dogs and any other pets you have.
Common damage and pet proofing
The type of damage your home is most at risk of depends on your pet. While some are proud owners of rabbits, parrots or guinea pigs, the most common pets in the home are cats and dogs . Knowing the type of damage your furry friend is most likely to cause can help you prevent it.
Pet proofing against cats
When it comes to cats, they love flexing their claws and dragging them along something robust. This can be incredibly frustrating and annoying for owners, especially when no amount of telling them off makes any difference. Save your breath and get them something they’re allowed to scratch instead.
Invest in a good, sturdy scratching post that won’t topple over and can take some aggressive clawing. If it isn’t strong enough, they’ll soon turn back to their well-loved carpets or sofas.
It’s also a good idea to put it where you’re sure they’ll find it – usually where they’ve been scratching previously. You can also gently take their paws and wipe it across the post to cover it in your cat’s scent and make it clear what it’s for.
In some cases, cats can cause damage to your home by urinating. This happens either for territorial reasons or when they’re feeling anxious. Once cats start to spray, they tend to return to the same place regularly. Neutering or spaying your cat can solve this problem but not always.
If this isn’t an option or you’ve already done it, there are other ways to stop your cat urinating in the house.
- Clean the area with a solution of biological or enzymatic washing liquid .
- Buy tall scratching posts or trees so your cat can have its own space
- Clean the litter tray more often and make sure you’re saving some of the old litter to go in the fresh tray
- Move their food bowl to the area – cats won’t want to urinate where they eat
- Check with the vet that there are no underlying health problems
Proofing your home against dogs and cats can save you money down the line
Pet proofing against dogs
If you have a dog, it’s probably their chewing that causes you the most difficulty. Gnawing their teeth against something good keeps them healthy, comforts them and helps them relax.
To stop your four-legged friend chewing up your furniture, buy them new chew toys regularly. Try one that isn’t too small or has large holes, as these can be dangerous for your dog and make sure you’re around to watch your dog when they first get it.
If your dog chews and causes damage in your home when left alone, it is likely because they are struggling with separation anxiety.
While pet owners obviously can’t spend all their time with their pets, dogs depend on human company so should not be left alone for more than a few hours at a time , and this may be even less if you have a young or anxious dog.
Make sure you or someone else has time to check in on them while you’re at work, taking them out for a walk and giving them some much needed attention.
Making sure your dog is getting enough exercise is another way to prevent unwanted chewing. Dogs will start to gnaw quickly if they’re bored so make sure they are getting enough opportunities to get rid of their energy.
Dogs vs Cats – which are worse?
The most common argument regarding cats and dogs amongst humans is which is better. Are you a cat person or a dog person? It’s a good thing to know when considering which animal will best suit your lifestyle, but it’s also be worth looking at which is most likely to cause damage to your home.
Whether it’s scratching the legs of your kitchen table or knocking drinks onto light coloured carpets, cats can cause damage to your home. However, dogs tend to take the lead.
As dogs generally get more excited and are more emotional than cats , there’s more chance of them knocking over furniture or having an accident when frightened. Additionally, dogs who are prone to chewing can take it out on anything, from phones and cushions to sofa seats and tables. In contrast to scratches made by cats, having chunks bitten out of your furniture is much more expensive to repair.
If you’re set on having your own tail-wagging companion, be aware that you may need to rethink your lifestyle for at least a few weeks until they get used to your space and what’s acceptable. This might involve crate training your pup or just taking the time to teach them what they can and can’t chew. If you want something more low maintenance and don’t have the time to train a dog, then a cat might be a better friend for you.
Do you claim on house pet insurance for damage?
While your pet insurance will help you cover the costs of unexpected emergencies, it won’t normally cover damage to your home.
To find out more about different types of insurance and what damage they protect against, speak to our team at LV=.