Cats and dogs, budgies and hamsters – pets enrich our lives in so many ways. But left to their own devices in a house not properly set up for them, they can also wreak havoc on a home. Even if you're not renovating, it's easy to make a few changes to your current set up to accommodate your pets and make living together that much more fun.
From pet doors through to flooring, adding a few extras to your home with your pets in mind will make everyday life that much easier. A lot of it comes down to the materials you use, especially for flooring. Going for hard wearing options and choosing products developed for heavy use and high traffic will mean your house will stand up to pet paws in the long run. For a basic set up that includes a cat or dog flap door and luxury vinyl flooring in the living, dining and kitchen areas, you should include roughly between £2,800 and £8,500 in your budget.
Higher budgets, of course, means more ability to renovate the layout and improve the flow of your home with your pets in mind. You can read more on these possibilities in "Pet-friendly renovations on a mid-range budget" and "High-end pet-friendly home renovations".
Safety first! As with children, having pets in the house means that you need to take a look at your surroundings with fresh eyes and secure everything at pet height. Power plugs and power cords are first up on the safety list, and it’s best to remove as many unnecessary cables as possible. Simple cable ties can help to minimise tripping hazards (and an invitation to chew). You can even fix cords to the walls behind furniture using Blu-Tack or a similar product, to keep them out of harm’s way. For plugs, child safety ‘plug fillers’ work well for pets too.
Keeping pets away from cleaning products and any other toxic substances or hazardous items is of course a major concern. An easy, low cost fix is to simply secure cupboards and drawers with child safety locks. For your garage you could get or build a lockable storage unit that can keep all nasties nicely out of your pet’s way.
Scratch marks on a newly renovated floor are the last thing anyone wants to see, so it pays to consider options and materials. Many pets shed hair, so apart from scratches, it’s also a consideration as to how visible pet hair will be and how easy the floor material is to clean and maintain.
Luxury vinyl flooring and vinyl tiles are popular options for pet owners as they are cost-effective and highly durable. They are easy to maintain and resistant to moisture, scratches and dents. As an added bonus they also soften the sound of your dog’s nail when it walks across the floor. Cork is also a good choice.
Tiles work well with pets as they won’t show scratches easily and allow for spills and accidents to be cleaned up without any problems. Tiles are hard and cold, however, so consider using pet-friendly rugs and pet ‘beds’ or baskets. If your budget stretches a bit further, you could install underfloor heating.
Finally, carpets are usually not an ideal choice when living with pets. They are easily damaged by pets and will show stains. You could consider installing carpets only in bedrooms where pet access is limited. And if you do decide to go for the undoubtedly cost factor of carpet flooring, make sure you opt for a carpet without loops, as pet nails can get caught and cause damage.
Ensure the bowls you choose are large enough for your pet and can hold the right amount of food and water. Stainless steel bowls are a great choice, as they are durable and be easily sanitised. Most styles have a rubber bottom to prevent the bowl from moving around. There are electronic feeders and water stations on the market, which conveniently provide your pet with the right amount of food and continuous, clean water. If you have a wooden flooring in the area where you are placing your food and water bowls, ensure you place a mat or tray underneath them to prevent stains.
Elevating bowls off the ground can help improve pet posture and digestion. Raised bowls also make life easier for older dogs and help prevent spills. You can buy a selection of different styles of raised dog food bowls or build your own. If you are feeding your dogs at a set time, you could opt to store away bowls during the day, hide them inside a pantry or integrate them into a set of bottom drawers in your kitchen or laundry.
The best form of protection is prevention – trying to give your pet, especially dogs, plenty of regular exercise, a nice spot to relax and chewable toys. Should you pet still chew or scratch your furniture despite your best efforts, you may need to consider placing them in a special ‘pet room’, for example an empty bedroom with toys and a pet bed just for them, or a safe and enclosed garden while you’re away from home.
To stop cats from scratching it’s best to provide an alternative, such as a dedicated and store-bought scratch and climbing tree, or build your own personalised ‘scratch pad’ with wood, rope and upholstered resting spots. Cats often like to perch up high, so depending on your interior design plans, you could build in some quirky and stylish high shelves for them, or provide them with a way to get up on top of an existing bookshelf.
But even with normal behaviour there will be more wear and tear. You can get slip covers for your furniture, or use accessories that are easily washable, such as throws and blankets for your pets to lay on – it’s a nice way of injecting a bit of colour into your home.
Cotton and linen are often used in upholstery. While they can be washed and spot cleaned, they do tend to show dirt and paw prints easily. Leather is typically a better choice for pet owners, as hair and spots can be cleaned off better. Velvet is a great option with a cat in the house; it’s not woven like linen or cotton so the claws can’t get stuck and pull out threads.
Pet doors are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it will be up to functionality and your interior and exterior design tastes to choose the right pet door for your home. It’s easy to overestimate the size of your cat and dog, so getting some advice on the right sized door can help you save money.
Manual flap doors are the simplest and most affordable option. Most of them do the job just fine, but it pays to check how easily it will blow open and how well it seals. Electronic pet doors allow you to control access using a pet microchip or tag on their collar, meaning inly your cat or dog can enter the house. Depending on the model you are looking at, you can program the door to suit several pets and even allow some pets to leave the house, while keeping others inside. It’s a great choice if you have some money to spare.
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*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.