How to maintain your home when you have pets
A man’s character can be judged by how he treats animals, and as most pet parents know, all animals deserve to be loved and cared for as much as any member of the family. Before deciding to have any animal in your home, make sure you have the time, space, and resources to ensure all its needs are met. Pets aren’t just there for our amusement; they are living creatures that have the right to live comfortable and happy lives just like any human being.
READ MORE: How to actually clean your home
All of us want to live in a clean and beautiful environment, and much as we want to have pristine spaces and furniture in perfect condition, there are always challenges to living with pets. Here are some tips to ensure that both you and your pet are happy at home.
Consider what type of furniture you buy when you have pets in your home. Leather furniture is ideal if you have dogs; it is not advisable for those with cats as their claws can easily leave holes and scratch marks. Suede or microfiber covered pieces are a more prudent choice. As with most furry animals, hair and pet dander will always be a potential problem because they cling to most surfaces. If any member of your family has asthma or any respiratory condition, this might pose a problem. If you have fabric-upholstered pieces, there are different methods to remove hair from surfaces. Lint removers are a great option if your pet sheds a lot. If you have time (and patience), a roll of tape is a cheap, albeit time-consuming, option. Another way to remove fur from fabric is to dampen rubber gloves and run them over the area. Static electricity will do the work, and all you need to do is wash it off when it’s covered with fur. For those of you who have wood furniture, simply wipe down with a damp cloth for easy cleaning. Just make sure you dry any excessively wet surface after.
Protect furniture legs from scratches by providing scratching posts for cats, or temporarily wrapping a leg or surface with foil (remember that cats should never be de-clawed, for any reason whatsoever). Bite marks from dogs can also be a problem, especially if they are young or teething. Call out unwanted behavior immediately so your pet learns not to destroy or chew on things, or simply provide chew bones and toys for them to play with. Praise good behavior to reinforce it. Bad behavior is usually caused by stress or boredom, so make sure you are aware of what the problem is so you can address it properly.
Rugs or carpets may be cleaned with a vacuum. Go over all areas twice to make sure pet fur is properly removed. Hardwood and engineered wood floors can be dry mopped. Ceramic or non-porous natural stone tiles can simply be washed. If your pet soils an area, clean it immediately and disinfect it (there are a lot of natural options available that don’t pose a danger to pets) before wiping and drying off. Never use vinegar to clean an area as the strong smell can encourage your pet to ‘mark’ the area again. Most animals will continue to urinate in a spot where their scent lingers. Litter boxes, puppy pads, and even newspapers are advisable to have on hand, but you can also housetrain and teach your pets to go at a specific time and place with patience, practice, and positive reinforcement.
Sheets, rugs, towels, and most fabrics and coverings can be hand-washed or thrown in the washing machine. Just make sure to check care instructions beforehand to avoid damaging anything. To get rid of stubborn pet-stains or odors, add baking soda to your detergent, then wash and dry as usual.
Provide sleeping and eating areas, and a ‘bathroom’ for your furry friends. Doggie beds, boxes, or crates covered with an old towel or piece of cloth will give your pet a place to call its own. Designate spots for eating/drinking and going to the bathroom, and make sure they are away from each other.
Get to know your pets, allot time for them, and feed them properly. Provide routine, discipline accordingly, and consult your neighborhood veterinarian when needed. Never subject animals to stressful environments or situations. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to care for pets, so give them the love they desever.
Remember: adopt, don’t shop!