Cats, dogs and other pets bring companionship to your home, but as every pet owner knows, animals can also create problems. Even though you love your pets, you know how frustrating it is to deal with problematic behaviors.
At one point or another, you have probably had to clean up after your pet, repair items they have damaged around the house or even replace parts of your home, altogether.
Despite all the ways pets can damage – and even ruin – certain areas of your home, dealing with a bit of damage will likely not cause you to give up your pets anytime soon, especially when you consider them part of the family. However, you may want to take a few steps to mitigate the damage caused by animals in your home. Below, learn about the 10 most common types of issues pets can cause, and discover tips for managing your pets’ behavior to reduce damage around the home.
1. Scratching Floors and Baseboards
Most pet owners know that animals can easily destroy carpeting by scratching at it or ripping up the edges, not to mention urinating on it. However, hard floors are susceptible to damage as well in their own way. Untrimmed nails can leave scratches on linoleum, hardwood and even tiles. Wooden baseboards are also a favorite item to chew on, especially for puppies.
You can easily reduce the damage pets inadvertently do to the floor by keeping their nails trimmed. Nails that are too sharp or long are far likelier to cause issues than well-maintained nails.
2. Chewing on Walls
When cats and dogs scratch or even chew on walls, it is usually a cosmetic issue. However, pets can easily take it too far, creating holes and scratching paint so badly that you need to patch the drywall or repaint. Dogs are more likely than cats to chew through drywall, but cats can create just as much damage by scratching. Usually when a dog chews on your walls, it is a symptom of anxiety or boredom. Try to figure out what the root problem is, and address it by going through more training, or giving your dog a toy that provides more stimulation than the wall.
3. Scratching and Chewing on Furniture
Cats and dogs, alike, may destroy your furniture if they are bored or need something to scratch on. Dogs can usually be trained verbally to avoid the furniture, but cats are not so easy. A spray bottle filled with water may be necessary to get cats to avoid scratching your items. It is also a good idea to give your animals something acceptable to scratch or chew. Cats oftentimes benefit from a scratching post, while dogs can be distracted and entertained by a chew toy that holds treats inside.
Related Article: Dog Safe Furniture Choices
4. Chewing Electrical Cords
Unfortunately, pets love to chew on power cords and cables. Not only is this harmful for your devices, it can also pose a danger to your pets in the event they chew through a cord and get shocked. There are many different products available for covering your cables or deterring your pets from them. Spraying the cords with an unpleasant (but harmless) solution can also work.
Many different do-it-yourself concoctions can be made with ingredients that taste bad to cats and dogs, such as hot sauce.
5. Urinating on Floors and Furniture
At one point or another, you will probably come across a mess on the floor when your pet does not use the litter box. There are many causes for urinating on the floor, some of which are easier to fix than others. It you have a puppy or kitten, it may just take a little more training before your pet gets in the habit of going to the bathroom where designated to do so. When cats get older, they will commonly leave messes outside of the litter box when it becomes too messy. Always keeping a clean box is the best way to remedy the problem.
Messes on the floor can also be a sign that your pet has a medical issue. If you are dealing with persistent problems, take your pet to the vet to see if the root cause is more than just bad behavior.
6. Leaving Bad Odors
In many ways, pets can leave a bad smell in your house. Cleaning out litter boxes and tidying other pet areas is an easy way to keep odors down, but this likely will not take care of every bad smell your pets leave behind. Pet odors can easily get into fabrics and carpeting, making it necessary to do a thorough cleaning every now and then. Getting washable covers for your couches is an easy way to stay on top of odors. Not only will regular cleaning make your time at home more enjoyable, it will also make things easier when you are trying to sell your house or end your lease.
7. Shedding Hair
Pet hair can cover your furniture and other fabrics, but it can also find its way into vents and ducts. Over time, the buildup can put a strain on your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy costs and reducing the effectiveness of your heater and AC unit. Excessive pet hair and dander can result in your air filters wearing out more quickly, as well.
While you cannot prevent shedding altogether, there are plenty of ways to cut down on the amount of fur and dander building up in your home. Consistent grooming, sweeping and vacuuming can help keep your home looking better and running more efficiently.
8. Bringing Rodents into the House
Cats that are allowed to go in and out of the house as they please are notorious for bringing in their catch. Unfortunately, cats do not always make sure their prey is dead before bringing it inside. If you are unable to catch rodents, birds and other prey your cats may bring in, they can escape and become pests in your home, leading you to another headache: rodent location and removal. The easiest way to prevent this issue is to get a collar with a bell or give your cat more stimulating toys. Monitoring the cat door or keeping it closed when you are not around can also reduce the chance of pets sneaking their catch inside.
9. Causing Allergies
Chances are, you do not own any pets that you are allergic to, but guests who stay in your house may experience reactions – even if you clean rigorously. Pet dander and hair can get everywhere, making your home an uncomfortable place for people with allergies. While dander in your home may not bother you, it can also become an issue when trying to sell your house. Many potential buyers will rethink a purchase if they have an allergic reaction during their tour with the real estate agent.
10. Damaging Your Lawn
Pets can cause just as much damage outside as they can inside your home. Dogs are particularly bad at destroying grass and landscaping when they go to the bathroom or start digging outside. For example, when dogs urinate in the same place over and over, the grass can die, and turn brown in no time. To reduce the chance of getting dead spots in your lawn, you can try spraying the area down with water after your dog has gone to the bathroom. In some cases, you can get to the root of the problem by choosing a pet food with a better formulation or encouraging your dog drink more water.
Related Article: The Best Pets for a Small Living Space
By Jennifer Symonds –