How to Make your Home Pet Friendly: Our Expert Advice
Looks like Garfield and Snoopy are coming to stay... so here's our advice
It is estimated that around 44% of UK households have pets. That adds up to 12 million homes that shelter a very good (or very bad) boy or girl (not including the kids). Dogs and cats are the most popular, followed by rabbits, indoor birds and guinea pigs. And we should also pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of hamsters, tortoises, turtles and lizards. Increasingly, chickens are being kept as pets (it must be weird for their owners to pass by Nandos). And about 0.4% of the British population have snakes - a number we imagine is decreasing with every venomous bite.
But what can you do to make your home pet friendly? Well, we here at Plum Guide don't just provide the very best accommodation (although we do that very well) - we also offer expert advice to help you find all the answers. We look at some of the ways to make your furry (or otherwise) friend more comfortable, from choosing a place with a garden to getting appropriate furniture. After all, there’s nothing worse than finding your furry friend chomping away at the disemboweled sofa.
1. Get a place with a nice garden
Well…it was a nice garden, until the pup or cat got hold of it. There’ll be some digging and murdering (we’re looking at you, cats), for sure. That comes with the territory of being a pet owner. You can’t rewire their evolutionary psychology overnight, and these pets were meant to hunt and dig and what-not. But if you want to keep them happy, best to find a home with a garden and plenty of grass, mud and shrubs for them to explore.
2. Make space for all your pets to roam
Just like Holiday Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, your pets are terrified of being kept in a cage. So, while you’re on holiday, you might also want to go lightly, by having ample space for your four-legged friends to roam around. This is especially important if you don’t have a garden in your home. Even if you have a caged pet, such as a guinea pig or a bird, it’s nice to have the extra space so that they can have a corner to themselves, and you can get away from the animal corner from time to time.
3. Be aware of tasty furniture
One of the most important things you can do to make your home pet friendly is pick the right furniture. You might want to stay away from furniture and furnishings with exposed wooden surface. These can appear as chew toys for some of the more ravenous cats, dogs and rodent-like creatures. This goes for anything with exposed wicker, sisal or rattan. A better option might be chrome or metal, as just one bite of those solids will teach your pet a lifelong lesson (or result in some expensive trips to the doggy dentist).
4. Consider the flooring
Similar to the above point, pets love to take a bite out of the home’s furnishings. But when it comes to floors, there’s something besides gnarly gnashers that you need to worry about: nails. All sorts of pets will turn your floors into scratched-up messes just by walking on them. That’s why you might want to avoid hardwood floors that dent easily. Harder woods like oak and mahogany are a better bet if you insist on something wooden. But ideally, you’ll go for something like laminate flooring or ceramic tiles. Stone tiles also work, and serve to keep you (and the little creatures) cool in summer.
5. Create a designated play area
One of the things to consider when planning how to make your home pet friendly is how much fun and play your animal can have. You might want to choose a home near to a park, where you can take daily walks with your pup or other creature. Cats will love roaming around pleasant neighbourhoods and losing themselves in the park. Sometimes however, a park is too much to ask for an urban home, so you have to bring the park to you. Make a play space where you keep their toys, and teach your pet to know where they are allowed to play (so they don’t end up destroying the rest of the home). Your kids will love the play space too, and we're not saying the kids are as reckless as the animals... but if you can get all the mischievous family members playing in one place, then your life becomes much, much easier.
6. Choose your fabrics carefully
Here’s something you need to bear in mind when keeping pets: many of them malt. That means hairs all over the place, which is a nightmare for allergies and less than ideal for the aesthetic - it makes the home feel dirty. Rather than fabrics like velvet or corduroy that attract pet hairs, go for smoother leather furnishings. Materials that are easier to clean will be a life-saver when you're trying to hoover up your fluffy friend's abandoned coat.