We are a nation of pet lovers, but our furry friends can do a lot of damage around the home. Rex Nye from independent builders’ merchant D.W. Nye has some solutions.
Pet ownership in the UK is at an all-time high, with 26% of households owning a dog and 18% sharing their homes with a cat. Love them as we do – in fact, over 90% of pet owners say their pet makes them feel happy – there’s no doubt that they can cause havoc around the home.
From stray hairs to scratches and endless mud to unpleasant odours, there’s plenty of potential for damaged sofas, floors, walls and gardens. But don’t despair – our top tips will keep your home looking spick and span.
Protect your floors: Carpets can soon take on a doggy odour, as well as becoming a magnet for shedding hairs. Wearing rubber gloves produces static that helps to pick up the dog hairs that vacuuming misses. Hard floors are the easiest to keep clean. Go for tiles or vinyls that can be washed down easily. Durable floor paint will withstand claws and is easy to keep clean. Try Everbuild Floor Paint, a heavy duty, hard-wearing paint for concrete, stone and wooden floors. Natural woods can soon be marred by scratches and scuff marks, so apply a protective varnish.
Washable walls: No matter how well you clean your dog’s paws after a long walk, mud has a tendency to get everywhere. Make sure you use washable paints so you can quickly clean mud-spattered walls. Try using sugar soap and a decorating sponge to clean stains off paint. No matter how tempting it is to scrub carpets and fabrics, always leave mud to dry first, then clean with a brush.
The great outdoors: If you’re bringing home a new puppy, you’ll need to make sure your garden is safe. Make sure fences are secure, replacing any broken panels. Your fence will need to be tall enough that your dog doesn’t jump over it, and flush to the ground in case it tries to dig its way out. Damaged lawns can be spruced up with a few rolls of reasonably-priced turf. Consider installing an outdoor tap and attach a spray-head hosepipe to shower your dog after a walk, rather than risk redecorating your bathroom with mud.
Banish odours: To eliminate smell, try using bicarbonate of soda, which has absorbent properties that draw out odours. Sprinkle over carpets, leave overnight then vacuum in the morning. Cat urine can leave an unpleasant odour that lingers for days. Vinegar will neutralise the smell. Add a dash to soiled fabrics before placing in the washing machine. Nothing will stop your dog from smelling like a dog, so prevent a build-up of doggy odours by vacuuming often and opting for hard floors rather than carpets where possible. Use natural oils to mask the smell, rather than scented candles and plug-ins. Try adding lemon oil to a reed diffuser for naturally fresh-smelling rooms.
Allergy advice: There is nothing nicer than snuggling up with a cat or dog, but pet dander (dead skin cells and fur) can produce allergens in vulnerable people, causing sneezing, wheezing and even asthma. Bathing dogs reduces allergen levels by up to 85% according to research, but levels rise again after three days so you’ll need to repeat frequently. Wash pet bedding at least weekly. If possible, restrict pets to rooms with wooden floors as wood traps less dander than carpet.