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cat on couch
Published By Beth Lueders on January 19, 2016

Your dog gnaws on table legs and the cat scratches the sofa cushions. No pet is perfect, but destruction of your furniture is both frustrating and costly.

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that nationwide, roughly 70 million dogs and 74 million cats are family pets, along with a brood of other popular companion animals including birds, horses, fish, rabbits and hamsters. In spite of nibbles and accidents, pets are part of the fabric of our hearts … and sometimes literally our home’s fabric.

In noticing troublesome habits of their furry friends, older pet owners with limited eyesight, hearing and sense of smell face more of a challenge. Need we mention a pet’s hair, drool, vomit and potty stains? To spare the furniture and your pocketbook, try these practical pet-proofing tips:

  1. Take cover. Washable slipcovers, blankets and throws are a low-maintenance way to cloak and protect sofas, chairs and other pet-resting spots. Also, microfiber and leather upholstery are more durable options for pet-friendly homes.
  2. Brush and groom. Regular grooming is one of the best ways to decrease your pet’s shedding. Buying a de-shedding tool also reduces your pet’s volume of loose hair. Consistent vacuuming helps with stray hair buildup, as well.
  3. Keep up the manicures. Ensuring your pet’s nails are regularly trimmed lowers the chance of claw marks on furniture and flooring.
  4. Bring on the toys and scratching posts. Pets need an appropriate outlet for their energy and curiosity. Provide chew and catnip toys and a scratching post that fit your pet’s individual taste. You may need to test out a few options.

In addition, special sprays and noisemakers are available to deter pets from chomping on and pawing at furnishings. Don’t forget: a quick squirt from a water bottle along with a verbal reprimand can help correct your pet in his or her bothersome behaviors. Who says Fido and Fluffy can’t learn new indoor living habits?

What tips do you suggest for pet proofing a senior’s home?

An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.

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