Whether you own a dog, are owned by cats, or have some combination of creatures, beloved pets become our family. Which means that even if they are ripping up your carpet, scratching your hardwood floors, and leaving hair over every piece of furniture, you cannot fathom parting with them. So how do you reconcile having pets while protecting your home’s value?
Find and Repair Holes
Is your dog a Houdini-level escape artist who will attempt to dig, chew, or tear his way out of enclosed spaces? Reinforce your fence, especially if there are weak spots so that Rocky can’t bust through and damage the existing structure. Consider adding some landscaping elements that can act as a buffer between the yard and the fence to deter his break-outs.
If your pet has torn up window or door screens, home improvement stores sell repair kits that do a good job patching small holes. You can also replace the entire screen if the damage is considerable. For the chewed-up door frames, sand and repaint minor scratches. If the material is completely ruined, you might want to hire a window and doors specialist to reinstall new frames.
Fix Damaged Carpets Immediately
Scratched-up carpeting is important to fix quickly before a little tear becomes a big mess. If your pet has managed to pull up the carpet from the floor, trim any loose strands and see if you can tack or glue the edge back down. If there is carpet missing now, look in your home for a spare piece (sometimes tucked away in a crawl space or attic) and use a carpet repair kit to fill the hole.
One tip: the brand new piece will likely not match the lived-in piece in your room. You can cut what you need from a closet to repair the hole so that the carpet matches better, and then use the spare piece to patch the hole in the closet, where nobody can see the slight mismatched colors.
If the hole is too big or you are not confident in your ability to take on a flooring project, consult a flooring contractor for assistance. Just don’t let the problem go; once the carpet is ripped up it is easier for your pet to continue to peel it back and further destroy the edges.
People love pets but not the hair! Fortunately, with the right tools, you can tackle pet fur easily and inexpensively.
For carpet, buy a vacuum that is designed to suck up pet hair. They are better able to handle the massive amounts of fur without clogging. Look for ones that come with an attachment to suck fur off your furniture as well, and hit the couches and chairs regularly. You can also use the nozzle to capture hair off window sills, baseboards, mantles, vents, and tight corners.
For kitchens, a broom works but might require a few passes to get all the hair up. A more effective tool is a vacuum for hard floors so you can attack the fur tumbleweeds in one go. After getting the big chunks out of the way, break out a steam mop or similar to restore your floors’ shine and get any missing strands.
For tables and counters, wipe the surface with a dry cloth; damp cloths will just make the hair stick more stubbornly.
Keep It Smelling Fresh
The last thing you want for your home is for it to be obvious that you have pets from the overwhelming smell. In addition to regularly washing pet beds, cages, kennels, and blankets your pets use, also pay attention to their grooming needs. While most animals clean themselves, old or sick animals sometimes stop cleaning themselves and will need you to do it.
For litter boxes, pens, and cages, clean the area at least once a day and use odor-fighting materials. Stores sell litter box boosters that help mask smells and are particularly effective when combined with a baking soda-based litter.
For accidents in the home – a sick pet, hairballs, or spraying – take care of the mess as quickly as possible before it has time to set in. Use cleaning agents designed for pet messes and smells, or a distilled white vinegar and baking soda combination. Spray a vinegar-water mixture onto the smell, blot dry, sprinkle with baking soda, and vacuum up. Repeat until the smell is removed. If the smell is too stubborn – which is likely if the pet has soiled the area multiple times – call a pro to replace the material and keep your pets away from the new installation.
Know When To Call In The Professionals
Sometimes Fluffy has done too much damage and you need a larger-scale repair. Consider getting carpets professionally cleaned one to two times a year. Flooring professionals can help you figure out how to fix deep scratches in hardwood and you might need someone to rebuild parts of a chewed-up deck, rails, or fences. Talk to a landscaper about how to strategically add elements to keep your pet from trying to escape the yard.
The objective is to not just fix damages, but to also prevent future incidents from happening. Determine if you need to kennel or cloister any of your pets when you leave so you don’t regularly come home to a mess. While regular wear-and-tear is to be expected, your home’s value can be significantly compromised over time if your pets’ behavior is left unchecked.
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