Designing your house and outdoor space for pets
Are you expecting to welcome a dog or cat into your family? It’s a great idea to make sure in advance that your house and outdoor space are as pet-friendly as possible. That way you can guarantee the safest, most inviting home for your pet.
A safe home for your dog or cat
First and foremost, you want your pet to be safe in their new environment, which means you may need to make some minor adjustments around the house. Make sure you do a proper check before you welcome your pet into your home. Accidents can happen any time. And when your pet joins the family, chances are you’ll already have your hands full with taking care of and playing with your new friend.
How to make your home pet friendly
- Beware of poisonous plants! Not all plants are safe for your new housemate. For example, dieffenbachias, philodendrons, and lilies can cause nasty complications if your pet accidentally gets their teeth into them. The ASPCA website has a handy list of plants that are poisonous for your pet. Make sure these plants are in a place where your pet can’t reach them, or even better, get rid of them.
- Don’t leave food lying around: We may love a bit of chocolate from time to time, but for dogs, the theobromine it contains is deadly. So don’t leave sweets lying around the house, and be aware that other foods can also be toxic for pets. Also be careful with glasses of wine or beer; alcohol is very dangerous for your pet. Be sure to keep meat bones away from your pet. Boiled chicken bones can splinter and damage your pet’s mouth.
- Installing baby gates: Do you want to keep your pet from going upstairs? Or are there rooms where you keep things like potentially toxic products? Installing a baby gate for your dog might help. Cats sometimes want to jump over them.
- Beware of cables: if your dog or cat gets their teeth into a cable, it can have dangerous consequences. So it’s a good idea to neatly clear away your cables with a cable duct.
Will you be welcoming a dog into your family soon? You’ll find all kinds of useful tips in our blog, ‘A dog-friendly home’ to help you prepare your home for your pet’s arrival.
Bringing home a cat or kitten? Then check out our article ‘Tips for a cat-friendly home’ to help you get your home ready.
A safe garden for your dog or cat
If you have a lovely garden or a beautiful patio or balcony, of course you want your pet to enjoy it, too. But you need to make sure that your outdoor space is a safe place for them first. High balconies or patios and gardens along a busy road should be enclosed for cats. It will keep them from ending up in dangerous situations. You can do use netting or put up a protective fence. Cats are very fast climbers, so don’t place containers, trees, or chairs near the fence. Fencing can also be a good safety measure for dogs, especially if the garden is next to a busy road or if your dog is an ‘escape artist’.
This is how you make your garden pet-friendly:
- Enclose: As we previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to enclose part of the garden to keep your pet away from dangerous situations. If you have a lot of space, a large run – especially for cats – can also be a good solution. Another option is to put a harness on your pet.
- Poisonous garden plants: A leafy green garden can make things feel lush and verdant, and it’s good for the environment, as well! But, some garden plants can be toxic for your dog or cat. Check to make sure the plants in your garden are safe for your pet.
- Shaded areas: Temperatures can sometimes soar on gorgeous summer days. We love spending time in the garden. That’s great! But it can also get too hot. Your pet can overheat. Make sure that there are always shady spots where your pet can cool down. And be sure to always have drinking water available and change it regularly.
- Clean up: Be careful of toxic items like herbicides. And make sure your pet can’t reach the garbage containers and keep the garage door closed. Did you eat outside? Then also clean up the leftovers. These can be dangerous for your pet and can also attract vermin.
A good place in the house for your pet
We’ve already talked a lot about how to make your house and outdoor space safe for your dog or cat. But in addition to being safe, they also need to have some fun! You can do just that little bit extra to make your garden or house a nice place for pets. Dogs love to dig, but you probably don’t want them to do it in the middle of your beautiful flower bed. So why not give your dog a sandbox or a defined area in the garden where he can play to his heart’s content. Cats can get a lot of joy from exploring the garden. Provide then with plenty of stimuli. There are lots of things you can do indoors to make your pet happy, too. Cats love hiding and places to climb. Make sure there are plenty of hiding spots, preferably high up, and some climbable elements, as well.
5 must-haves at home
Here are a few extra tips to help your pet feel welcome. With these must-haves, your pet will quickly feel right at home.