It’s no secret that here at Go With Ro, our pets are a part of our family. We believe our homes should be comfortable, safe places to live for all our four-legged companions and we’re not alone in that belief! In a survey by Homes.com of over 1,600 pet-owning homeowners, 68% claimed to prioritize their pet’s comfort when searching for new properties. In fact, of those surveyed two-thirds indicated that they had already moved in order to keep a pet happy, seeking pet-friendly home amenities like fenced-in backyards, ample square footage, durable hardwood floors, a mud room, and proximity to parks and walking trails. For today’s blog, we’re going to be talking about 5 ways that you can boost the pet-friendly features of your home, without breaking the bank.

1. Utilize Pet-Safe Cleaners

One of the easiest and most important ways to keep your home pet-friendly is by removing potentially poisonous substances from their reach. You might be surprised just how many common household cleaners can be deadly to pets. From floor cleaners to carpet shampoos, to all-purpose sprays and more, some of the most commonly utilized cleaners can be dangerous for your pets to ingest, inhale, or even absorb through the skin.

Tonya Harris, an award-winning environmental toxin expert recommends avoiding products with the following ingredients in cleaners:

  • Ammonia: Can damage the respiratory system.
  • Chlorine bleach: Skin, eye, and throat irritant, corrosive to mucous membranes.
  • Glycol ethers: Propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol.
  • Benzalkonium chloride: Often found in disinfectants.
  • Fragrances: “Fragrances” may contain ingredients that are allergenic, hormone-disrupting, toxic to the brain and nervous system, or carcinogenic.
  • Phenol: Common in Lysol and PineSol, can cause liver and kidney damage.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: It causes irritation to the esophagus and stomach lining, induces vomiting, and can also cause severe gastritis and ulceration, and bleeding.
  • Formaldehyde: Known to cause cancer. Look for formaldehyde-releasing ingredients such as DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, and Imidazolidinyl urea.

Even when a product does not have the above ingredients, it still does not necessarily mean the product is fully “safe” for pets. It doesn’t help that pets are often curious by nature and may try to sniff or lick at cleaning products they find around the house.

To minimize risk, in addition to avoiding products with ingredients listed above when possible, it’s a good idea to:

  • Keep pets out of the room or area you are cleaning.
  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated.
  • Allow all surfaces to dry completely before allowing pets back in the room.
  • Store disinfectants out of pets’ reach.

2. Install A Doggy Door

Many homeowners hesitate to install doggy doors thinking it poses a security risk (a certain scene from Home Alone comes to mind!) but today’s doggy doors are far more sophisticated than their rubber flap counterparts of the 1990s. If you have a fenced-in yard, a doggy door can give your pet a sense of freedom and allow them to let themselves out to use the bathroom when you are away from home. There are a range of smart dog doors available today that are electronic, weather-proof, and have automated locking and unlocking controls to keep your home secure. If you want your pet to have the freedom of a doggy door without installing it into an actual door, try one that fits into sliding doors or installs like a storm door.

 

3. Backyard Fencing

The holy grail of pet-friendly home features is a fenced-in backyard, but this typically comes with a hefty price tag. Depending on what you are looking for, the breed of your dog, and their dedication to the art of escape, there are several options that may fit the budget.

DIY Dog Fence

The cheapest way to make a fence for your dog is to do it yourself. There are a variety of options for materials, style, and durability that will alter your cost immensely, but overall this option is going to be the most cost-effective to install. This article from Fresh Patio has lots of guides to different materials you can use and their approximate cost, from using deer netting to welded wire fencing to wood palette fencing and more. The primary drawback across all styles of DIY fencing is that they take a good amount of expertise to do correctly. An improperly installed fence can be susceptible to wind, flooding, and other elements, and if it’s not sturdy enough or high enough it’s not going to do much to keep a determined dog inside. It’s important to do in-depth research about the fencing type you are choosing to be sure it will be safe and long-lasting.

Professional Installation

Prices for professional installation vary widely depending on the specifics of your fencing needs. In general, the cheapest options for homeowners to have professionally installed dog fences are going to be PVC fencing, chain link, and picket fences. Although professional installation can be rather pricey, it can add significant value to your home if it is a durable style of fencing, installed well, and maintained year to year.

4. Concealed Crates Or Dedicated Nooks

Dogs are den animals by nature, and creating a space for them that is enclosed and comfortable can help them feel relaxed and secure at home. For dogs that are crate trained, an easy way to create this space for them and hide away any eye-sore wire crates is by creating or purchasing a concealed crate. There are many ready-made dog crates that are built to look like furniture and blend seamlessly into your home decor.

However, there are also simple DIY projects you can do to disguise wire crates in any room of your house. One incredibly simple way to do this is by purchasing or making a crate cover in a pattern that matches your home decor and then placing a decorative surface like a slab of wood on top. The overall effect turns a simple wire crate into a decorative side table. If you’d like your dog’s crate to be a more seamless fixture in your home, try converting a cabinet into a dog crate by removing a door or cutting the side out of a cabinet and replacing it with a cloth curtain. Lay down their favorite blankets inside and you have an attractive and hidden dog crate right in the heart of your home.

 

Even better, if you have unused space in your home consider turning it into a dog nook! Large closets, storage under stairs, or unused corners of rooms can all become fantastic spots to create a dedicated space for your pet with cozy beds, toy storage, food, and water bowls, and perhaps even dog-themed wallpaper.

5. Decorate With Pet-Friendly Plants

We love to decorate with lots of bright greenery and house plants, but unfortunately, some of the most common indoor plants can be incredibly toxic to dogs and cats. Certain plants can cause seizures, vomiting, tremors, or can even be fatal. Aloe, Monsteras, Peace Lillys, Pothos, and even Tulips are some examples of the many many common houseplants that can be seriously dangerous to inquisitive pets. However, this does not mean you should strip your home of greenery in the name of pet safety. There are lots of pet-friendly plant options to decorate your home with including African Violets, orchids, button ferns, and more. For an easy guide to what plants are pet safe, check out the ASPCA’s poisonous plants guide.

If you’re thinking about moving with a pet, give us a call today. Our agents can offer particular expertise in pet-friendly home features and we would be honored to assist you in your home search. Rowena@GoWithRo.com, (360) 909-6399

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