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Your ultimate guide to a pet-friendly home

Here are tips on designing a space that’s stylish, safe, and functional for both you and your pet

Your ultimate guide to a pet-friendly home

Having a pet can bring joy and comfort during sad or stressful times, as studies have shown that interacting with animals can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and decrease depression. The unconditional love shared with furry companions is incredibly rewarding. However, owning a pet also requires responsibility, such as creating a habitable and functional space for all household members, including the pet.

To create the perfect pet-friendly atmosphere, it’s important to have a spacious and decluttered house with minimalistic décor. Sleek, sturdy furniture with round edges can help prevent injuries and protect pets from harm. Opting for elevated furniture can make cleaning easier and more efficient. Pets require constant care, nourishment, and playing space, so it’s essential to make the home safe and comfortable for them.

Easy to maintain, yet stylish

Here’s how one can transform their home into a perfect sanctuary for pets while keeping it chic and classy:

  • Create their zones: It’s important to give pets their own space, however small it may be, and it should be a place where they can nap, jump, walk on soft surfaces, cuddle up in sunlight or the shade of a plant, and eat and relax. Traditionally in India, though one prefers clean hard surfaces to walk on, these quadrupeds prefer soft surfaces or even artificial turf, where they can frolic around. Keep a scheme of both outdoor (landscaped balconies perhaps) and indoor zones (a play zone with mats, which can be occasionally laundered) defined where the pets can hang out. Design spaces in homes with textured scratchy facades, because pets love scratching their fur on various surfaces. Placing shelves or nooks where they can reach and settle in to catch up with a nap will also give them a sense of belonging and safety.
  • Protect your objects: Ensure that your home décor doesn’t come in their way. Rather have it tucked away in nice glass cabinets. Keep your bookshelf accessible to you but out of the reach of the pet. Keep their toys and playthings nearby. This way it will be easy for them to pick up their favourite toys before you take them out for a walk or a run. If there are both, children and pets in a home, it is best if their toys are kept separate, to ensure hygiene. Ergonomics will play a huge role in defining and designing the right outfit and balance of furniture in a pet-friendly home.
  • Safety comes first: Whether one lives in a ground-floor apartment or a high-storeyed dwelling, please ensure to have adequate barriers in place on balconies, at entry and exits. Nets or fencing would prevent accidents such as them falling off the balcony or easily walking out of the main door. Pets are often easily preyed on by pet abductors, another reason to guard and fence the openings. Ensure to have low-height windows with deep sills yet protected window openings, which can serve as a reading or a napping corner for the pet. The low height also ensures that the pet can easily place their feet up on the windowsill and watch the world outside, something that keeps them alert and observant.
  • Make cleaning easy: Having a pet in the family involves a lot of cleaning work, right from frequently vacuuming the upholstered surfaces to getting rid of their fur/body hair. Also, let’s not forget that they don’t wear shoes when they step out for their walks and their dirty feet bring all the dust and germs into the home.

Experts mention that pet beds are a must, but they don’t have to look boring. Look for a style that ties in beautifully with your décor. For example, if you have a wicker outdoor set, complement it with a wicker dog bed or if richness is your thing, opt for a plush pet sofa. Select fabrics that are easier to clean and maintain. Anything with a tighter weave is a good idea and stay clear of tassels.

Opt for metal furniture legs instead of wooden ones. Go for storage ottomans and furniture to keep pet toys out of sight in case of a sudden guest appearance. Having pet-specific furniture and accessories is also a great way to distract your pet from destroying your beautiful furniture. Also, repaint the spaces that the pets have regular access to in darker and chic tones.

Your list of dos and don’ts

  • Opt for pet-safe plants such as spider plants, and herbal plants such as basil, and thyme. Eliminate plants that are toxic for pets. Use shorter curtains to safeguard them from being chewed or ripped off by the pet.
  • Do your best to hide wires behind furniture, or under rugs. For wires that need to go across a room or from one appliance to another, it may be a good idea to get exposed wire covers, which are plastic plates that just attach to the wall and cover the wires.
  • Avoid textured walls, because they will attract everything from dirty paw marks to sticky fur.
  • When choosing room accessories such as cushions, throws or rugs, opt for evenly-textured fabrics with a tight weave, which will be more durable. Canvas, denim, microfiber or tight-weave tweed are less likely to trap pet hair than a heavily textured fabric with a larger weave.