How to "Pet-Proof" Your Furniture

Pets aren’t just animals – they are a vital part of your family. However, you also work hard to have the things you have. You don’t want your pets destroying your furniture any more than you want a family member making a mess in your kitchen or your toddler using markers all over your wall.

With young children and older housemates, you can talk to them, work together to keep things in order and implement consequences when they don’t follow through. With pets – and toddlers – it’s a bit different. It falls more on you to keep your furniture safe. Below you’ll find several tips to discourage destruction and pet-proof your furniture.

Pet-Proofing Your Furniture

As wonderful as pets can be, they can completely destroy furniture. They might scratch or chew on it, have potty accidents, and leave hair and odors behind. Unfortunately, it can be hard to stop it all, but there are steps you can take to minimize the damage, such as those below.

Be Strategic With Your Furniture

The first step in furniture protection is choosing the right furniture. The following tips can help.

  1. Choose the Right Materials

Some types of materials are much more resistant than others, including:

  • Leather
  • Microfiber
  • Denim
  • Canvas
  • Anything with tight weaves, like polyester material

Materials such as these tend not to cling to pet hair and odors, making them much easier to clean and keep smelling fresh. It’s also important to avoid furniture with exposed wood. It can be like a beacon to pets and a temptation too strong to avoid.

  1. Pay Attention to the Accessories

Even adults find themselves picking at tufted buttons, zippers, and dangling threads. Avoid tempting your pet by avoiding furniture with such additional accessories.

  1. Carefully Consider the Color

Matching your room’s décor can be important, but if every pet hair shows from across the room, it will negatively impact the aesthetic. Try finding furniture that your pet’s hair color can blend in with instead.

  1. Keep Temporary Covers On Hand

If your plan is to train your pet to stay off the furniture, consider a temporary solution. Sofa and chair covers can help protect your furniture and they are washable. Blankets can also prove helpful. These solutions allow you to keep your stylish couch in any color you like – you just keep it covered until your pet is trained. They also make for quick clean-up if guests are due to arrive soon.

  1. Durability Is Essential

Furniture – be it couches or tables – comes with a maximum weight limit. This typically isn’t an issue for cats or small dogs, but it’s important to pay attention to these limits if you have a larger pet. The heavier your pet is, the more playful they get, and the more they jump on items, the more durable you need your furniture to be.

Give Your Current Furniture a Pet Update

If you’re not in the market for new furniture, you can still take steps to protect the furniture you already have. There are actually a couple of ways that you can encourage your pet to stay away on their own.

  1. Sprays and Fragrances

Have you ever smelled something that made you need to leave the room? It doesn’t have to be a bad smell – just something strong enough that it bothered you. One example might be someone’s perfume or cologne. Though these odors can be irritating, you can use the same principle to keep your pets away from your furniture.

You can purchase ready-made pet deterrent spray, but many of those have chemicals that might be harmful to some pets. If you want to use a ready-made spray, it’s wise to seek your vet’s recommendation for the best product.

Another option is to go a much more natural route. There are specific smells that cats and dogs find overpowering – citrus being a very common one. Vinegar, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and garlic are just a few examples.

If you enjoy house plants, you might consider purchasing or growing some of these items near the furniture you are trying to protect. You could also make an apple cider vinegar spray or sprays made from essential oils to use on the furniture.

It is important to note that while natural sprays are safe, some pets might have a slight respiratory response to certain fragrances. If you use these sprays, watch for sneezing, coughing, and other signs of respiratory distress. Visit your vet to ensure that it is just a reaction to the scent. If so, simply choose a different fragrance.

  1. Change the Texture

If your cat really enjoys scratching – especially at any wood or exposed areas of furniture – a little aluminum foil can do the trick. Cats prefer a rough surface, as it’s essential to their grooming process. Aluminum foil makes the area slippery and much less desirable.

Keep Your Furniture and Home Clean

Dogs tend to get curious when they smell things, and clutter provides a playground for destructive behavior. Additionally, smelling their own odors on the furniture can cause them to emulate their previous behavior – whether that’s lying on the couch or using the potty on it.

Keeping your furniture and any rooms your pet goes into clean is critical. The following steps can help.

  1. Give Your Home a Once-Over Each Day

Get the trash out of each room. Clear any piles of clutter. And freshen up any rooms that have an odor with something like Febreze or even essential oils.

  1. Clean Furniture Quickly

Accidents happen. Poor or impulsive behaviors take over. You’re not likely to prevent every bit of destruction in your home, but you can keep them from taking over.

When you notice that your furniture has stains or an odor, don’t let it sit. Treat them as quickly as you can. Enzyme-based cleaners are helpful, but always read the label to ensure they are safe for your materials. Also, follow the instructions properly.

  1. Make Cleaning a Breeze

You’re more likely to be motivated to clean and keep the messes at bay if you can carry out the task easily. Keep easy cleaning tools around, like lint rollers and hand vacuums, to remove hairs quickly.

Removable cushions with hidden zippers are also a gem when you have pets. They allow you to remove the covers and wash them, ensuring your favorite sofa gets the cleaning it deserves.

  1. Close the Door

Your pets don’t have to be allowed in every room of your home. If you have rooms that contain very valuable furniture – whether it’s financial or sentimental value – or easily breakable items, close the door. You can also use pet or baby gates to block off specific areas.

Setting Your Pet Up For Success

You can also increase the protection of your furniture with just a few steps for your pet.

  1. Keep Them Groomed

First and foremost, keep your pet groomed. Bathing regularly reduces the amount of odor your pet can leave behind. Brushing their fur can limit the hair you have to contend with. And keeping their nails trimmed significantly reduces the likelihood of them ripping your furniture to pieces. Regular professional grooming can go a long way, but be sure that you are handling the maintenance between grooming sessions.

  1. Give Them Their Own Furniture

Not everyone wants their pets on the furniture, but everyone needs a comfortable place to lounge and relax. Providing your pet with a comfortable bed or “pet couch” can help. Keep in mind, though, that it may take some time to find the right fit for your pet, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

Additionally, it might take some time for your pet to adapt to their new furniture. You can ease the transition by adding some comfortable pillows, their favorite toys, a blanket, and other comfort items. If you have some large old pillows or cushions at home, you might give those a try first. This can help you determine the type of furniture your pet will enjoy.

Also, place your pet’s furniture somewhere near your lounge space. If it’s too far away, your pet won’t be able to see you and will feel isolated. Naturally, this will lead to them gravitating to your furniture. It might also prove beneficial to put a bed in your bedroom if you often find your pet on your bed or your floor.

  1. House Training Is Key

Pets aren’t born with the knowledge of how to properly behave inside a house, which is why house training is so important. The earlier you begin, the better, but it’s never too late to try.

If you do not want your pets on the furniture at all, remove them from it any time you see them there. When they make their way to their own furniture, give them a treat or praise them to reinforce this behavior. Avoid punishing your pet, though, as this can lead to discipline issues – in other words, they’ll get on your furniture when you’re not around to punish them.

Crate training is one highly effective and commonly recommended method that is often used for potty training. However, it can also be beneficial for preventing destructive behaviors.

Pets often experience separation anxiety when their humans leave for work or school. This anxiety leads to many different issues, even in pets who are normally well-behaved. It’s not unusual for the homeowners to come home to a destroyed home. Crate training can help nip these behaviors in the bud, as they are not free to roam while you are away.

  1. Provide Items That They Can Sink Their Teeth or Claws Into

Pets are less likely to chew on and claw at your furniture when they have something else they can put that energy towards. Catnip toys and a scratching post are great for cats. Chew toys – preferably several of them – can provide a much less destructive alternative for dogs.

  1. Help Your Pet Get Plenty of Exercise

Anyone – whether they have two or four legs – can get into trouble when they are bored and restless. In addition to providing plenty of toys, activities, and toy puzzles to keep your pet occupied, don’t overlook the importance of exercise.

Playing with your cat, throwing a ball with your dog, or taking your dog for a walk provides the opportunity for them to expend their energy. And if you have a safe, fenced-in yard, consider letting them play outside while you are away. Just be sure that they have a shaded area as well as plenty of water so they can stay cool in the hot months.

Create a Calmer Home By Pet-Proofing Your Furniture

You love your pet, but when they destroy your property, it can cause a great deal of tension. In some cases, it even leads to reconsidering owning a pet. However, with the tips above – along with time, patience, and trial and error – you can significantly reduce the tension and preserve your furniture and home.

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