When your pet is part of the family, it’s important to make your home safe and comfortable for them. When that home is an apartment, you’ll also have to learn how to avoid getting dinged with big cleaning and repair bills. As long as you make an effort to keep your space in good shape, most landlords will be happy to accommodate you and your furry friend. Here are some tips on how to lead a happy apartment life with your dog or cat and how to make your rental look good while doing it.
Keeping Your Pet Safe
Knick-knacks and trinkets seem to have a magnetic pull over most pets. Subsequently, these objects often end up broken into pieces. To pets, paper or plastic clutter can easily look like toys for chewing, scratching, and eating. Rid your space of these temptations by cleaning up and ditching, donating, or selling your unnecessary stuff. If you’re too much of a hoarder to give your belongings up, consider boxing it up until your pet is well-trained.
Watch for the Little Things
Naturally curious pets will want to explore all of your home’s nooks and crannies, especially the ones you’ve probably forgotten about by now. Under the couch? Behind the fridge? Just because your vacuum cleaner can’t reach it doesn’t mean it’s safe from prying paws. Take the time to get all the bits of candy or food, plastic packaging, and loose change out of these areas to avoid a future choking incident.
Check Your Plants
Many common houseplants can actually be poisonous to animals (or humans) if ingested. Don’t just assume that your pet is anti-plant, because a curious animal is typically going to nibble anything it can reach. To make sure your plants are safe for your four-legged friend, you’ll want to identify and learn a little about them all. If you’re in love with one of your plants but know that it’s unsafe to eat, try keeping it in a hanging or wall-mounted pot that’s well out of reach.
Lock Up Poisons
Our homes are often full of potential poisons like medicines and cleaning supplies. To make things worse, pets can be surprisingly good at opening cabinets and climbing tall pieces of furniture. Gather up your solutions, pills, and bottles, and lock them in a cupboard that’s either well secured or safely out of reach. Be especially aware of the pills and lotions you keep on your bedside table or bathroom countertop. If you want your apartment to be as pet friendly as possible, consider stashing these items in a drawer for safe keeping.
Lid-Lock the Toilet
That big drinking bowl can easily turn into a big drowning hazard for smaller animals. If residual cleaning solution has been left behind on the porcelain, a toilet can prove poisonous to pets of all shapes and sizes. Luckily, most baby stores sell handy toilet lid locks that are sure to keep everyone in your home safe.
Cover Outlets and Cords
Baby-proofing is also a handy model for dealing with the electrical dangers in your apartment. One jolt from an outlet or chew through a wire can be deadly to pets. Avoid disaster by using outlet covers and neatly dealing with your wires and plugs. A lot of stores even sell stylish boxes that will help you tame those unruly TV-area cords.
Trap the Trash
Trash cans are full of potentially dangerous items like sharp bits of glass and plastic, discarded chemical products, and tempting bits of food still inside jars and bottles. Keep out the sniffing snouts by buying a trash can with a locking lid.
Keeping Your Space Safe
You probably don’t want your pet to get into the cupboard where you keep your breakable wine glasses or your well-organized home library. Consider picking up some baby-proofing supplies to block off these areas. Locks and baby gates work wonders when it comes to keeping curious critters out. Remember that making a habit of closing the doors to off-limits rooms is all it takes sometimes.
Train with Treats
If you have a new pet or a new space, one of the first things you need to determine is what will and won’t be allowed. To keep your dog off of the couch or out of a particular room, be consistent from day one and frequently give them treats for good behavior.
I recently visited friends who had ditched their old scratching post in favor of a subtle wooden wall-hanging that had been tightly wrapped in thick rope. As it turns out, rope has a texture that cats love, and it’s more than capable of withstanding their sharp claws. I’ve even heard of some people who just wrap up a chair or table leg to entertain their feline friends.
Choose Materials Wisely
If you’re concerned about chewed or scratched up furniture, consider buying items that won’t appeal to your pets. For instance, metal tables or chairs should be safe from claws and teeth, and non-looped fabrics like velvet are much less interesting to scratch than their coarser looped counterparts.
If you are still dealing with chewing problems after exhausting all your other options, you might want to know that most dogs find the taste of lemon and sour apple very off-putting. Make or buy a few pet-safe sprays in these flavors to spritz on any tempting spots and keep Fido at bay.
Keeping It Pretty
Of course, pet-proofing doesn’t have to mean your apartment will look frumpy or boring!
Match Fur Colors
If you have a tabby cat or a white husky, you probably should pass on that black suede sofa. Consider buying furniture that matches your pet’s fur color, or you’ll find that it eventually starts looking that color anyway.
Blankets and Throws
Some tough, all-weather type blankets are available in gorgeous patterns and make great throws for your comfier pieces of furniture. Blankets are easy to throw in the wash and prevent furniture from getting worn and dirty too quickly.
When It Comes to Rugs, Think Small
Multicolored rugs with small, tight-knit patterns are much better at hiding fur than those with big swatches of a single color. Short pile rugs are also easier to clean than their plush counterparts.
There’s no need to bring down your bedroom’s stylish look with a worn-out dog bed. Keep the room feeling whole by purchasing a nice fabric cover for your pet’s bed. To make your space feel even tidier, consider buying a couple of storage “pods” for your pet supplies!
Do you have any tips for creating a pet-friendly apartment?