Whether home improvements involve DIY, a repair man or an entire construction crew, the work and the mess can be an annoyance for homeowners. Those with pets, though, may have extra challenges as cats, dogs or other animals may become stressed by the noise, environment changes and new faces involved with home improvement projects.
Whether you’re swiping a new color of paint to walls or adding a whole new section to the home, here are five home improvement tips for pet owners to get the job done without freaking out the fur babies!
1. Clean up dust and chemicals.
Some home improvement projects involve chemicals or materials that can be harmful to animals. Dust and debris from those jobs could irritate their airways—and yours, too.
Make sure all chemicals are out of reach for pets. You never know what they might try to eat, and spills may end up on those little paws, too. Most cats and dogs will clean debris or wetness by licking, so always clean up spills and debris. You may want to clean those paws, too.
2. Give pets a safe place.
Even if your project doesn’t involve harsh chemicals or a big mess, you probably don’t want pets underfoot. If you’ve hired a crew or a repair person to handle the renovations, you want to be sure that pets don’t become territorial, aggressive or frightened.
Before any new visitors arrive and the work begins, move pets to a safe area with their food and water (and a few toys). This keeps pets (and workers) safe and minimizes the stress for everyone. HGTV also suggests introducing pets to new crew members (in a safe way, of course!).
If your dog is crate trained, it’s a great time for them to rest in the crate while chewing on a bully stick or a kong chew toy. If your dog doesn’t like his crate, consider training your dog as a crate will give him/her a safe space away from all of the chaos of your home improvement projects.
3. Find a pet sitter.
If you live in a smaller home and there isn’t a particular room or area of the home where fur babies can safely stay during repairs, then you may need to find a pet sitter or research boarding facilities for pets.
Your pet’s safety is a priority, and this may mean that the home isn’t the best place during repairs.
4. Set time parameters for repairs.
Fido can’t stay in that bedroom for hours without a little exercise and a few bathroom breaks. All-day repairs may take a toll on pets, too, especially if pets can only stay in one room (or the crate).
Be realistic about how long crews (and you) can work on repairs. Schedule a stopping point each day, so that you and your pet can have a little bit of normalcy during repairs.
5. Include your pet’s needs in the project.
Bob Vila’s site includes some amazing projects for the home that were made just for pets! If you are doing home improvements, consider adding a special something for your pet too! Adding a built-in bookshelf? Create a doggie or kitty nook for their daily naps. Vila’s site included a closet that featured a climbing structure for cats! You also may wish to add a storage area just for pet supplies or install sensors on doors so that you’re alerted to a pet escape.
If your dog, cat or furry friend is extra sensitive, has behavior problems or is just prone to stress, be sure to talk to your vet before you dive into renovations. Your animal’s doctor may have suggestions and may be the best person to advise you on how to make the changes and the renovations easier on your pet.