(StatePoint) Whether you’re a new dog owner or you and your pooch have been best pals for years, there’s always room to make your home more pet friendly. Doing so will not only keep your dog safer and happier, but can also help protect your belongings and furniture from canine destruction.
“Your dog is a member of the family,” says Dale Ryan, an animal photographer and author of the new book “Sleeping With the Beast,” an intimate look at the canine-human relationship and the increasing role dogs play in our lives and homes. “Just as you would take steps to child-proof your home, so too should you make the same concessions for your dog.”
Ryan points out that by taking a few simple steps, you can improve your dog’s home life and your pet ownership experience:
• Be sure proper fencing is installed around your yard.
• When not at home, confine dogs to a certain area of the house to ensure their safety. A first-floor room is preferable in the event of emergency, such as fire.
• Avoid installing wall-to-wall carpet in public areas of the house. Because of traffic flow, wood, stone, or tile floors with area rugs are better alternatives.
• When it comes to furniture, consider material that’s easy to clean and can withstand some abuse. Dogs may enjoy mashing stuffing in pillows into comfortable shapes. For sensitive dogs, opt for hypoallergenic stuffing.
• Dogs have a tendency to rub against walls. Delicate papers can easily become damaged. Opt for paint over wall paper. It’s washable and less costly.
• Consult your veterinarian about nutrition. Cooking for dogs with lean meat, poultry and fish can keep them healthier. Grain-free treats and a raw food diet also work well.
• Stainless steel bowls inside a stone trough container will keep water from spilling all over the floor. For a feeding bowl, use white buffalo China -- it’s heavy and there’s never food residue left behind.
• If your dog likes to sleep in bed with you but is too old or small to make the jump from floor to bed, consider library steps.
• Don’t forgo a duvet just because you have dogs. Place a heavy flannel sheet, which won’t shift like satin or cotton, over the duvet for your dog to sleep on. On your master bed use flannel sheets and pillowcases to keep bed linens clean.
• Dog beds should be hypoallergenic and covered in cotton, which is easy to wash. If you have wooden floors, the bottom of the bed should be ultra-suede fabric; so floors won’t be scuffed or scratched. Avoid wicker baskets because they can scratch your floor and your dogs may be tempted to chew them.
More information about Ryan’s new book can be found online at www.sleepingwiththebeast.net.
Remember, dog ownership is a big responsibility. But pet-proofing your home can make the experience a more rewarding one for both you and your four-legged companion.