How to Petproof Your Home

And still have nice things.

By Angela Cabotaje August 5, 2015 Published in the August 2015 issue of Seattle Met

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Image: Roger Turk/Northlight Photography

The whiskered faces. The wagging tails. The willingness to be our personal lap warmers! It’s easy to see why people love their pets. But when it comes to our furry friends’ not-so-adorable aspects—we’re looking at you, stinky litter box—the love fest turns a little hairy. According to a 2013 American Veterinary Medical Association report, 62.7 percent of Washington households own pets. To help all of us get a leash on living stylishly with cats and dogs, I asked three local pros to give us their best advice for incorporating animals into the home. Here’s what I learned. 

Create Pet-Specific Spaces

For one client with a pudgy cat, Landon installed a low cabinet drawer for food and water bowls. The owner could open the drawer during feeding time and close it to prevent overeating. In another project, he created a litter closet with a motion sensing fan to keep odors from seeping into the rest of the home. Daisley has crafted mudrooms with reinforced floors and walls to withstand destructive claws and teeth, a free-form cat climbing structure using reclaimed wood, and an in-wall poop-scooping bag dispenser for easy grabbing on the way out the door for dog walks. 

Think Like a Parent

Before welcoming them home, new pet owners should do a sweep for hazards. Secure cabinet doors, hide chemicals, and tuck away electrical cords, especially if you have a teething puppy. Check washers and dryers for hiding cats before doing laundry. Never leave burning candles or sharp objects unattended. And keep toilet lids closed so dogs can’t lap up the bacteria and cleaning chemicals lingering in the bowl.

Select Flat Fabrics

“Woven fabrics are the enemy: chenille, corduroy, anything that has a warp and a weft,” Mattson says. “The hairs get inside the thread loops and weave themselves in.” Instead opt for flat-surface fabrics on furniture where your pets are likely to curl up. Velvet is one of Mattson’s favorite choices, while flat cotton and chintz also work well. If new upholstery isn’t an option, a slipcover that you can zip off and toss in the wash is a budget-friendly way to go.

Pick Forgiving Floors

“Everyone wants beautiful hardwood,” Daisley says, “but the first thing I have to tell homeowners is, ‘You have a 40-pound dog. You’ll see scratches.’ ” Durable and easy-to-clean alternatives include tile (ceramic and porcelain are better than natural stone, Mattson says), linoleum, and other laminates. But if wood is a must, Daisley suggests hard oak or engineered wood with a commercial-grade finish to minimize the appearance of scratches.

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