We all love our pets and we’ve made an active choice to share our lives and our homes with them. Many pets can end up spending more time in the home than their owners do, so when you are making changes to your home do you consider the needs of your pets? It’s important to ensure that the home environment is a safe, pleasant and happy place for them. You may well be showering them with affection, but are you considering other aspects of your home that could improve their quality of life?
Sometimes it’s the simple things we do in our home that can have the biggest impact on our lives. Rather than re-styling a room, simply updating storage or the position of key pieces of furniture can make a huge difference. It’s just the same for pets. Some simple changes that you might barely notice could make the world of difference to them. Are you ready to feel all warm and fuzzy? Take a look at the top tips below, but be prepared for a cuteness overload! If you are not an ‘animal person’ look away now, there’s nothing for you here…
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A Happy Home for Dogs
A dog is a man’s best friend, a very popular but also challenging pet to keep. On the whole dogs can be in the home for much of the day, which can sometimes go against their active and inquisitive nature. Even if they have had plenty of exercise, any alone time in the house can make some dogs bored or anxious. Making sure your home is comforting and stimulating for your dog can help them feel happier about resting there for a short while if you need to pop out. It can also help them to keep themselves occupied whilst you are busy at home working, cooking or doing housework.
Dogs would naturally seek out their own food and are instinctive scavengers. Simple games like hiding some food around the house or garden can really engage your dog. It requires them to use their senses and their mind, as well as keeping them active. They will enjoy the hunt for food and won’t have time to worry about when you might finish the washing up! You can also introduce food puzzles to encourage patience and problem solving in your dog.
If you want to make sure your home looks stylish as well as being dog-friendly, you could try making a custom dog bed. Not only can you make sure it’s just the right size, you can also match the colours perfectly to your home décor. Placing one in every room your dog is allowed in as suggested by Denise Elphick is a great idea to make sure your dog has their own rest area whichever room they are in. If you do want to allow your pooch on the furniture choose something hard wearing and washable. Finally create an area for cleaning your dog so they can come straight in the house after walks and don’t have to wait outside or feel confused about where they’re allowed to go.
A Happy Home for Cats
Some cats are happy to come and go and others stay in the home for the majority of the time. Whichever type your cat is, you can still find ways to improve the time they spend in the home. Cats are free spirits that do as they please at times, but give them things they enjoy and they’ll be much more content in the home environment.
Cats are natural climbers who like to jump, perch and observe. Give them access to get to the ledges or higher surfaces they’re after by placing suitable furniture underneath. If you don’t they’re bound to try anyway and the results may be far more disruptive! Try leaving some empty shelving just for your cat to climb and perch on.
When you’re busy at home, your cat might like to be in the same space as you having a little rest. Create some ‘cat hammocks’ underneath furniture to give them a cosy place they can drift off. Add scratching posts and rough surfaces around your home that you encourage your cat to interact with. It won’t necessarily save your furniture completely but should reduce the propensity to scratch other things.
Finally let your cat come and go as he or she pleases! If you’re afraid that having a cat flap will allow all the local neighbourhood cats into your home then consider a microchip cat flap. Your cat can wear a chip on their collar that activates the flap to open but locks everything else out. It’s a bit like giving your kitty their own door key!
Other House Pets
Any pet that spends time at home with you could potentially benefit from positive changes. Consider the home environment especially carefully for any pets allowed to roam freely, the best approach is to think about their natural behaviour and try to find ways to encourage that behaviour in a way that works for both you and your pet. Encouraging our pets to behave naturally within a safe and loving environment will provide the best chance of creating a harmonious living space.