White dog playing in lush green backyard with a privacy fence
Fence your backyard to protect pets from cars and other hazards. (DepositPhotos)

3. Make Your Backyard Pet-Friendly

The garden is a key area to develop with your cat or dog in mind, particularly due to all the hazards, but also the recreational opportunities, it provides.  

Obviously, you need a sturdy fence to prevent your pet from escaping to neighboring yards or, more seriously, a busy road.

Older dogs can have problems with steps, so make sure any areas you want them to access have ramps or easy-to-navigate alternatives.

Just like inside the house, make sure your outdoor plants are pet-friendly. Cats love playing, hiding or sunbathing in plants, and they will really appreciate a nice space to do this.

And if you have space, and your pooch loves water, consider installing a dog pool to keep them cool on hot days.

Tabby cat clawing into couch arm
Choose fabrics that your cat won’t claw into, or buy pet-proof covers for couches and chairs. (DepositPhotos)

4. Choose Pet-Safe Fabrics and Décor

Pets and fabrics are a tricky mix. Don’t be precious about your furniture; it is likely to get covered in hair, scratched, muddy, or all of the above! 

If you have a dog, avoid silk, velvet and tweed, as these are difficult to remove stains from. Leather is a good, pet-friendly option, as it is easy to wipe clean.

Silk, tweed and chenille are attractive to cats whose tiny claws can — and will — cause plenty of damage. Instead, choose synthetic materials such as microfibers.

Whether you have cats or dogs, it’s best to avoid lighter colors, for obvious reasons.

And, even if your pet is trained not to get on beds or sofas, they will likely come into contact with your furniture at some point, so choose carefully.

Pet-friendly home with dog and cat cuddling beside each other, sleeping on the kitchen tile floor
Pets love to lie on cool tile floors during hot summer days. (DepositPhotos)

5. Carefully Choose Flooring

Dogs love to run around — when the doorbell rings, at feeding time or to greet you when you arrive home. But in their rush and excitement, accidents can happen.

While hard floors are preferable to carpets, which gather dust, hair, stains and are a nightmare for allergies, you might want to place rugs at specific places. To make your home pet-friendly, consider adding area rugs near tight corners, just in case the dog skids and scratches.

But if you have a cat, again, watch out for those claws! Cats love to dig them into area rugs and carpets, so monitor how well they’re getting along — or not — with a rug. Then decide whether you need to keep a pet out of some areas of the house to protect the rug, or to use cheap rugs for everyday use and save the ‘good rugs’ for when guests visit.

Tiles in the kitchen are ideal for cats and dogs, and — bonus! — provide your pet with a cool place to lie in the summertime.

Our pets are like family to us, so it’s only right that we make allowances for them in our homes.

Providing a safe, comfortable, pet-friendly home will give you and your pet peace of mind, and leave you free to enjoy each other’s company.

Sofia Lockhart lives in Sydney, Australia. She enjoys decorating and renovating houses.

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