Of those who have had their home damaged by their pet, 80% have spent up to £250 repairing or replacing damaged items in their home. A further 1 in 12 (8%) have spent £800-£1,000 fixing interior damage caused by their pets.
Nearly half (47%) of UK pet owners cited the living room as being the most common place for destruction, followed by the kitchen (at 30%), but over 1 in 4 (27%) of pet owners have had more than one room in their home suffer damage due to their pet.
How can you try and prevent your beloved four-legged friend wreaking havoc in your home?
After consulting veterinarians, dog walks and behaviour specialists, MattressNextDay have shared their top tips for pet owners.
Make sure your pets are well-exercised
It may seem an obvious solution but often, the reason dogs sometimes destroy furniture or do something they shouldn’t do is because they are bored.
Rachel Rogers, owner and head trainer for Nose to Trail Pet Services, states: “When dogs don't have an appropriate outlet for this innate desire, it can lead to ‘problem’ behaviours that can cause damage in the home. For some dogs, this may be digging which can manifest as ripping up soft furnishings like pillows, quilts and mattresses.”
Receive professional training
Sometimes all your dog needs is a bit of training – which is especially important if you’ve decided to purchase a puppy. Training them from a younger age is likely to be more successful as the older they get, the harder they are to train.
Spray anti-chew spray on your expensive items
If you have any items of furniture that you really don’t want your dog to damage, then consider spraying it with anti-chew spray, as this has a naturally unpleasant taste.
Create a safe space for your pet
Creating a dedicated space just for your dog will give them somewhere to feel safe that they can take themselves off to should they need to. Crates are a quick way to do this, but you can also convert furniture or even purchase future with ready-made spaces for dog beds.
Creating a den for your pet gives them a place to feel settled, stay when they are nervous, or simply have some alone time where they’re not disturbed by other pets or family members.
Consider what your pet can reach and remove any items at risk
Just like you might baby-proof a house, you should do the same with dogs. Remove any items easily within their reach or anything that can be easily knocked over, such as items on bedside tables or coffee tables.
Nail scissors, tweezers, glasses of water by the bed, jewellery and medication can be easily discovered, and as many dogs use their mouth to investigate, they may well eat them.
Ditch scented candles but encourage a relaxing environment
Lauren Rosenburg, an anxiety, fear and phobia expert, reveals that our pets have feelings, too. “Signs they are nervous or anxious need attention. Try wrapping your dog in a soft, cosy blanket, talk to them in a gentle voice and use pressure points such as Reiki, a very effective method of calming nervous dogs.”
But she also warns to stay away from essential oils as they can be dangerous for dogs. Be careful with reed diffusers, scented candles and wax melts. Make sure that any scented candles are pet-friendly and placed high up where your pet can’t reach them or knock them over.
Access damage-prone areas, and safeguard accordingly
By accessing any areas that might be prone to damage, this will allow you to plan for it and instead spend less on furniture you know might need to be placed.
Dr Heather Venkat, a veterinarian, states: “if your pet likes to look out the window, invest in sturdy window blinds. Otherwise, a pet may paw at or break more flimsy plastic blinds or shades. You can also raise the blinds during the day so that your pet doesn’t damage them when trying to get a good outside view.
Keep your bedroom pet-friendly, or don’t permit them access
If your dog is allowed in your bedroom, make sure you’ve made it pet-friendly and removed any risks. It’s also important that they have their own bed somewhere else so that they know your bedroom is your place to sleep, and not theirs. Make sure that their bed is cosy, too.
Make your pet work for their food, to promote good behaviour
To help relieve boredom while you are out, veterinary surgeon Dr Alex Avery suggests making them work for their food, as this is one of the best ways to keep your dog entertained for hours.
This means providing them with some form of slow-feeder or food puzzle that forces them to put in the time to get their "reward". Having several different types (and they can be home-made) allows you to keep your pet guessing and makes sure they don't lose interest or work out how to get their food too quickly.
Make sure your pet has regular check-ups at the vet
Boredom and behaviour issues are not the only reason your dog might be acting up and causing damage to your home. They could be trying to alleviate pain or illness and hinting that something is wrong.
If your dog causing damage seems sudden or out of character, get them to the vet to check there is not something wrong.
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