Having a pet around your home in Houston can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Whether it’s the loyalty of a dog or the sweetness of a cat, pets make our homes warmer and more welcoming, and we love keeping them around.
Though we love our pets to death, we can’t deny it: They can definitely make a mess. Puppies and kittens can wreak havoc on a home before they’re properly trained, and even older pets can have bad habits that are hard to break.
All of this comes with the territory of having a pet. That said, you do want to protect your home against as much damage as possible, especially if you’re trying to sell your home. Not every buyer is going to be a pet-lover like you, so it’s important to make sure your home is free of pet odors and damage.
Don’t stress it: there are ways to mitigate damage around your home even if you bring home a new puppy tomorrow. Here’s how to protect your home against pet damage — and how pressure washing services can help.
Hardwood floors look beautiful, and if you have an order home with the original hardwood flooring, that’s all the better. However, you do have to protect your hardwoods from your pets, although there are some things you can do regularly to prevent pet damage.
First, keep your pet’s nails trimmed and clean. Both dogs and cats can be hard on hardwood floors, so trim their nails regularly. Cats like to make their own scratching posts, and while you don’t need to declaw them, make sure you pick up a scratching post for them. This will usually let them trim their own nails, but if they don’t use the one you bought, then you may need to get them trimmed yourself.
Other than trimming nails, you can also lay down rugs in key areas of your home to prevent damage. For example, your dog may get very excited when someone comes to the door and scratch at the hardwood. It can be tough to train this out of a dog in the heat of the moment, so instead, lay down a sturdy rug that will pull double duty protecting your floor from claws and other dirt and debris from shoes. Indoor/outdoor rugs are made to stand up to heavy traffic areas, and many area machine washable.
In hallways and other areas of your home with hardwood floors, lay down a few extra rugs and don’t let your pets go tearing across the hardwood floors. Less scratches mean less work for you and less pet damage.
Of course, if your pets live to an old age, then damage to your hardwood floors is mostly inevitable. A professional will be able to refinish your floors for you so they look like new. To prospective buyers, this will be a huge plus.
When you’re had a pet for so long, it’s easy to forget that they have a smell. You might be used to the wet-dog smell whenever your pooch comes in from the outside when it’s raining or how a litter box has an inevitable odor. But prospective buyers coming through your home will definitely notice that smell and they may have pet allergies, so it’s vital to get ahead of the game and stop or get rid of odors.
With pets, it’s not always possible to protect against every odor: Pets just have a natural smell. But you should be training your pet to do its business either outside or in a litter box. You should also be cleaning your pet’s space regularly. If you have a dog crate, clean it out at least once a week. Your litter box should also be cleaned regularly and the kitty litter should also be replaced. Wash pet blankets when they get dirty, and for that matter, wash your pets regularly (whatever that means for your specific pet).
But even doing all of this will not prevent every single pet odor. So even as you’re training your pet, make sure you’re cleaning up after them around your home as well.
For urine stains on the carpet, you can use spot treatments to try and get rid of the odors right away. If left alone for too long, urine stains can give off an awful smell, so anytime you find a mess on your carpet, make sure you clean it immediately. This will mitigate the amount of damage done to your carpet, and it will get rid of some of the smell.
If you don’t treat your carpets in a timely manner, the urine will seep in and leave an ugly stain as well as a nasty odor. When this happens, you will almost assuredly need to get your carpet replaced. This can be done by a professional is you have leftover carpet in a closet somewhere — many professionals can do a repair and distress the new carpet so it blends in seamlessly — but it can be a costly job to do, so it’s better to spot clean urine stains when they happen to avoid this altogether.
Pet odors can also get into the fabric of your sofa as well as any bedding or blankets laying around the house. Wash all bedding and blankets regularly to avoid these scents. For low-key smells, you can use an odor eliminator such as Febreeze on your couch, but if that as urine stains as well, then you should have it professionally cleaned.
Let’s face it: Dogs love to chew. Whether it’s a tennis ball or a squeaky toy, dogs love to work to tear a toy apart, but what do you do when dogs seem preoccupied with tearing apart other things in your home.
If you’ve ever come home to a torn pillow or rug or found bite marks on the leg of a chair, then you know how destructive dog chewing can be. If you’re trying to sell your home, then you can bet that prospective buyers will be looking for damage done by pets because that may be a bargaining chip for them.
With dogs that love to chew, the first step to prevent pet damage is to make sure your pet has enough toys. If you witness your pet starting to chew on something it shouldn’t, don’t yell or scream. Redirect the pup’s attention with a toy that is okay to chew. You don’t have to buy a new chew toy every single day, but your pup should have some options nearby throughout the day.
You can also use bitter sprays to deter chewing. This is called impersonal correcting because you’re not doing it exactly — the environment is. Your pup still learns not to chew on something because now the taste is bitter and unpleasant, but you don’t have to do anything yourself. Think of it this way: A child learns not to touch a hot stove after just one touch. Your dog will learn in the same way.
You should also make sure your pet is getting all of the exercise needed. When dogs are bored and idle for too long, they get destructive and take their boredom out by chewing on furniture and pillows. You can prevent this by making your pet gets enough exercise everyday. Take them on long walks around your neighborhood or run with them around a track. Some neighborhoods have dog parks with fences where pets can run around to their heart’s content.
Remember, there’s no excuse for hitting a dog or using inhumane tactics like duct taping a muzzle. All destructive behaviors can be trained away with time and patience.
If your pet has caused damage to your home with its chewing, then you do need to get that taken care of before people begin touring your home. Replace any damaged trim or furniture. Prospective buyers like to imagine themselves in your home, so make it easy for them even if they’re not pet lovers themselves. Seeing the damage a pet has done can be jarring for some buyers, and they might start to look for other places where a pet has damaged the home.
Outdoor pet damage
Outdoor pets are fairly common in Houston. Many people like to let their cats out to roam and hunt, and their dogs like to spend lazy afternoons snoozing in the sun. But pets can do a lot of damage to your outdoor spaces, so it’s important that you try to stop them before the damage is done.
Here are a few outdoor hotspots that pets love to it.
Digging holes and killing plants
Nothing beats digging in the dirt for a dog, but when it gets to be too much around your home, dogs can do some major damage to your flower beds. More often than not, your flower beds just won’t look as nice as they usually do, but in extreme cases, dogs can rip up flowers and bushes as they dig.
Cats can be difficult around plants as well, especially if they’re outdoor cats. Outdoor cats will urinate wherever they please, which can kill some plants. It also leaves a terrible smell behind, which can ruin the atmosphere of your patio.
Chewing on wooden decks
Just as pets will gnaw and chew furniture inside, they can also turn their attention to wooden decks. Dogs especially love to chew, and cats may scratch at the wood. Make sure you have chew toys for your dog and a scratching post for your cat.
Urine and messes on wooden decks
As with carpets, urine can soak into wood or drip down to the ground and leave a nasty odor that you will certainly smell at your next barbeque. For dogs, you can usually train them to go on the grass, although accidents may happen occasionally. Cats will require careful watching, but you could always keep them inside.
How pressure washing services can help mitigate pet damage to your deck
Whether you’re trying to sell your home or just keep it in good condition, regular maintenance can prevent pet damage and keep your property looking better in the long run. You need not get rid of your furry friend or forgo ever having one. You just need pressure washing services to keep your deck in good shape.
Pressure washing services give your deck a bath in a sense. An expert in pressure washing services will use just the right amount of pressure to blast away dirt and debris that your pets may drag up onto your deck. Additionally, pressure washing services can help get rid of pet odors that may be floating around on your deck.
But pet dirt and odors are just some of the benefits of pressure washing services. An expert in pressure washing services can go over your whole home and wash away all the dirt and grime that has built up over time. If you feel like your home has looked a little dingy, pressure washing services can clean off your siding without cracking it. A driveway after pressure washing services can look almost brand new.
When you’ve got a furry friend and you’re trying to sell your home, one tactic is to make it look as if a pet normally doesn’t live there. Put away the dog bed and water dish and ask a neighbor to take care of your pet for a day or two while people are touring your home. Give your home a good scrub and burn a few scented candles to give the home a fresher smell. Some people are turned off by pets in the home immediately, and you don’t want to drive away those buyers. Instead, just make your home look a little less dog-friendly and a little more buyer-friendly — at least until your home is officially sold.
Tell us: How do you keep your pet from damaging your home? Share your best tips with us in the comments — and let us know how pressure washing services can help make a difference in your home’s appearance.