Its tough to hate animals. While I do not have any, I understand the appeal. They are always happy to see you when you walk in the door after a lousy day at work. Dogs and cats have no hidden agendas and are a great addition to many homes.
However they are not without their problems. Apart from the occasional “surprise” on your area rug or claw marks on your recliner, they tend to take over a space and aren’t always inclined to share. So here are a few tips to keep you home presentable without evicting Rover.
Give them their own space: Sadly, we all have to work and we may have to leave the dog/cat alone in the house for 9 hours a day. No matter how much you love your purebred husky, you may not trust him around your new leather recliner. The easiest solution, if you have it available, is to give him his own space for the hours you are at work. NOW I AM NOT SUGGESTING KEEPING IT OUTSIDE OR IN A TRAVEL CAGE ALL DAY. I don’t want the angry emails from PETA supporters. I am saying that if you have a spare bedroom, give it to Fido. It saves you from the scavenger hunt of looking for “presents” around the house and will limit furniture damage to one room. Make sure to keep the room comfortable (dogs and cats have no sweat glands remember) and avoid putting anything too valuable in there. You won’t like your dog as much if he uses your Macbook as a chew toy or getting cat fur all over your humidor.
Keep Them Away From your Valuables: With dogs anything can be a chew toy, and with cats anything can be a scratching post. This means you want to make sure you stop doing things like having low hanging cords they could get tangled in. While this sounds bad for them, its worse if they wind up yanking your flat screen off the media stand. Make sure everything is safe. Even that laundry pile of clothes could easily become a cat bed, which could end up in claw marks in your work shirts.
Entertain Them When You Are Home: This tip is more for dog people than anything. Cats don’t get bored as easily, especially as they get older, but dogs do. Make sure if you are going to coop up your puppy for a third of the day that he knows he is going to get some exercise when you get home. Dogs can get restless, and they will take it out on your furniture and doors. Take it for a walk before AND after work.
Invest in Toys to Entertain Them When You Aren’t: Grow some cat grass, buy a scratching post, toss a rawhide bone in the middle of the room for the dog to gnaw at for a few hours. All of these are good options. You may also want to invest in a “Dog Sitter” or Cat Sitter DVDs, which gives them something to listen to while you are out. These have “the sights and sounds of large birds, raccoons, squirrels, mice, cats and dogs.” It will give them the stimulus of the park even while you aren’t there. Simply play them on a loop and go to work.
Hide Their Stuff: Just because you live with an animal, doesn’t make it their house. Makes sure the focal point of the room isn’t your dogs bathroom made up of yesterday’s New York Times. Makes sure that their area out-of-the-way like in the back corner of your “office” or in a bedroom. Having a box of cat poop in the corner of the kitchen could ruin the appetite of your less animal loving compatriots. And a pile of chewed up pillows on your couch are not necessarily welcoming either.