In a perfect world, pets and furniture would mix together as well as peanut butter and jelly. Unfortunately in the real world these two household staples can sometimes clash. Your cat might love that new loveseat you bought, but for entirely different reasons than you do: You might love the comfortable upholstery, while your cat loves shredding the upholstery with her claws.
Dogs and cats add a lot of life and joy to your home, but they can wreck havoc on your furnishings if you’re not careful. At Dr. Chem-Dry, we’ve seen what can happen when your pets
get their furry paws all over your beloved furniture. If you need help figuring out how to keep your pet’s destructive impulses in check, follow these simple steps.
Related: How to Prevent Pet Odor
To keep your dog from chewing on your furniture, you need to figure out WHY they’re doing it. While dogs can be highly energetic and rambunctious, they shouldn’t just be pawing and biting away at your furniture for no reason. When dogs get destructive, they usually do it because they’re bored or stressed.
The key to keeping your dog away from your furniture is to keep them busy. Fight their boredom by giving them a variety of toys to keep them occupied. Pay attention to what makes your dog anxious and stressed, and learn to identify the signs when they’re getting stressed. When you see that your dog is starting to get stressed, do your best to distract them by giving them treats and using positive reinforcement.
Puppies are especially prone to chewing on things because they’re teething. Have an array of chew toys of different sizes and textures on hand to keep them away from your furnishings. Dogs of all ages may also chew on furniture because they want to get your attention or because they’re full of excess energy. One way to reduce this problem is to exercise them more often. Doing this will not only offer them the attention they crave, it will also tire them out.
If your dog seems to like to chew on one particular piece of furniture, don’t leave them alone with it! When you leave the house, close the door on that room to keep your dog out or set up a doggy fence. If neither of these is a viable option, cage your dog in a comfortable space with their favorite chew toy. You can also try to discourage them from biting that piece of furniture by spraying it down with a natural spray deterrent. These products produce a smell that your dog will hate.
“Cat Scratch Fever” isn’t just the name of a song: It’s also the state of mind so many cats enter when you leave them alone with a bunch of furniture. Cats LOVE to scratch things, and left to their own devices would gladly treat the entire world as one large ball of twine to unwind. There are evolutionary reasons for this: By scratching objects, they’re relieving stress and marking their territory. It also helps them keep their claws in good condition by removing dead skin from the outside of the nail sheath.
The best way to encourage your cat to stop scratching your stuff is to give them a substitute to scratch instead. Pay attention to what your cat likes to scratch and how they scratch it. Is there a certain material they love clawing up? Are there certain positions they like to be in when they scratch away? Once you’ve noticed how and what your cat scratches, the next step is to set up a scratching post that mirrors that surface and those conditions. So if your cat loves scratching on leather armrests while sitting on a higher plane, make a scratching post that reflects that.
You can attract them to use the post by attaching toys to the scratcher. If they seem disinterested, you can use deterrents to draw them away from your furniture. You can use bitter tasting non-toxic sprays and citrus fruit peels on the surfaces they normally scratch up to keep them away.
If the sprays don’t work, you may have to get creative. Cover areas that you don’t want them to scratch with aluminum foil or double-sided tape. There are also products you can use to cover your cat’s nails with plastic casings which will remove their sharpness. If at all possible, don’t declaw your cat! That should be an absolute last resort that should be otherwise avoided unless every other deterrent strategy fails.
Related: Will pets ruin my stone floors?
Need help dealing with pet odors or stains in your home? Give Dr.Chem-Dry Carpet & Tile Cleaning a call at 602-243-6379.