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Originally published Friday, February 21, 2014 at 8:01 PM

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How to make your home a safe haven for pets | HomeWork

The following advice can make life at home more enjoyable for both you and your furry family members.


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Q: How can I make my home more pet-friendly?

A: Pet owners love their animals and want them to be happy. But are there things you may not have considered that could go a long way toward making your home a safer and more pet-friendly haven?

The following advice can make life at home more enjoyable for both you and your furry family members.

As any pet owner knows, cats and dogs are sometimes tempted to take a sip out of the toilet. But it isn’t a healthy water source, and it’s an especially bad idea if you put sanitizer in your commode.

Get in the habit of keeping the seats down on your toilets. Not only will it keep animals from drinking unsanitary water, but flushing the toilet with the lid down also prevents millions of undesirable microscopic particles from flying up and landing on toothbrushes and other toiletry items.

Other hazards to avoid include drapes and blinds with long chords and tassels.

They can become wrapped around the neck of a playful puppy or kitten, which creates a choking danger.

Be sure that all wires and electrical cords are firmly attached to the wall and not dangling free to be mistaken for a potentially dangerous play toy.

Check your household plants. Do you know which ones can be poisonous to cats and dogs? Many plants — including aloe, ivies and amaryllis — can be toxic to your pet. To be sure, get a complete list of household plants to avoid from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (aspca.org).

To avoid accidents, make sure your pet-friendly plants are placed on secure bases so a wagging tail or frantic chase through the house doesn’t knock them over.

Here’s a great tip that doesn’t occur to many pet owners: pick satin paint. Drooling or a shake after the rain can stain walls that have been painted with flat paint, but satin-finish paint will wipe up much more easily.

Wherever you can, consider skipping carpets in your home. Even if your dog has an astoundingly strong bladder and your cat never seems to get fur balls, rugs still collect hair, critters and bacteria.

Easy-to-clean tile, vinyl, stone or hardwood floors tend to look less pet-worn, especially if you keep nails on both your cats and dogs trimmed down to minimize floor scratches.

Even our favorite pets can have an unfortunate need to chew on anything we leave lying around, especially when they are young. So, if you don’t want it chewed on, don’t leave it out. Do keep your pet’s own chewy toys easily accessible, especially when you are not around.

Keep your pet’s toys tidy and handy by storing them in a decorative basket. Even something as practical as a laundry basket can do the trick.

Dogs do well in closed-in spaces and often feel most secure in their crates when owners are away from home.

If dog crates don’t match your décor, you can create a happy hideaway by placing the crate inside a cabinet or underneath a tall side table.

Look for a piece of furniture that can be adapted to cover your pet’s crate at garage and yard sales, and then refinish or repaint it to match your décor.

HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to homework@mbaks.com.



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