House-trained: The basics of a pet-friendly home
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Quick, how many family members do you have? If you included a cat or dog, you very likely live in a pet-friendly home. For new pet owners and those who’d like to step up their game, here are suggestions for making your home even more suitable for your four-footed kin.
Indoor pet cleaning stations, ideally set up in a laundry room or mud room, can run the gamut from a door mat and a towel on a hook to a spa that belongs at the Four Seasons. A rimmed baking pan partially filled with lukewarm water that your dog can stick its paws in — with a toweling off afterward — is simple but effective. But for more robust washing, consider something like Home Pet Spa, a portable enclosure that features six mist jets and a shower wand, and will have your dog expecting to finish up by sipping smoothies in a bathrobe.
For pet owners, it’s scary to think that many common household cleaners are toxic to both cats and dogs. Read the labels and avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, chlorine bleach, glycol ethers, phenols, formaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol or phthalates. Fortunately, there are pet-safe, eco-friendly alternatives. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent, Clean + Green Fabric Refresher, SpotAway Pet-safe Glass Cleaner and Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner are a few.
When pets are in the house, keeping up with shedding hair and the inevitable debris tracked in from outside can seem never-ending. One way to keep up with it is a robot vacuum, such as a Roomba manufactured by iRobot, which will vacuum on whatever schedule you set it for. Robot vacuums aren’t perfect; they aren’t as powerful as a high-quality manual vacuum and they ingest things they shouldn’t about as often as your pooch does. But unlike a manual vacuum, you can program them to shut themselves off when you and the dog want to listen to music or watch Animal Planet.
While the convenience of a small, flap-covered door that allows pets to enter and exit a home on their own can be appealing, the potential risk from intruders makes many homeowners hesitant to install one. The best solution may be a product such as High Tech Products’ PX-1 Power Pet, which includes an electronic key on your pet’s collar that automatically unlocks the door when the key is in range and locks it back when the pet moves on.
There are pet bowls designed to encourage moderation by dogs who eat with the abandon of a high school football team. And there are pet bowls designed to help cats suffering from “whisker fatigue,” a malaise said to result from sensory overload. But for a food-safe feeding dish whose contents don’t end up all over the kitchen floor, the best choice is simply a stainless-steel bowl with a rubber base, such as the GPET 32 ounce Dog Bowl. The stainless is safer than plastic, which harmful bacteria can more easily cling to, and the rubber base keeps the bowl in place for all but the most enthusiastic canine gourmands.
Ask any feline, and they’ll tell you that no home should be without a cat tree. They’ll tell you that these vertical playgrounds, which sometimes reach from floor to ceiling, with multiple perches and cubbyholes and dangling toys, benefit cats in a number of ways, from allowing them to exercise their climbing instinct to giving them something to sharpen their claws on other than the living room furniture. The simplest cat trees consist of a step or two leading to a carpeted platform. The more elaborate, such as Kitty Mansions’ 9-foot Buckingham Palace, have enough play areas for an entire feline family.
Beds & sofas
While dogs and cats can sleep just about anywhere that’s warm, quiet and gives them a sense of security, you can elevate their fashion cred with a luxury pet sofa or bed that would fit in with any decorating scheme. No matter how stylish a bed may appear, though, first make sure it meets your pet’s needs, based on its size, energy level, health issues, and sleeping style. Get a washable bed, ideally one with an easy-to-remove cover. To keep it in good shape, clean off your dogs after playing outside and dry them off afterward. Wipe the cushion down frequently with a damp cloth to remove hair and dander. Finally, choose a bed that matches your dog’s fur, so you won’t find yourself wishing you’d gotten a goldfish instead.
Sidebar: Other pet hints
For a few other pet tips for your home, we went to Dave and Jodi Terranova, owners of Paws & Claws All Things Pet. Here’s what they had to add:
Several different types of kennels work great for house training. We carry Precision crates in five different sizes with assorted mats, as well as travel kennels and pop-up crates (which are great for camping). Chew toys are good to keep them busy, especially those that you can put kibble in. We like the Busy Buddy Chuckle, Squeak and Treat, and Squirrel Dude. To deter chewing, try Grannick’s Bitter Apple and Nature’s Miracle.
Soggy Doggy doormats and towels are great for mud season; they catch a lot of dirt and can be rewashed so they look like new. Grooming wipes are great for paws or just a quick, easy bath. We also have wipes for ears and teeth. For shampoos, try Earthbath, which is safe for animals and the environment. Check out True Blue shampoos and Groom-n-Fresh cologne to make your dog smell great. For dogs that swim a lot and get ear infections, try Bio Groom ear cleaners.
Nature’s Miracle makes different cleaners for everything from hardwood floors to skunk removal, for both cats and dogs. Also try Skout’s Honor litter box deodorizer or Earth Rated scented and unscented stain and odor remover. For other hair and debris, we like robot vacuums, Furminators (for shedding, with a wide assortment of brushes); and pet hair magnets, which are great for cars.
When it comes to pet doors, get one with rubber flaps to insulate for our cold climate. You can find them for everything from small cats to large dogs.
We offer everything from single- to double-elevated stands for multi-pet households and dogs with chronic digestive issues. Slow-feed bowls and mats work well for dogs that eat too quickly. We also have a line of Colorado-made, ceramic bowls, which look great, and even bowls designed for dogs with long ears so they don’t get wet.
To help manage overgrown nails, try one of an assortment of cat trees and sisal cat trees. We carry different height cat trees to offer security from other pets, and even ones that blend in with your décor without looking like a cat tree.
Beds and sofas
Yes, there are actual sofas for your dog. Try West Paw beds made from recycled material in a solar-powered facility. Dogs also appreciate memory-foam beds and simple, inexpensive bolster pads in their kennels, as well as microfiber beds that absorb and whisk away moisture.
— Info: pawsandclawssteamboat.com
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