Pets are an important part of our families. In fact, the folks at This Old House estimate that half of all American households have pets. Whether your best friend has fur, feathers, or fins, keep

reading to learn how to make you house a safe and healthy place for all the members of your family!

Safety First! Your house could be a dangerous place for pets if you don’t take steps to eliminate hazards. Here are a few tips.

  1. Pet-Friendly Plants: There are a variety of popular indoor and outdoor plants that can be toxic to pets including lilies, aloe vera, amaryllis, poinsettias, mums and more. You should either avoid these varieties of plants or keep them out of reach of pets. To help your decorating and landscaping easier, the ASPCA has a handy plant guide!
  2. Closed-Off Chemicals: Dogs, pets, and bunnies can be nosy! Dangerous chemicals like cleaners and pesticides should be kept in cupboards that can be latched shut. Also remember to keep your toilet seat down at all times if you use automatic bowl cleaners or fresheners.
  3. Guard the Garbage: Make sure your trash cans have closed lids. Discarded food like chicken bones, grapes, chocolate, etc. can all be toxic to dogs or present choking hazards. Plus, they’re no fun to clean up!

Has your décor gone to the dogs? Owning pets doesn’t mean that you can’t have a stylish and comfortable home. Here are some things to take into consideration.

  1. Make Smart Fabric Choices: There a lot of ways you can minimize the appearance of pet fur, dander and general messiness. For instance, avoid carpet when you can. Carpet absorbs moisture and stains. Hard surface flooring is easier to clean and maintain, but if you must have carpet, stick to a low-pile. Also consider furniture, carpet, and area rugs that are of a similar shade to your pet’s fur. Last but not least, stay away from difficult to clean or dry-clean-only fabrics for sofas and bedding.
  2. Keep Clean: Keeping your home clean while owning a pet can be tricky, but its more than just frequent vacuuming and dusting (which is also important). You’ll also have to keep your pet clean. Frequent grooming and wiping your pets’ paws after they’ve been outside can go a long way to keeping things tidy.
  3. Create a “Pet Parlor”: Pets often seek out a cozy place to burrow or “den.” To keep them away from hazardous areas, make sure your pet has a safe and comfortable place to go. The space should have durable flooring and have access to have food, water and maybe even a pet bed. However, if you have a cat or rabbit that uses a litter box, make sure to keep that litter box well away from where your pet eats. A ground floor mud room or other area near an entrance might just be the perfect place for your pet to call their own.