Around 44% of UK household own a pet, so their needs can be an important part of the design and renovation process. From design to site safety, here are our tips on what to consider for your furry, scaly, or feathered friend during your home renovation.
- Will the new flooring stand up to fur/ wear/ ‘accidents’? Is it easy to clean?
- Does the new sofa look like a perfect scratching post? Ensure your pet has somewhere comfy as an alternative and provide toys and scratching posts as necessary. Any time your pet mistakes the new sofa for the bed – calmly carry him/her to their bed instead. If your pet can’t accept the sofa is only for you, consider a pet-proof sofa topper
Cat Tip- cats like to scratch things taller than themselves, so provide a tall scratching post. Dog Tip- dogs like to be near you. If your dog will not use their bed, if possible, put it closer to you.
Layout – consider where you will put your pets’ things within your beautiful new scheme:
- Storage of pet food/ toys/ medication, etc. – somewhere dry, easily accessible for you and inaccessible for your pet! Your brand new, minimal kitchen will still need space for your dog to eat…
- Remember to consider where you will put bedding, food and water
- Do you need a power supply (for a fish/ reptile tank/ fountain water bowl, etc?)
- is the location safe (is the hamster cage inaccessible to the cat?!?)
- Where will you install your dog/ cat flap? Full glass extensions look fabulous – but you cannot fit a pet flap to them. We’ve created first floor access for pets with ‘cat steps’ in two recent projects – ensuring the glass is uncluttered but your pet is happy. (Unlikely to work for a dog…)
Contractor – not everyone loves pets or is happy to work around them. If you need to leave your pet at the house during the works, discuss with your contractor early on.
During the Works – Consider sending your pet away during the works – with family/ to a professional kennel/ cattery. – If you (and the pet) are living at your property during the renovation
- Talk to your contractor about your pet’s needs during the works- i.e. “we’ll need access to the garden in the morning and evenings and the dog walker comes at this time each day.” Ensure they can sensibly work around these needs (without incurring further costs) before starting work.
In one current project, the main contractor loves cats so was delighted to feed the cats each morning – not every builder will be so amenable! These were agile cats who used a temporary ‘cat highway’ to reach the garden from a first-floor balcony while the lower ground floor was excavated
- Ensure your pet (and the builders) are safe from each other at all times – your pet will be in danger if they are lurking around builders’ feet during work. Equally, your pet may not take kindly to unknown people in your house, especially territorial dogs. Remember you are responsible for keeping your animal under control, even if you are not there during the day.
In one recent project the very gentle but overenthusiastic, young but enormous retriever got between a specialist contractor and the door – we had to rescue the specialist by distracting the dog…
- If you have a dog or a caged pet – shut them as far away from the disruption as possible and clearly mark any doors to be kept closed.
Dog Tip – if your dog appears stressed by the work, pet psychologists advise you shouldn’t comfort them (this ‘rewards’ stressed behaviour) but provide them with a safe comfortable area to rest, pretend all is well and ignore them. You can make it up to them later with treats and petting!
- If you have a pet which comes and goes, make sure the builders are happy to work around loose animals. Beware of accessible spaces during the works – holes to fall into or loose electric wires to chew! We suggest shutting in skittish or young animals.
In a recent project, the very friendly cat had a ‘cat bridge’ built over the foundations while these were being excavated. This also gave the cat a chance to practice balancing…
All Pets Tip- make sure your pet is chipped or has a collar so they can be easily identified should they escape during the works.
- Dust, sharp tools and disruption- agree which areas will be cleaned/ cleared regularly during the works and which will be inaccessible for your pets. Renovation work is by its nature, dirty and dusty which is not healthy for your pets. Cages should be covered and protected where necessary and pets should have a safe place to hide during noisy periods of work.
New or completely changed spaces can be daunting for a pet – help familiarise them:
- Add their old toys/ favourite blankets to the space.
- Smell – most of our furry friends will not appreciate paint smells. Ensure the new interiors are well aired and all surfaces are clean, dry and free of toxic/ dangerous materials or tools.
Cat tip – rub your cat (around the neck works best) with a clean dry sock then rub the sock over the skirting, walls, etc. o pre-mark the space with their scent. You won’t notice the smell but your cat will feel much more at home.
- Give your pet lots of encouragement and care whilst they explore their new home. Food treats are an excellent way to make this a happy and rewarding experience.
- Introduce them to the space slowly – one room at a time. Give them at least 24 hours to get used to one room before introducing them to other spaces.
Fish Tip- new tanks need to be cleaned thoroughly before use and the water should be added to the tank for a minimum of 3 days before introducing the fish.
- Moving in is disruptive with items coming in and out of storage. Ensure boxes and storage items cannot be pushed over/ fall onto animals (or children!) and make sure you know where your pet is at all times, particularly if they have a tendency to hide in boxes or small spaces!
Cat Tip- when moving into a new place, keep your cat inside for a minimum of 6 weeks to ensure they acclimatise to their surroundings. Cats let out before they have acclimatised can get lost as they will not know their home and could go looking for familiar places which no longer exist or are miles away.
If you need help with Pet friendly interior design or would like to discuss how to arrange renovation work for your home – please get in touch.