We all enjoy cuddling with our furry friends at the end of a long day. After all, you adopted your little ball of fluff for the cuddles, right? Generally, our first choice location for a snuggle session is not on the floor. It’s in the bed, on the couch, or in a favorite chair. And while we’ve already discussed how to repair furniture damaged by pets, we haven’t yet touched on how to prevent furniture from getting damaged in the first place.
Most fabric furniture is relatively impervious to visible damage by pets. Sure, fur will accumulate sometimes and the lint roller will become your best friend, but aside from the occasional accident on the fabric, it’s relatively safe. Now, pets and leather furniture, on the other hand, are a different story. Finished leather is not as absorbent as fabric in terms of accidents (urine and vomit), however it does show things like scratches. Scratches can make your perfect living room centerpiece look worn and ragged, even if it’s relatively new. With a few helpful tips, you’ll be able to safeguard your expensive investments from the paws and claws of man’s best friend.
When You Still Want Your Pet to Have Furniture Access
If you love to let Fido or Garfield on the furniture, it’s important to put a leather protectant on the couch or chair. A leather protectant will give your couch an extra layer of protection from oil that is found in their fur and paws. And don’t worry, even if scratches appear — there are solutions! In the case Garfield got a little frisky with the side of the leather and pulled out some of the fibers, the repair process will be a tad more laborious and will either require a leather repair kit, or for you to call a certified technician to fix the leather.
In addition to using leather protectant, keeping Fido or Garfield’s nails properly maintained will go a long way in preventing scratches from appearing on your leather furniture. Now just to be clear — we are not giving the green light to declaw the cat. Declawing cats can throw off their balance, causing them extreme pain and the need to relearn how to walk. But if you keep your pet’s nails properly trimmed to an acceptable length, it will be more difficult for them to scratch and damage your leather.
Since cats scratch at things to stretch their muscles, maintain their nails and exercise, it is not a habit you will be able to break. However, you can redirect the location of where they do their scratching. PETA recommends purchasing at least two rough scratching posts to station around the house. These posts should be at least three feet tall in order for the cats to fully extend their body and stretch. Redirecting a cat’s scratching routine can be reinforced through positive and negative praise, when appropriate. In the case of a rather stubborn Garfield who might not be totally willing to curtail to your hopeful demands, squirting some lukewarm water on his/her back should also help do the trick!
Dogs, on the other hand, generally outgrow scratching once they get trained in the puppy years. By keeping their nails trim and maintained, you’re already taking giant steps in preventing leather furniture damage. For further prevention, invest in a big blanket, in the color of your dog’s fur, to put down on the leather. The blanket will protect your leather from damage and, since you bought it in the same color as your dog, hide the fur!
It’s Time for Fido and Garfield to Find a New Resting Spot
Maybe your couch is too nice, or pretty, to risk even the slightest damage from pets. You love your time with your pets, but — hey — they can always get in the bed and chill with you. Just not on the leather couch. Obviously, it’s much easier to lay the ground rules down from the moment you bring the pet, or couch, home. But, in the event those rules aren’t there, here are some ways to help change a pet’s relaxation spot.
For both cats and dogs, successfully training your pet to stay off the couch requires an equally comfortable option on the floor. Dog beds and cat condos are great alternatives for your furry friend. However, if you’re going to get one, make sure to invest in one that is comfortable enough for your pet to actually want to rest in. Purchasing a cheap one might be a nice gesture, but if the couch or chair is still more comfortable, you know what the decision will be.
In the same breath, that bed or condo should be placed close to where you typically sit on the couch. Dogs and cats generally want to be a part of the action; that’s why they like to sit close to you! If you place the new pet furniture near where the family sits in the living room, they won’t feel like they are being left out of the picture and will be more likely to choose that spot over the furniture. Reinforcing the new spot with treats and positive feedback will also go a long way in convincing your pet that the new spot is better than the old one.
If none of this works, there are always scent deterrents to help pets stay off the furniture. Dogs are sensitive to bitter tastes, like bitter apple, so buying a spray to put on the couch will help train the dog to stay far away from it. Before spraying it on the couch, spray a bit of the liquid onto a paper towel and let Fido lick or sniff it. He/she should recoil from the smell; this will help him/her recognize the smell on the furniture and, therefore, stay far away from it. Cats, similarly, do not like acidic flavors like orange or lemon. Just like the bitter apple dog deterrent, there are orange and lemon sprays that will help train your cat to stay away from certain pieces of furniture. If you want to make your own, any lemon or orange oil should be greatly diluted by water.
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