February 20 is Love Your Pet Day but while you adore your furry little friend, you may be less keen on the damage they cause to your sofa.
If you share your home with a dog, cat or house rabbit, you may find your sofa covered in animal hair, scratches or even bite marks. But how can you protect your settee and armchairs from your pet, while still keeping them happy?
One of the main reasons a pet will damage a sofa is because they are bored and looking for something to do. Make sure they have plenty of toys and objects offering mental stimulation in your living room so your animal friend turns their attention to those instead of your sofa. For dogs, chew toys are ideal, while a scratching post is a wise investment for cat owners. Regular exercise, especially walks for dogs and time outside for cats, is also important as if a pet feels cooped up they may be more likely to attack your furniture in frustration. Rabbits need to gnaw as their teeth are constantly growing so if you have a house rabbit who is allowed in your living room, make sure they have plenty of toys, branches and chews to get their teeth into as well as balls, tunnels and digging platforms to keep them busy.
One of the best ways of preventing scratch marks ruining the appearance of your sofa is to keep your pets’ claws from getting too long. Regularly trimming claws isn’t just good for your furniture, it is also important for their general health as claws that are too long can be uncomfortable and even painful. If you’re not confident about trimming your pet’s claws yourself, consult an animal groomer or vet. It’s also a good idea to brush your pet’s hair regularly to stop them moulting on your furniture.
We know love pets to be comfy, and one of the main reasons your cat and dog will climb on your sofa is that it is somewhere soft and cosy to relax. Make sure your pet has a warm and inviting place they can go to in your living room to discourage them from settling on your sofa. Keep a pet bed near the sofa and encourage them to use it. Give them lots of praise when they choose to curl up in their bed and quietly and quickly remove them from your sofa whenever possible.
When you go out, stop your pet from having free rein of the living room by remembering to keep the door closed. Stopping your pet being around your sofa unsupervised will reduce the risk of them causing damage to the upholstery or covering it in fur. Make sure they are in an area where they have space to move about, somewhere comfortable to sleep and free and easy access to fresh water.
Adding a throw to your sofa is a good way of protecting it from your pet. Covering your upholstery with a large throw will prevent it becoming snagged or scratched by claws and keep the pet hair at bay. Choose a throw which matches the colour of your cat or dog’s fur and make sure it is machine washable so you can easily keep it clean and smelling fresh.