How to Prevent Damage Caused by Pets

How to Prevent Damage Caused by Pets

How To
By Dikran Seferian July 08, 2022

Your cat is all over the place — knocking flower pots off the shelf, clawing the furniture, making “art” with the toilet paper, and destroying everything you hold dear. “Whiskers, no!”, you yell, but Whiskers doesn’t listen. Whiskers looks at you while carrying on with the shenanigans. You reach for your smartphone and type something along the lines of “cat destroying my house”. Fortunately, there’s a solution for just about any situation when it comes to preventing pet damage.

Both cats and dogs are inquisitive creatures, and it is in their nature to explore and interact with their surroundings. Much to the dismay of the owners, however, household items can sometimes fall victim to this natural behavior. But there’s nothing a few proven tips can’t solve. Taking these measures into consideration will allow you to prevent your furry companion from unleashing chaos.

Keep Risky Items out of Reach

Inquisitive pets — especially young ones — can easily come across items such as tweezers, scissors, jewelry, and medication. Storing these away in drawers can prevent the furry little rascals from chewing on them and possibly getting injured. While it’s important to give your pets the space to explore, you might want to make sure they don’t discover things that can pose a hazard. Remember to be mindful of areas like sideboards, nightstands, and trash cans. Also, make sure to keep high-risk items such as fragile vases out of reach at all times. 

Have One Litter Box Per Cat

If you have more than one cat, consider providing a litter box for each. A cat that is bullying the other might claim the litter box and prevent them from using it. If this scenario sounds familiar, try placing the litter boxes in different rooms; the dominant cat surely can’t have eyes on both boxes at the same time. You might also want to keep the boxes in relatively secluded areas since cats normally prefer to do their business in privacy — which is understandable because so do we. Also, make sure the box is big enough for your feline companions so that they don’t leave a mess around the place as they try to bury their droppings.

A litter box that’s big enough for your cat will prevent the gravel from ending up on the floor.

A litter box that’s big enough for your cat will prevent the gravel from ending up on the floor.

Another thing to look out for is whether or not your cat is using the litter box. As with other forms of pet damage, urine can really take its toll on floors, carpets, and furniture. If you notice that your furry little friend is doing its business outside the box, consider taking it to the vet as this might indicate an infection. If the vet rules out an infection, try a different type of litter. For instance, a lot of cats don’t like scented litter and simply won’t use it.

Some cats also dislike litter boxes that come with entry flaps while others also hate covered ones. That being said, it’s important that your cat feels comfortable with its litter box. Other solutions involve using a cat-attractant litter that contains pheromones or placing a pheromone diffuser near the box. The latter helps to soothe cats that are anxious about going in the litter box.

Provide Scratching Posts For Your Cat

It comes as no surprise that cats love to scratch. Contrary to what many homeowners might think, however, scratching is more of a natural instinct than a bad habit. It allows them to sharpen their claws by getting rid of the outer keratin layers. Scratching is also an exercise technique that helps the little troublemakers to stay in shape. Another reason why cats claw furniture is to mark their territory through the scent glands in their paws.

A common way to reduce cat damage to house furniture or carpets is by providing scratching posts. While many cats prefer upright posts, others might prefer horizontal pads; you can probably tell by whether they’re more inclined towards clawing your sofas or your carpets. To divert your cat’s attention from the furniture, a loud and firm “no!” followed by carrying the little rascal over to the scratching post or pad. You can also use pheromone sprays or diffusers if need be.

A scratching post is a great way to redirect your cat’s attention from couches and rugs.

A scratching post is a great way to redirect your cat’s attention from couches and rugs.

If your cat is especially stubborn and fixated on clawing furniture, your best bet is to protect the upholstery with clear scratch guards that attach to a sofa’s corners. Since the corners of chairs and couches are mostly at risk, this cat-proofing solution can be quite effective — and you won’t have to say goodbye to your precious leather fauteuil.

Potty Train Your Pup

Taking enough time to potty-train your doggo at a young age will prevent a lot of indoor messes as well as the pet damage to the flooring it can cause down the line — not to mention having to clean your carpet more often than you normally have to. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that even potty-trained pups may have an accident if they’re left indoors for extended periods of time. Other reasons your dog might be “going” inside include bladder infections or gastrointestinal distress.

This is why it’s crucial to reach out to a vet if a potty-trained dog starts doing its business indoors. If the vet rules out the possibility of a disease, then your doggo is most likely doing it out of spite — maybe due to introducing a second pet, bringing home a new baby, or making significant changes in your schedule.

Potty-training your pup will save you from all the indoor accidents down the line.

Potty-training your pup will save you from all the indoor accidents down the line.

Break the Separation Anxiety Of Your Dog

Another way to stop a dog from destroying the house is by breaking the separation anxiety. Bear in mind that you’d be enabling this behavior by eagerly greeting your furry friend as soon as you get home. You can break your dog’s separation anxiety by going through the routine of leaving the house. Put on your shoes and your coat, grab the keys and walk out the door only to return a few minutes later. Ignore your dog’s enthusiasm when you come back and don’t pay attention until it calms down. Sooner or later, it will understand that your leaving is not that big of a deal since you’re coming back.

Keep Your Pets from Getting Bored

If you’re wondering how to stop your dog from destroying your home, consider keeping it entertained as much as possible. Dogs that are bored and have excess energy tend to chew on sofas or, if they’re big enough, bite chunks off doors. Exercise is an excellent way for your doggo to expend its energy. That way, it will be too exhausted to wreck your furniture — but do be sure not to let the pupper overheat.

Another great idea is to teach your furry friend a few tricks. This kind of mental stimulation prevents boredom and is an effective solution for instances when your dog destroyed a couch or a dog destroyed a door. It’s also a perfect opportunity for you to bond with your canine companion. Should you have to leave an overly energetic dog at home by itself, consider providing a “destruction box” to keep it busy for a while; an old cardboard box will do just fine. 

Teaching your dog to do tricks not only creates mental stimulation but also a closer bond.

Teaching your dog to do tricks not only creates mental stimulation but also a closer bond.

Pet-Proof Your Bedroom 

Having your pet sleep next to you is known to improve your mental well-being, but it’s also important to make sure that your bedroom is pet-friendly. Cats, for instance, tend to knock items off dressers and shelves to get your attention in the morning when they’re hungry. That being said, make sure to keep anything that’s vulnerable out of reach. Items like scented candles, reed diffusers, and wax melts can easily fall victim to your cat, creating a whole mess in the bedroom.

Be Mindful of High-Risk Areas

Many pets — especially cats — are known to enjoy spending time looking out the window. If that’s the case with yours, consider investing in sturdy window treatments. A cat or dog trying to get a good outside view can break flimsy shades or blinds. Another way to protect window treatments from pet damage is by raising them during the day so they don’t get in the way of a curious pet.

You may also want to assess your hardwood flooring. An excited dog zooming around the house can leave scratches along the way. You can protect your hardwood floor by laying low-cost area rugs and trimming your dog’s nails every now and then. It’s also a good idea to invest in scratch-resistant upholstery if the little rascal gets on furniture as well.

Don’t Skip Regular Checkups

Another reason behind a cat or dog destroying the house can be physical discomfort. A pet that is in pain can exhibit destructive behavior such as digging on sofas, chewing cushions, teething, and being overly stubborn. Before yelling at your pet, consider taking it to your veterinarian to check for any health problems. You can prevent this behavior in the first place by making sure your furry companion has health checkups on a regular basis (at least once a year). Keep in mind that a healthy pet is a happy pet, and a happy pet is less likely to wreak havoc on your house.


Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian