Tips for making your home more pet-friendly

As any pet parent will agree, whether feline, canine, rodent or reptile, every animal is unique. These tips will help you consider what kind of pet is best for you and your home.

Dogs need lots of room to move and play, so it’s best if you have a garden, but it’s not absolutely necessary. “Even a larger dog, like a boxer, could be kept in a student dormitory, since the apartment is also the place where the animal finds peace and quiet – and it doesn’t need much space for that,” says Udo Kopernik of the German Dog Federation. Play can happen outside the apartment, home is where they rest.

For cats, a darker dwelling is cosy, says Detlef Nolte of Germany’s pet supply industry organization. It is also important for purely indoor cats to be able to exercise their natural needs such as climbing and scratching with a cat tree. That will also help protect your sofa. If there’s no scratching tree, the cat will turn to the sofa or a chair leg, Nolte says. It can be smart to use robust fabric when buying a sofa for a home with cats. “Leather is not suitable because it is difficult to repair, and the claw marks are clearly visible,” says home care expert Elke Wieczorek.

“You should be able to wipe the flooring damp in the room where the pet lives the most,” she says, recommending tile, sealed cork, parquet or laminate. “But if a dog is in a hurry and takes off in the apartment, he’s going to leave a few scratches. You have to tolerate that,” Kopernik says. A smooth surface is not ideal for a puppy. “The puppy will slip on it, because his joints and musculature are not yet completely developed,” Kopernik says. A rug or carpet can help, or use a painter’s dropcloth as an inexpensive floor covering.

For dogs and cats, it’s important to keep the water and food bowls in fixed location on a non-slip surface. “Usually a corner in the kitchen is used because the floor is easy to wipe,” Nolte says. For hygienic reasons, a cat’s litter box should not be kept in the kitchen. A corner of the bathroom is better suited, and a tile floor can also be cleaned easier.

Tilting windows can be dangerous for cats, as can stairs for young animals. If you have a balcony, an adventurous pet might become curious, so consider netting to prevent a jump for freedom. Houseplants are also potentially a hazard – check to see if yours are poisonous to pets.

In the case of rodents, you should never let them run around the apartment unsupervised, Nolte says. They are not house-trained and likely nibble on cables. To protect the floor, you should put a lining under the cage that can absorb moisture. “The location should not be draughty, because rodents can also catch cold,” Nolte says. – dpa