As a dog groomer, your salon is designed to be a safe and pleasant environment for your furry clients. They should look forward to visiting you, after all! For dog owners, especially new dog owners, it is not always easy to pet-proof the home. As much as your clients love their animals, they are probably set in their ways when it comes to their living space (and that’s okay!). However, now that they have a pet in their home, it’s time to re-evaluate certain areas and items to keep their pets safe and happy at home.
Read on for the best ways to make your home pet-friendly, and provide your dog grooming clients with great advice!
Start from the ground up
Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat knows that there’s a certain amount of acceptance when it comes to pet hair in the home. As much as you want to keep your home spotless, it’s often a losing battle with a dog or cat – shedding is a fact of life, and it’s a small price to pay for such a wonderful member of the family!
The good news is that there are several ways to manage pet hair:
While we know that you’re not likely to swap your carpet for hardwood floor just because you adopted a dog, we do have some tips for the best possible flooring options.
Ultimately, hardwood floor and tile are your best bets for pets – you can clean them easily before the hair accumulates, and pets with long or thick fur can enjoy the cool floorboards/tiles in the warmer months. Be cautious of older animals, however – bare floors can be slippery and potentially dangerous. Area rugs are your (and their) friends! If you already have wall-to-wall carpet, follow along for our next point…
The right tools:
If your home is mostly made up of carpet, you’re in luck! There are many tools to choose from when it comes to picking up pet hair from the carpet, including rubber brooms and vacuums. You may need to get into the habit of cleaning your carpets once or twice a week to keep them tidy, but it’s well-worth it!
Think like an animal
Really, though! Put yourself in the place of your pet and consider life from both their line of vision and their perspective. You don’t need to overthink this! Young dogs, for example, are very curious creatures that will always be looking for items to chew, play with, and unfortunately, destroy. With this in mind, keep electrical wires, cords, and other hazards as out of sight as you possibly can.
Dog groomers know how to work with untrained dogs, but new dog owners are often unprepared and end up surprised that their dog has hurt themselves or swallowed something dangerous. One room in the home that will need a great deal of pet-proofing is the kitchen. Animals are ruled by their stomachs, so it’s up to you as the pet owner to ensure human food is well out of reach, trash cans are tightly covered (or trash taken out as frequently as possible), and cleaning supplies are securely tucked away.
Your garbage can contains a great deal of items that can be extremely harmful to dogs if ingested (coffee grinds, chicken bones, and even leftover dessert can be toxic!) and you’d be surprised at how clever pets are at finding their way into cupboards and onto counters. Getting into the habit of keeping food and other products out of reach is an excellent lifestyle change that will benefit both you and your pet.
Consider your furniture
Every dog owner is different, and although your best friend lets her dog hang out on the couch next to her, you need to put your foot down and say no. And that’s fine! Just because you have rules around your furniture doesn’t mean you love your pet any less. However, just because Rover isn’t allowed on your couch or chairs doesn’t mean that his hair won’t find itself up there on a regular basis. Again, this is just a fact of life!
To keep your furniture as lovely as possible while still being an excellent pet parent, it’s important to make the right choices early on. Patterns and colors are great choices, as they can camouflage pet hair pretty well (even better if the color is a close match to your pet’s hair!). In terms of fabric, leather generally doesn’t hold pet hair, and synthetic fiber is extremely easy to clean. You’ll want to steer clear of velvet (it’s a magnet for pet hair), wool and tweed (which are tricky to clean).
If it’s not feasible to change up your current furniture with the arrival of your new friend, we recommend using an upholstery protector to ensure that you repel as much hair (and other damage) as possible!
Don’t forget the great outdoors
It’s no surprise that dogs love being outside. If you have any outdoor space around your home, this means party time for your dog! While you should absolutely allow your pet to wander around outside (close to your house, of course!), there are some precautions you should take ahead of time to ensure they stay safe.
First of all, you need to have a fenced-in area. This is beneficial for both you and your pets – as the dog owner, you won’t need to worry about them running off and getting hurt, meeting other animals and getting into a fight, or causing damage to your neighbors flower bed. Your dog will love the freedom to walk around (and in typical dog fashion, may even try to see over the fence, so make sure it’s relatively high).
Second, it’s important to set up a gate. A fence keeps your dog within certain parameters, but a gate ensures that they stay put. Always remember to keep this gate locked – if you have children, get them into the habit of not only pulling it closed behind them when they walk through it, but making sure that it clicks behind them. If they can’t remember to close the gate, you can take it a step further and install a self-closing system. Keeping your pal safe and sound is your responsibility!
Finally, the heat and sunshine of the summer months can be enjoyable for animals, but they can also be dangerous. Chat with your dog groomer about summer safety, specifically how to ensure your dog’s coat is ready, how they can avoid bug bites, and whether they need sunscreen or not. If you have a pool in your backyard, this is an important consideration when it comes to your dog. While they are natural swimmers, they should always be supervised in a pool – just like a child!
If your dog does not have much swimming experience or isn’t particularly strong, using a dog-sized lifejacket is a great idea. And, if you have true concerns about their safety, we recommend keeping them away from the pool altogether.
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Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!