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Besides providing companionship, there are also therapeutic benefits of owning a pet. Nevertheless, owning a pet is also a commitment and a responsibility. Consequently, home owners should ensure that the house is safe and comfortable for their pets. Although a pet can turn your house upside-down, things generally change as the pet grows up and you learn to adjust to its behaviour and needs.
The most common change that home owners make to the décor, is to remove all rugs. If you have cats or dogs at home, the carpets can turn into breeding grounds for fleas, cautions Lekha Gupta, senior architect, LAB (Language Architecture Body).
“Wooden flooring is usually slippery. Pets love to run around and wooden flooring may cause serious injury. So, avoid it,” adds Gupta.
All staircases must be barricaded, to prevent small pets from rolling down or trying to climb up, unattended. “Also barricade all grills that overlook lower floors, as your puppy may try to jump down. All balconies and windows with wide grills, must be meshed so that puppies cannot go through them,” advises Yashodhara Hemchandra of Yashbans Kennels in Bengaluru, a well-known pet groomer, who along with her two daughters, Rishya and Radhiya, offers various pet related services.
Protecting your home’s décor
People with dogs or cats at home, are likely to find that their sofas are covered with hair, no matter how often they vacuum the house. Hence, opt for sofa covers that can be taken off and washed occasionally. “When you have guests at home, you can remove these covers,” offers Gupta. To keep the house clean, one should also designate a dining area, a toilet area and a cosy sleeping area for your pet. “To ensure that they do not spoil the floor with urine or poop, owners should start potty training from the first day the pets come home. Continuous and correct training for the first few days is important,” states Hemchandra.
“Most pets will tend to walk right into glass. So, put a frosted film, or a decal on the glass to avoid accidents. Pets can also get hurt by swinging doors or get locked in a room. Therefore, use door stoppers that are heavy, so that the pet will not be able to play with them,” advises Gupta.
Ensuring comfort for your pets
Cats and kittens tend to scratch, to sharpen their claws. Buy a scratch pad, so that they do not scratch your furniture. Ensure that cords on curtains and wires do not hang at a low level. “Keep small objects, stationery and children’s toys, medicines and household cleaners away from your pets’ reach to prevent them from swallowing these objects,” adds Hemchandra.
Birdcages should be kept away from windows, to protect the pet from the sun’s heat and rain. Aquariums should also be kept away from direct sunlight, to prevent the growth of algae, which will make the water green. While painting, polishing or doing pest control treatment, keep the fish tank away, as the chemicals in the air may kill the fishes. Also, keep the tank away from sources of loud noise and check the electrical equipment of the tank regularly.
Tips for home owners with pets
- Vacuum-clean the house regularly.
- Hard flooring and anti-skid tiles are ideal for homes with pets.
- Provide steps for pets to climb onto high furniture. Else, their nails can rip the upholstery when they try climbing.
- Protect the pets by covering sharp edges of furniture.
- Store household chemicals in a locked cabinet and keep glassware and lighted candles away from the pets’ reach.
- Use wide and low wicker baskets to store all the pet’s toys and to avoid cluttering the house.
- Most common household plants are poisonous to dogs. Hence, keep plants like jasmine, poinsettia, castor bean, lantana, philodendron, etc., out of their reach.
- Keep dustbins and toilet lids closed.
Is your housing society pet-friendly?
Not just your home, your housing society should also be such that you are able to ensure the pet’s comfort at all times. There are, however, some responsibilities too. As a pet owner, you must know the following:
- Not allowing pets in a housing society is considered to be a direct violation of the Constitution of India. Section 51(A) makes it a duty of every Indian citizen to respect and have compassion for all life forms.
- RWAs and associations must educate their members to abide by the law, in-sync with Section 11(3) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
- Barking is a natural form of expression for a dog and it has to be tolerated in a society.
- Those adopting or feeding street dogs should participate in their sterilisation and vaccinations too.
- RWAs cannot legally introduce any sort of ban on the keeping of pet dogs, even if a majority of residents may want such a ban.
While the laws and rules may be conducive to pet owners, it is also important for them to respect the opinion of others, as well. Incessant barking may not be soothing for your neighbour. Therefore, train your pet accordingly. If there are designated timings for walking your pet, follow it. Do ask for earmarked feeding spots outside your home. Clean such spots if it has been made messy. Keep your pet vaccinated and keep them clean. Keep your pet away from those wary of pets, such as kids or elders.
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