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Blog category: Pets

7 Ways to Prevent Pet Damage to Your House

5 min read

Bringing a pet into your home offers tremendous benefits to the entire family. Many people find their lives so enriched by their beloved cats or dogs, they can’t imagine life without them. For our fur babies’ comfort and fun, we spend a large proportion of our income on pet beds, food bowls, litter boxes, leashes, and toys. We budget for healthy food and vaccinations, and with forethought, we get pet insurance to help pay for essential pet health care. But all too often, we fail to anticipate the potential for pet damage that can occur to our possessions and homes.

If you’re a tenant, you may assume your renters policy covers pet damage, and it might — if your pet damages someone else’s property. For example, say you’re visiting your friend with your dog in tow and Fido tears up your friend’s couch. Your renter’s insurance liability portion might step in to cover the damages, up to your coverage limits. However, renters insurance won’t cover damage your pet does to your own belongings, or to the property you rent to, occupied or used by or in the care of an insured.

Rather than struggling with how to repair carpet damage by pets or replacing damaged furniture, prevention is the best approach. Our pets don’t want to be destructive and often, their problematic behavior is a sign that they need essential care. Providing for these needs will ensure happy, healthy pets and protect your home.

Let’s explore our top 7 tips to prevent pet damage to your home.

1. Daily Exercise is Essential

The most critical step to prevent dog and cat damage to your house is providing daily exercise. Movement is crucial for your pet’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Without regular exercise, cats and dogs begin to exhibit problem behavior which can result in pet damage. These behaviors may include excessive digging, scratching, and chewing that shreds pillows, curtains, and rugs. And, if your house is home to multiple pets, there’s a chance they’ll be more rambunctious together, meaning domestic mishaps are more likely to occur.

Depending on your pooch’s size, they’ll need 15-30-minute walks twice a day. And don’t forget to add plenty of playtime. Running, fetching, jumping, and tugging help dogs feel secure and at ease. Cats also need exercise and playtime, which can take the form of a multi-tiered cat tower to climb, laser pointers to chase, toys to play with, and posts and pads for scratching.

2. Make Time to Train

Communicating with your pet is vital to establishing a loving bond and keeping your home harmonious and free from pet damage. Train your dog in basic obedience and emergency recall commands. When it comes to feline family members — some cats can learn to fetch or even walk on a leash with you outside. Work with cats and dogs to ensure they’re clear on the rules of your home. This is not about punishing disobedience but teaching what behaviors are accepted, where and when.

When you train with plenty of treats, cuddles, and praise, your pet will appreciate the quality time spent with you. And training can be fun. It exercises your pet’s mind and body and can provide essential mental stimulation.

3. Provide Appropriate Outlets for Scratching and Chewing

Some of our pets' most damaging behaviors are essential for their health and well-being. For example, cats don’t scratch the sofa and curtains to annoy you, they have an innate need to scratch. Cats use scratching to express emotions, mark a favorite toy or spot, and to get a good stretch. Dogs chew on things as a way to exercise, combat boredom, and release stress. As puppies, they explore their world in part through chewing.

While chewing and scratching can cause tremendous damage to carpets, furniture, and clothing, your goal should not be to prevent these behaviors but to redirect them. Provide a variety of cat scratching posts and pads in your home and use deterrent sprays to stop your cat from ruining your rugs and furnishings. Dogs need a variety of chew toys, ropes, tugs, and treats to provide the chewing outlet they need.

4. Protect Your Furniture

Most pet damage can be prevented through training, exercise, and providing appropriate outlets for scratching and chewing, but accidents can still happen. Go through your home, exploring it from your pet’s point of view. Take care to remove hazards like toxic plants or loose wires and cables. Provide a pet bed or cover favorite napping spots to prevent stains. Move small, fragile items out of reach. When pets are a part of the family, they deserve the same accommodations you make for young family members to keep them safe and from causing damage.

5. Combat Boredom

Our beloved pets are complex creatures with their own thoughts, emotions, and needs. It’s essential to provide plenty of stimulation so they don’t grow bored. Boredom is no healthier or easier to bear for our animals than it is for us. No animal is more destructive and causes more pet damage than a bored one.

Exercise is an essential part of preventing boredom and damage. So are toys, chews, and scratching posts. Consider adding puzzles that make your pet “work” for their treats by figuring out the puzzle. Try hiding treats and teaching your dog or cat to hunt for them. Dogs enjoy playdates with other dogs. Both cats and dogs enjoy videos that stimulate their stalking and hunting instincts.

6. Keep Litter Boxes Clean and Well-Filled

Both cats and dogs deserve clean, comfortable locations to do their business. While dogs often find this while on a walk or out in the yard, cats typically are restricted to a litter box unless they’re allowed outside. Keep the litter box clean and filled with litter so your cat doesn’t become frustrated and consider other options. Cats are fastidious about cleanliness and are apt to find other places to use as a bathroom when their box needs cleaned. Consider providing a second box, especially if you have more than one cat or a larger home. The lack of a comfortable and clean litter box can be stressful for cats.

7. Ensure Regular Check-Ups

Sometimes, misbehavior or pet damage is the first indication we have of a pet’s illness or problem. Provide regular check-ups to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

Maintaining your pet’s health and happiness is at the heart of controlling pet damage in your home. Wawanesa can help to keep your pet care affordable through pet insurance policies from our trusted partner. For personal assistance, please call 888-740-9975 for a quote.

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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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