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How to stop your pets destroying your home

Cats and dogs claw and chew as part of their natural behaviour but all too often are homes get damaged as a result.

Unfortunately, you home insurance is unlikely to cover pet damage, so if you want to avoid expensive repair or cleaning bills, it's down to you to train your pet.

Check out our simple tips to stop your pet from wrecking your home.

Dog lying on pet damaged floor for which it is responsible

 

How can I stop my dog from chewing things?

Dogs usually chew because they’re bored or because they are suffering from separation anxiety.

Tackle those problems and you can hopefully stop your dog from destroying your house!

If your dog is bored, try getting puzzle toys, such as one that dispenses treats when your dog moves it. Flavoured chew toys or hide rings also work well to keep your dog entertained.

Alleviating their boredom can stop them turning to wires, the carpet or anything else that feels good to chew. These tips might work for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, too.

The RSPCA suggests using a ‘special toy’ that you bring out only when you leave. When you get back, store the special toy away until the next time you leave.

You could also try taking your dog for a walk about half an hour before you leave. When you get back, give it a small bowl of food. This might also encourage it to relax and stop chewing.

You shouldn’t be leaving your dog for more than 4 hours a day. If you do, it’s worth hiring a dog-sitter to keep it company and provide some stimulation.

 

How can I stop my puppy chewing things?

When puppies are teething, they might chew things to relieve irritation. You might need to stop them chewing anything from skirting boards to shoes.

When you notice your puppy chewing something it shouldn’t be, make a loud noise – but don’t shout.

A squeak of a toy or a clicker should work. Once you have its attention give it a toy that it is allowed to chew.

Once it starts chewing this, give it a lot of praise. Don't hold back, dogs relish human approval, so make sure just how pleased you are that it is doing the right thing!

 

Why do cats scratch furniture?

Why is your cat scratching the furniture? Well, the simple answer is it wants to get muscular.

As cats scratch, they work out muscles in their paws and along their back. Cats have scent glands in their paws, too. When they scratch, they mark their territory.

The aim of this is to keep other cats away – even if there is no other cat around.

Either way, it’s not ideal, even if your cat does have an impressive 6-pack after a good scratch.

 

How can I stop my cat from scratching my furniture?

To stop you cat scratching furniture or carpets, invest in a couple of sturdy scratching posts. Or if you’re on a budget try laying out carpet off-cuts or even a sturdy piece of bark.

Place these in front of the piece of furniture that your cat likes to scratch.

Plenty of scratching options mean that the cat may be less likely to turn your beloved chaise longue into a feline gym.

For the scenting issue you could try using a spray such as Feliway. When it gets a nose-full, it’ll think it’s already marked it and – fingers crossed – it leaves it alone.

 

How can I pet-proof my home?

When you can’t be on the lookout, these methods might help to prevent your pet destroying your furniture.

For your sofa, you could try a throw. This protects it from dog hair and drool marks. Lint rollers work well to clear up any rogue hairs, too.

Set the boundaries. If you don’t want the dog or cat on the sofa, that’s fine. You can get them a snuggly bed to sleep in.

You could also try a pen or a crate to keep your dog in one spot, although make sure there’s plenty in there to keep your pet occupied.

If you want to keep a room in your home dog-free, you could try using a baby gate or 'dog stopper'. Baby gates are useful if you have a puppy as they can see you through the bars, and it might help reduce separation anxiety.

Puppies love to chew wooden furniture. You can use the training methods above to stop this. Or you could try getting a safe chew-repellent spray. It’s usually a bitter flavour such as lemon or apple that the puppy doesn’t like.

To protect your floors, it’s worth having a dedicated space to clean the dog after a muddy walk. Use your utility room if you have one or get the worst of the dirt off in the garden.

Keep plenty of towels on hand and dry them off before they spreads the mud all over the place.

 

Does house insurance cover pet damage?

Pet damage can certainly be expensive for homeowners. And most home insurance policies don’t cover pet damage such as chewing, scratching or staining the carpet.

So if you're putting in a home insurance claim for pet damage, don't hold out too much hope.

Some providers may offer extended accidental damage pet insurance.

So if your dog buries your favourite Fabergé egg or your cat claws your hand-woven tapestry, you might be covered.

But even then, it’s unlikely that every eventuality will be covered.

For example, if your pet is unattended when the damage is caused. Or if they’re sick or they cause damage in the garden, you might find you’re out of luck if you put in a claim.

It’s always worth checking with your insurer to see what exactly you’re covered for.

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Does pet insurance cover damage to furniture?

Pet insurance doesn't normally cover damage to furniture. Pet insurance is there to cover your vet bills if your 4-legged friend is ill or involved in an accident, not to protect your home and possessions.

 

What if my dog damages someone else’s property?

You could consider getting a pet insurance policy that includes third-party cover.

This covers you for the costs if your dog damaged someone’s else’s belongings or property, which could help prevent neighbour disputes.

These policies can also provide cover for legal fees should your dog attack someone, and vet’s fees if they attack another animal.