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30 Oct 2020
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Pet damage: how to stop your animals destroying your home

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Dog surrounded by fluff from a sofa

From chewing Chow-Chows to scratchy Siamese, we look at some ways you can stop your pets destroying your home. 

Cats and dogs claw and chew as part of their natural behaviour. Occasionally our homes can suffer as a result. 

But as frustrating as it might be, it’s important to remember that your pet isn’t doing this to be naughty. 

So how do you stop it? Our simple tips can help you reduce the chances of your pet wrecking your furniture. 

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What are the most common things that pets damage? 

According to our research*, pets love to chew the following items: 

Item

% of pets

Carpets

 54%

Flooring

 32%

Curtains

 31%

Bed 

 29%

Skirting boards

 25%

Sofa

 21%

Wiring

 20%

READ MORE: How to keep your cat and dog safe in and around your home

 

How can you stop your pet from damaging your furniture? 

 

Dogs 

Dogs usually chew because they’re bored, or because of separation anxiety. 

How can I stop my dog from 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 them company and provide stimulation. 

If your pet is bored, try getting them puzzle toys. For example, a toy 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 advises to use a ‘special toy’ that you only bring out when you leave. This can be one of the puzzle toys we mentioned earlier. 

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 around half an hour before leaving. When you get back, give them a small bowl of food. This might also encourage them to relax and stop chewing. 

 

Puppies 

When your puppy is teething, they might chew things to relieve irritation. 

How can I stop my puppy chewing? 

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

A squeak of a toy or a clicker should work. Once you have their attention give them a toy that they can chew. 

Once they start chewing this, give them a lot of praise. 

 

Cats 

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

As they 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 are none around. 

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

How can I stop my cat from scratching my furniture? 

To stop this, invest in a sturdy scratching post. 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 to your beloved chaise long into a feline gym. 

For the scenting issue you could try using a spray like Feliway. When they get a nose-full they’ll think they’ve already marked it and hopefully leave it alone. 

 

How can you pet-proof your 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 will protect 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. Make sure there’s plenty in there to keep your dog occupied. 

If you want to keep a room in your home dog free, you could try using a baby gate. This is useful if you have a puppy as they can see you through the bars, 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 like 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. A good place would be the main entry way. 

Keep plenty of towels in this space and dry them off before they spread the mud all over the place. 

 

Is pet damage covered on your home insurance? 

Pet damage has certainly been costly for homeowners. 95% of people have had to pay out to repair for the cost of pet damage. The average cost being over £500. 

Some insurers may offer extended accidental cover which can cover the cost of pet damage. 

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

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

*Figures taken from omnibus research carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Confused.com. This was a nationally-representative poll of 2,000 UK adults. The research was conducted between 23/10/2020 – 27/10/2020. 

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