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12 Tips for making your home pet-friendly

6 Sep 2018

Pet ownership is one of the fastest-growing household trends, and owners often forget about also making provision for their ‘fur-kids’ when moving house or settling into their new home.

Homeowners need to be mindful that keeping pets is regulated by municipal bylaws. Most areas are dog- and cat-friendly, but other pets such as horses may only be kept in areas zoned appropriately. Horse-friendly areas around the Cape metro, for example, include Durbanville, Constantia, Noordhoek and Hout Bay, but only in certain areas. Alternatively, there are stabling facilities around the city and a number of bridle trails.

Here is some guidelines to ensure your home is pet-friendly and your pets are not a nuisance to neighbours:

1. Size of the dog

It is important to remember that bigger dog breeds require big yards or gardens on top of having access to areas where these dogs can be exercised. Small- and medium-sized breeds are usually fine for small yards and complexes, but a bigger dog will definitely need a bigger yard.

2. Responsible pet ownership

It is important to ensure that your pets are micro-chipped in case they get out of your property. Spaying your animals is another important aspect, and also assists in preventing roaming in some instances.

3. Noisy dogs, straying cats

These are some of the biggest bones to pick amongst neighbours, especially in sectional schemes. If you are moving from a full title house and have a dog which is used to more yard space, moving to a complex with a tiny yard might be a problem for your pet.

4. Check the complex rules

Even pet-friendly complexes still have rules of conduct. Be sure to check these in addition to obtaining permission for your pet/s. Remember, the complex would be quite entitled to force you to get rid of your pets if they are a nuisance to neighbours.

5. Pet-friendly house rules

There are many innovations for pet owners such pet doors to allow them easy access into and out of the home. Other innovations include built-in feeding bowls and water systems, odourless cat litter and so on. You even create a special wash area with a shower hose.

6. Sitters and groomers

If you are going away, you no longer need to take your pets to a kennel, but can get a pet sitter to stay in your home and look after your pets. Mobile groomers are another marvel of modern living and spare you a rather stressful trip to the groomers.

7. Moving tips

Cats are much harder to acclimatise and should be kept indoors for a period until they become used to the smells. Dogs are also territorial and would need to be kept in a secure area. It’s best to move our pets last, so that they can pick up on the old home smells in the new house.

8. Buy in a pet-friendly complex and neighbourhood

If you are a pet lover, then ensure that you buy or rent in a pet-friendly neighbourhood. A concrete jungle is, for example, not conducive to owning a dog, rather opt for a neighbourhood with more greenery and facilities suitable to dogs.

9. Pet-friendly finishes and furnishings

Think of your finishes and furnishings if you intend on being a pet owner. Dogs run around, and so hard-wearing floors such as tiles are probably better than carpets in the main areas. Stay clear of white couches and train your pets on how to behave in the home.

10. Odours and allergies

Invest in a good pet vacuum and ensure all hairs and other debris are vacuumed thoroughly on a regular basis. Air out the property daily to ensure that it is free from pet odours. Water, food bowls and litter boxes should also be cleaned daily.

11. Pet-friendly gardens

Be mindful that there are some plants which are toxic to animals including some of the most common houseplants such as Mistletoe, Philodendron and Poinsettia. Be mindful too of flowers which attract a lot of bees. Rather keep your garden as pet-friendly as possible.

12. Show houses and pets

When you put your house on the market, remember to clean and air it out. Not all buyers are pet lovers and poor pet conditions, cat hairs and pet odours can be very off-putting. It is also best to take your pets with you on the show days to enable your agent to show your property in its best possible condition.