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How to make your home pet friendly

There's no doubt about it – we're a nation of animal lovers. In fact, it's probably more accurate to say we're animal obsessed! Almost half (44%) of the population has a pet living in their homes, and Britain's favourite? You guessed it: dogs.

Almost a quarter (24%) of us have a canine companion and cats come second on the popular pets list, with 17% of us owning one.

Our pets are great company and heaps of fun. If you're just about to welcome one into its 'furever' home, here are some tips:

Pet-proof your place before they arrive

Your home is unlikely to be 100% cat or dog-friendly as it is; so, as well as stocking up on all the necessary supplies, here's what you need to do:

  • Love your sofa? Cover it with a throw and hide your favourite cushions.
  • Declutter counters, hide cables and store items that are expensive or breakable out of reach and don't forget cats can climb.
  • Stop your furniture becoming your kitten's scratching post by spraying with a special cat repellent.
  • Create a playzone you can train your dog to use, so that he or she won't run riot around the house.
  • If you have rugs on hard flooring, you might want to roll them up during toilet training.

Keep it tidy, keep it clean

Keeping your home clutter-free is one thing, but when your furry friend arrives you'll have to up your cleaning duties, too. In particular:

  • Vacuuming: No amount of grooming will stop your pet from shedding masses of fur and you'll need to vacuum more regularly. Don't forget to pick up hair on furniture as well as floors.
  • Litter tray: Regularly scoop and change your kitty's litter tray to keep nasty smells at bay. A covered box will often stop cats digging in their litter and a small mat outside can stop them tracking it across the floor.
  • Fur: To help clear pet fur from upholstery, rub a slightly damp rubber glove over it and the hair will stick to the glove and not your sofa.
  • Odours: If your pet has a few accidents on your carpets without you realising, you'll soon smell it. You can freshen up your carpets naturally using baking soda – vacuum the area first, then sprinkle over soda, wait a few hours and vacuum back up. Just make sure the area is a no-go zone for your pet.

Accept that there will be accidents

Owning a pet is a big responsibility, but it's incredibly rewarding. If you're getting a puppy or kitten, accept that a few things are bound to go wrong along the way – you can't keep an eye on them 24/7. They'll mess up your house, they'll ruin one of your cherished belongings, and they'll gobble up something they're not supposed to but one look into their loving eyes will make sure you forgive them for anything.

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