Dogs offer so much comfort to millions of people around the world. A dog can be a companion, a bedrock of a family, security against those who would do us harm, some encouragement to get out an exercise, and provide unconditional love to their owners. A short while ago, we published an article that explored ways to create a cat-friendly home, so now it’s only fair that we switch our focus to man’s best friend: dogs.
While some principles apply to both cats and dogs - especially those related to toxins - the world’s two most favourite pets couldn’t be more different than one another. A dog’s needs will differ greatly from a cat’s, and it’s important for homeowners to understand the things they can do to ensure their dog is safe, happy, and healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can achieve this.
Create A Dog-Friendly Garden
While a cat may opt to come and go as it pleases, often leaving the garden to explore further afield, a dog’s outdoor time will need to be more carefully monitored. While most healthy dogs will need at least one walk a day, there should also be ample opportunities for them to go out into the garden if you have one. There are some basic things you can do to ensure that dogs are safe whenever they go out into the garden.
If you want your dog to be able to use the garden without a lead, then it’s essential to have proper gates and fencing. If dogs find a hole in the fence or a spot to burrow under, they may take off in pursuit of adventure. This, of course, can have catastrophic consequences. Check your fencing semi-regularly for holes and other methods of escape, and keep your gate shut and locked at all times. To be safe, ensure your fence is at least 6ft high, as excitable or agitated dogs can be remarkable jumpers.
Outside of perimeter fortifications, be sure to keep all sheds or other external buildings locked, cover and ponds while the dog is outside, avoid growing any plants that could be hazardous to dogs, and try and create a shaded place for your dog to enjoy on hot days.
Be Smart About Flooring
If you have a dog then expensive, fluffy, and luscious carpet probably isn’t the best idea. Hard flooring is better for areas that the dog is allowed to roam in, preferably tiles or hardwood flooring that is resistant to scratching. You can also mitigate the damage your dogs do to hard flooring by making sure their claws are regularly clipped.
Another benefit of hard flooring when you have dogs is that it is infinitely easier to clean and maintain that carpet, especially when you keep a dog that moults. They’re also a much safer bet if you’re toilet training a puppy.
Finally, hard flooring has a big advantage for dogs too. It helps them better regulate their temperature in the summer months, as a nice shaded corner of tile or wood can help them cool down if they need to.
Commit To A Routine
Dogs are at their best when they have a healthy routine to stick to. Having a set routine for your dog can help reduce its anxiety, help with toilet training, prevent weight gain, and make them more obedient. While it certainly isn’t the end of the world if it simply isn’t possible to have the same routine every day, having your dog in mind when establishing your own routine will put you in good stead for having a happy dog.
Here are some routines you can follow:
- Meal times: Most dogs will eat either once or twice per day. Trying to feed them at the same time each day will help them learn when mealtimes are, and thus prevent them from mithering you for food outside of mealtime. After a while, a dog will know when it's mealtime and is sure to give you a helpful reminder when it rolls around.
- Walks: Dogs need exercise, and they’ll appreciate it if you take them out at the same time each day, whether that’s first thing in the morning before work or later on when you get home. Having a good routine for your walks will help your dog anticipate the outdoors, and result in them having a better time outside.
- Training: Consistency is key when training a dog. When training them to perform a particular skill or to embed a behaviour pattern, ensure you keep consistent with your verbal cues and hand gestures.
Keep High-Risk Items Out Of Reach
Dogs, especially in their younger years, can be quite destructive if they’re feeling excited, playful, or anxious. This isn’t to say that your dog is going to ruin all your furniture and belongings, but you do need to be careful about where you place your items when you have a dog in the home. Any breakables, for example, should be kept well away from the side of shelves or counters, and any clothes, wires, shoes, or other items your dog might be tempted to chew should be put away. Not doing this could end up costing you a lot of money, or result in injury or worse for your dog.
On a similar note, all human food should be out of the reach of dogs at all times. Putting your shopping down on the edge of the counter will only invite your dog to jump up and start rummaging through the plastic bags. Some popular food items, such as chocolate, are especially harmful to dogs, so it’s important to mitigate the risk by being conscious of how you store your food.
Keep The Outdoors Outside
After a long walk with your dog through the fields, chances are that they’re going to pick up quite a bit of mud on their paws and fur, and if British weather is anything to go by, they’ll likely be damp, too!. The last thing you want when coming in from a walk is to take your dog off the lead and have them paint a muddy picture all over your floor and furniture. To keep yourself sane and your dog clean, consider having an area of the house dedicated to cleaning your dog after a walk.
Ideally, this would be right by the entry point of your home, whether that be a small porch or even a mat in your hallway when you enter the house. In your cleaning area, have a small cupboard well stocked with cleaning materials such as towels and wet wipes, so you can give them a thorough wipe down before heading into the house proper. This could also be a handy place to store your leads, treats, toilet bags, and any other outdoor items you use for your dog.
We’ve hugely enjoyed discussing pets and homes with you over the past few weeks. If you have a cat and missed our previous article on making a cat-friendly home, be sure to check that out here.
Jackson Grundy are the leading estate agents in Northampton, combining traditional service with a modern approach to marketing property that results in customers returning to use our service again and again. If you are looking to buy, sell, rent, or let property in Northampton, please do not hesitate to contact your local branch.