Cat sitting on a scratched leather chair

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We can’t imagine a home without pets, and sometimes welcoming a pet into our apartment or house increases the potential for property damage. Though some wear and tear is likely inevitable, there are many common issues, like scratching, that can be nipped in the bud. Our team has compiled a list of tips, tricks, and helpful products to keep your home like new, or make sure you get your deposit back.

How to Prevent Scratching

Cat scratching a scratchpost

From beautiful hardwood floors to windowsills, doors, and furniture, pet scratches can be a real concern. As nails are the primary culprit of this damage the first thing to consider is keeping your pet’s nails trimmed. This should be done every two to three weeks for cats and once a month for dogs. If you have a pet that puts up a fight, you may want to go to a vet, or nail trimming professional to have this done.

With the nails in order it’s time for training. Scratching is a normal behavior and so our focus should be on redirecting our pets versus trying to stop them altogether.

For cats, having a scratch post or mat is essential. When they try to scratch furniture, you should redirect them to the scratch post. Then reward them with praise and treats to reinforce this behavior. To deter them from scratching furniture you can use aluminum foil, scratch tape, and deterrent spray. For couches, you can also invest in a slipcover that gives the added benefit of being machine washable and protecting from food and spills.

For dogs, scratching is often associated with boredom and anxiety. Make sure your dog gets ample exercise, has plenty of toys, and enrichment opportunities with games and puzzle toys. Anxiety is something that can cause property destruction. Talk with your vet to see if your dog would benefit from a natural stress relief aid.

It’s normal for dogs to run around so for hardwood floor areas that see lots of traffic, a simple rug can go a long way toward preventing scratches.

How to Prevent Marking

Dog peeing on a wicker couch

Animals who feel threatened, or are territorial will often spray to mark their territory. More than the smell which will likely alert you, pet urine can stain. It’s important that you first make sure your animal is not sick as illness can cause incontinence. If your pet is healthy, but not spayed or neutered, you may want to consider having them altered. More than preventing marking, getting your pet spayed or neutered can reduce aggression that can destroy household items, in addition to preventing unwanted litters that contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

If your pet is spayed/neutered and healthy it’s time to try one of the following tricks:

  • When your pet looks like they are about to mark, redirect them by providing a treat
  • If there is a particular location they are marking, clean the area to remove lingering scent
  • If the marking is territorial, block off the area so they can’t access
  • Interrupt them in the process of marking by making noise to let them know the behavior is unacceptable

Additionally, for cats, there are a few more reasons why they may be urinating outside the box:

  • The litter is dirty – you should clean the box every day
  • Your clothes are scented of other animals
  • Stressed – you may need to invest in feline anxiety relief aids

How to Prevent Water Damage

Dog spilling water from its bowl

The water bowl is a staple for all pet owners. Sometimes our pets are a little messy and water can end up all over the place. To prevent water damage you can place a towel, or mat underneath the bowl.

How to Prevent Pets From Getting On Furniture

What’s yours is mine, at least that is how our pets view our home. Sometimes we may want to limit where our animals are allowed. First and foremost it’s likely that our pets are getting up on the couch, bed, or other off-limit spaces because they are comfortable. If you don’t want them to be on these areas it’s important to give them a comfy space of their own.

If they still prefer the off-limit areas, there are a few tricks you can deploy:

  • A rolling mat flipped upside down will deter cats from going on whatever surface you’re trying to keep them away from
  • Deterrent spray is pet-safe and your furniture will thank you
  • Clicker training, reward-based training, and positive reinforcement are all very helpful as well.

Dog sitting on torn couch with cotton spilling out

How to Prevent Chewing Damage

Similar to scratching with cats, chewing is a very common behavior for dogs. It is an activity that they find soothing and is their natural way of comforting themselves, so it is important that as a puppy you train them as to what is and isn’t acceptable to chew. Having a good chew toy on hand is a must. Anytime you catch them chewing something they shouldn’t you should swap it out for their toy. Keep things positive and gently redirect. Beyond this there a few key aids to preventing chew damage:

  • Anti-chew spray – spray with peace of mind, it won’t cause more than a pucker
  • Anti-Anxiety aids – they may have separation anxiety or heightened sensitivity to stressors
  • Make sure your dog is getting plenty of physical exercise
  • Make sure your dog also has plenty of enrichment opportunities as well. “Sniffari” walks, puzzle toys, hide and seek, tug, fetch, etc.

How to Prevent Pet Damage While You Are Gone

Most pet damage happens when pet owners aren’t looking. If you are going to be leaving for a long period of time, or aren’t able to give your pet ample attention, it’s a good idea to limit the area they can roam.

A simple folding gate allows a flexible option to keep your pet out of trouble. For cats, a gate can be more of a fun thing to jump over. If your home has a porch, basement or other safe area, you can close them in with litter, food, and water.

For dog owners who leave for work, crate training their pup can be the most effective way to prevent their dog from eating something they shouldn’t or ripping the cushions to shreds.

Dogs stand on a gate looking off camera

Get Advice On Preventing Pet Damage

At Benson’s Pet Center our pet experts are happy to help you find a resolution to pet damage. They can provide tips and tricks for prevention and even ways to repair any damage that may have occurred.

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