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10 tips to prevent pet damage at home (and the insurance you may need anyway!)

10 tips to prevent pet damage at home (and the insurance you may need anyway!)
Image source: Getty Images

The UK loves its cats and dogs. In fact, a whopping eight million British households include a pet. Perhaps more surprisingly, however, is another number. The PDSA’s Animal Welfare Report estimates that 75% of pet owners underestimate the cost of caring for a pet, and only a very small percentage of those people have pet damage insurance.

While Brits are becoming more used to getting pet insurance to cover medical costs (about 3.6 million pet owners had pet insurance in 2018, according to Statista), pet damage insurance is not as popular.

According to research by MattressNextDay, 70% of British pet owners have had some property damaged by their pets. If you are one of them, it might be time to consider some pet damage insurance.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help reduce the chance of pet damage in your home.

1. Make sure your pets are well exercised

Exercise is not only good for the body, but it also provides your pets with plenty of mental stimulation. This is especially true of working dog breeds and younger dogs. All pets will get bored eventually if they don’t move enough. The result? You’ll end up with chewed-up pillows or shoes. 

2. Book your pet in for professional training

A good trainer can help you learn how to set boundaries in a positive way, improve behaviour and ease your pet’s anxiety. The sooner you work with a professional, the better. If your pet has already caused damage to your home, a trainer can help you understand why so you can fix the problem.

3. Spray your expensive items with anti-chew spray 

Save your furniture and décor from pet damage insurance claims by using anti-chew sprays. They taste bitter but are safe for your pet to ingest and won’t damage wood or textile. 

4. Create a safe space for your pet to help them settle

Insurance or not, pet damage can not only ruin your home, but it can also cause injury to your pet. Give them a place to relax with a crate or converted furniture where they can hide when they’re stressed rather than find things to destroy.

5. Consider what your pet can reach and remove any risky items 

While pet damage insurance might cover things your pet accidentally chews or ingests (jewellery, small electronics or expensive crystal décor), you might also end up with a sick or injured pet if you leave these things where they can be easily reached.

Remove small, dangerous items from coffee tables and other areas where your pet can easily get to them.

6. Ditch scented candles

Keep scented candles out of reach and put away essential oils and diffusers as well. These can easily be knocked over and could potentially cause a fire or burn your pet.

Plus, oils can be poisonous to pets. Need to calm down your pup? Acupressure, wrapping your dog in a blanket and a quiet environment are a lot more effective than scented candles.

7. Assess damage-prone areas and safeguard accordingly

You can reduce your need for pet damage insurance by taking precautions. Long nails can scratch hardwood floors, so on top of keeping nails trimmed, you should also use rugs to cover wooden floors in areas where your pet runs or plays a lot. You may also want to reconsider expensive window blinds and curtains if you have a playful pet.

8. Keep your bedroom pet friendly 

Add a scratching post so pets aren’t tempted to use your furniture or curtains for fun. 

9. Make your pet work for its food 

Slow feeders and food puzzles are entertaining, promote good behaviour and tire pets out so they don’t get into trouble at home.

10. Make sure your pet has regular check-ups at the vet 

If you notice your pet becoming destructive suddenly, this could be a sign that it’s not feeling well. In puppies, this could also be a sign of teething. Pain and discomfort can cause a pet to ‘act up’ and chew your possessions.

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