You came home to a rug that’s been chewed to shreds and a mess on the carpet—again. Now your house is smelling (and looking) a bit like a kennel… You love your dog, so you’re thinking it may be time to scrap the carpet altogether.
But think twice before you make any rash decisions. Carpets have so many advantages for your home! They muffle noise. Dogs won’t slip and slide on them like they can on hard surfaces. You also don’t have to worry about their claws scratching your hardwood floor. Plus, carpets are a soft place for your feet and for their paws.
The good news is that dogs and carpets can actually coexist nicely. Here’s what you need to know.
Choose the right carpet.
Not all carpets are the same when it comes to protecting against pet stains and messes. Look for carpets made of nylon, wool, or a material known as olefin. The most popular option, nylon is durable and easy to clean. It also has built-in stain resistance. Wool, the more expensive option, has some natural stain resistance but cannot be treated with a stain-resistant coating. Olefin was originally used in outdoor carpets but has been engineered to have more of the feel of wool. It’s made from plastic fibers, is easy to clean, and repels moisture.
Take care of new messes right away.
Cleaning up after your pet is part of being a responsible pet owner. The best way to keep your carpet from staining is to address your pet’s accidents right away. If you use a store-bought cleaner, choose one with a neutral pH to help remove the acidity of your pet’s urine. You can also make your own cleaning solution from vinegar, baking soda, and water. Here are two natural methods for cleaning up pet urine on carpet.
- Place a thick layer of paper towels over the wet spot.
- Cover the towels with layers of newspaper.
- Stand on the newspaper for a few minutes for it to absorb the urine.
- Remove the paper and paper towels and dispose of them.
- Rinse the area with cool water.
- Blot up the water with towels. If you have a wet vac, you can use that instead.
- Once most of the liquid is blotted, spread baking soda over it. Use ¼ cup or less. (Note that large amounts of baking soda are toxic to dogs so keep your fur baby away.)
- Let the mixture sit overnight and then vacuum the spot thoroughly the next morning. The area should feel clean to the touch.
- In a clear spray bottle, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with one cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it up.
- Spray the mixture on the stain.
- Let it sit for a few minutes and then blot it with a towel until clean.
You can use these methods for other pet messes such as vomit or poop. Remove the vomit or feces before treating the carpet, being careful not to embed it in the carpet fibers. Act quickly; the acid in vomit can quickly discolor your carpet.
Take care of old stains, too.
Old urine stains can cause a lingering odor in your home. You can take care of these stains in several ways. One way is to use an enzymatic cleanser that breaks down the stain at the molecular level. You can find these cleansers at pet stores. Another way is to rinse the area thoroughly with water, then use a wet-dry vacuum to clean it up. Importantly, do not use a steam cleaner. The heat can set the odor and stain permanently.
Not sure where the stains are? A blacklight can help you find them. The wavelengths of blacklight cause the proteins in urine to glow.
Add a carpet runner to high-traffic areas.
Consider a carpet runner or area rug over your wall-to-wall carpeting for an extra barrier. Place it in high-traffic areas or where your dog commonly goes. Carpet runners and area rugs may be picked up and cleaned, and more easily replaced, if needed.
Clean their paws and clean your carpet.
There’s a lot of preventive care that you can take to keep your carpets clean. Start by wiping and drying your dog’s paws when your fur baby comes in from outside—especially on rainy, snowy, or muddy days. Then, take care of your carpet by vacuuming regularly and shampooing your carpet every 12 months to remove dirt, grime, and allergens. You can schedule a professional carpet cleaning or do it yourself.
Train your pet.
When you adopted your pet, you made the commitment to stick with them through the good and the bad. Oftentimes bad behavior like going to the bathroom on the carpet can be un-trained. You can do this by kennel training when you are gone or using a reward method when they go outside. If you need help, talk to your pet’s veterinarian for ways you can teach your pet to unlearn these behaviors or find a local trainer! You may think you are doing them a favor by not disciplining them when they make a mess or start chewing on furniture, but really you are getting in the way of the great pet they have the potential of becoming- by not letting them learn that these behaviors are ‘bad’.
Keep in mind the age of your pet plays a factor. A puppy or an older dog may need extra attention and may have more accidents than a dog in its prime.
Does homeowner’s insurance cover damage from your pets?
Unfortunately, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance both do not cover the damage your pet does to your carpet—or to any of your personal property. Take note that even your carpet warranty probably does not cover pet damage. If your pet, however, gets loose and damages property at your neighbor’s, the liability coverage in your homeowner’s policy may kick in and cover some of the costs.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.