Renovating your house or apartment can be an exciting adventure to make your space truly unique and all your own. Renovating takes time especially considering the scope of the project. It can also come with many hazards and challenges. While you may be ready to take on the home project be sure you don’t forget about your pets in the process! Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and healthy while your home is under construction.
Keep Up Their Routine
Like most pets, dogs get attached to their surroundings, so renovating can be a difficult time for them. If you are using a contractor for the job there will likely be new people constantly going in and out of the space. Doing work in your home also takes up a lot of time. So, with all of these intrusions, it is important to keep your dog’s routine as normal as possible to help them feel comfortable among the chaos.
Changes in your dog’s environment can cause stress and anxiety, especially if they have not experienced renovations or major home projects before. Remember to play with them and take them on their daily walks, even if you’re busy. Some dogs will become mischievous and possibly destructive if left alone too long, so plan on making time for your dog to ensure they are still getting enough quality time and mental stimulation.
Close Off the Area
It may seem like a no-brainer, but restricting your pup’s access to the project area is very important. This can be challenging if you are working on a larger communal space like the living room or kitchen, but it is essential in keeping them and yourself safe. Dogs are naturally curious and will want to be by your side whenever they can.
The last thing you want is your dog weaving in between you or your contractor’s legs, or accidentally playing with dangerous tools while you’re distracted. Survey the area you’re renovating before starting the project and remove any of your dog’s personal items so they won’t be tempted to find a way in. You may also want to invest in gates to barricade off the room being worked on. Depending on the size of your dog and the area needed to be closed off, take time to choose which gate options would work best in your home. It’s also a good idea to set these gates up a few days before the renovation starts to give your dog time to get used to the change.
Know Your Materials
Renovating brings in new materials and supplies that can be hazardous to your dog. While you can easily take the time to keep yourself safe working with these items, it is important to know what issues they can cause your dog if they are exposed. Even simple everyday materials such as paint and caulk can cause issues if your dog comes in contact with them.
A good rule of thumb is if it is toxic to you it will also be toxic to your dog. Building and construction also cause dust and irritants to enter the air which may lead to breathing and eye problems in your dog. This is especially true for small dogs like pugs who are already prone to lung and eye issues.
If you’re renovating an older home you will need to be conscious of things like mold, lead paint, or worse, asbestos. Make sure the renovation area is well ventilated and cleaned up as much as possible after every workday. This way even with people coming in and out of the area there is less of a chance for contamination in the areas of your home where your dog is safely residing. If you find that toxic particles are not being contained while working, you or your contractor can look into plastic sheets to hang around the construction area.
Be Conscious of the Noise
Noise is a normal part of renovating, but it can be very jarring and difficult for your dog. Power tools, heavy hammering, and demolition can be all new and distressing sounds. Your dog’s ears are ultra-sensitive, hearing 4 times further and twice as many frequencies as their human best friends. If your project involves an excessive amount of noise you may need to move your dog to an isolated room in your home as far away as possible from the construction. If the weather is nice you can keep your dog outside in the yard, just remember to bring out their food and water if they are going to be outside for most of the day. If the weather is bad or it’s just not the season for extended backyard adventures, move their bed and toys into a space in your home that is muffled from the noise.
This way they have all their belongings with them while staying away from the loud and high-traffic areas of the house. If you find your dog is still having a hard time you may have to plan a doggy vacation with a friend or family member who can watch your dog while you finish up your project.
Make a Plan for Accidents
No matter how wonderful of an owner you are, sometimes accidents just happen. Renovating is always messy and your dog may still get around every attempt you make to keep them safe. It is a good idea to have a plan in place in case your dog has a reaction to any materials or gets hurt if they happen to sneak into the renovation area. Make an appointment with your vet before the renovations start to get a baseline check-up before they are exposed to any new materials or become stressed due to the change in their environment. You talk to your vet about what you are doing to your home and they can suggest the first steps to take if your dog were to ingest something like paint or breathe in an irritant like sawdust.
If you don’t have it already, you may want to look into how to use pet insurance before beginning the project. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of vet visits or medications if your dog has an accident during the renovation. Even if your dog develops an issue unrelated to the renovation, pet insurance can ensure that you aren’t shelling out hundreds of dollars for treatments at the same time you are investing a significant amount of money into your home. No one ever wants their dog to get sick or hurt, but having a plan in place can make all the difference, especially when you are dealing with life changes and toxic materials.
Enjoy Your New Space
When your renovation is complete you are free to enjoy all the changes with your furry best friend. Make sure to do one final clean-up of the area before getting rid of the gates and letting your dog explore. It may take time for your dog to get used to the space, and if you have a pug remember that their eyesight isn’t always the best so they may accidentally bump into the new furniture or cabinets. If you had previously removed any toys or food feel free to reintroduce them to the area so your dog has a familiar connection to the space. After all the hard work you can now sit back and relax with things back to normal. Renovating takes a lot of time and energy, but with these tips, you and your dog can feel confident navigating the big changes safely and stress-free!