A friend discussed her New Year resolutions animatedly over a cuppa last week. Much to my horror I realised she plans to stick to all of them. Seriously! I always thought they are made on 31st December to be broken promptly on 1st January. One of her noble resolution involves adopting a dog for her young daughter and that’s when the discussion received all my attention. The conversation veered to home décor and how having a dog can change your ideas of how to do up and maintain your nest. Given that I have been around dogs for a quite some time now, I thought of collating a few basic but important pointers for first time dog owners like her, with regards to dogs and décor. And well, thought of sharing them here as well.
As dog owners you should ideally go for bare flooring. Yes, I can hear the ‘oh no’ in your voice but hey ‘bare’ doesn’t have to be essentially boring.
Painted concrete is interesting and durable, as are brick floors. However given that most urbanites live in apartments these days which have pre-decided materials it is best to opt for semi vitrified tiles. They are toe nail proof and are super easy to clean and resistant to any stain a furry friend dishes out. Additionally it makes a room look sleek and elegant and gives your dog an option to nap during hot weather. Some people including me are totally in love with wooden flooring. Yes they are simple to mop and looks very, very chic, but keep in mind that dogs can scratch wood.
Colour coordinate carpet and upholstery to fur color:
Ah yes; this is how you blend smart ideas and aesthetics. We pet people have zeroed in on this trick to make our home looks spic and span. If you have a black Labrador and your sofas have beige upholstery, you will always find black fur designs covering them which errrm, is not the best sight. In fact, turn to your pet as a source of inspiration when choosing colors for your rooms; it’s a practical choice because the hair they leave behind won’t be as visible. The same applies for floor rugs; go for colours that least highlights shedding. Always keep in mind, no matter how healthy your pet is, they do shed.
A thing to avoid in a home that houses dogs is wall to wall carpets. Trust me no matter how much you clean them, there will be always be fur! Go for rugs instead, they can be picked up and cleaned in a washing machine in case of accidents. You can find some real colourful ones that can brighten up any room, if you look around. If you have puppies, remove all rugs and carpets no matter how inexpensive they are. Puppies take some time to be toilet trained and till then they love messing up rugs.
Eureka moment: In case you own an incredible heirloom Persian rug and you absolutely love it, treat it as art and hang it on the wall, where your dog cannot reach it.
This is tricky and depends on pet owners creativity while doing up their home. Little puppies need to be monitored because as they start teething they will chew on anything and everything. Yes, sometimes in spite of huge amount of toys for in their mind even a chair’s leg looks like a toy. That’s the whole fun of being a dog; you think differently.
Leather is a good choice, easy to clean and durable. Most grades of leather will suffer only scratches from Fido’s claws. If you see a sad irony in buying a sofa made from an animal for your animal, try pleather. It’s cruelty-free, relatively inexpensive and has a timeless appeal. In our home, we have low sitting arrangement and lots of cushions; though our dogs sometimes play with the cushions we felt its easier to replace them than fancy furniture. Bean bags of course add colours, comfort and are all time favourite; even dogs like cuddling in them.
However, grown up dogs have better things to do in life and will not be very harmful to even wicker furniture; you just need to monitor them in the teething stage. Just keep in mind to throw some old bed sheets on your sofas if your dog prefers lying there. Less fur, easier to clean.
Thumb Rule 1:
Fragile items and dogs don’t gel well. Having a dog is like having a child in the house. You do not keep fragile, delicate items unattended lying anywhere. You may think ‘I will just be back in a few seconds what can happen to my phone’? But well, something can happen. Something will happen! One bat of a dog’s tail or swat of a cat’s paw will send your collection of crystal figurines skittering across the room.
My suggestion: Display fragile valuables in an interesting looking cabinet (you can customize according to your décor) with glass-panel doors. That way you and your guests can appreciate them without your pet showing his appreciation by breaking it! Go for as much wall art as possible without making your home look cluttered. Add shelves and put up bric-a-brack there. Go for interesting wall clocks, framed prints, photos and paintings. Wall hangings are out of reach of your dogs and thus safe.
Thumb Rule 2:
In case you live in an independent house, it’s important to consider your pet’s lifestyle when you establish the layout of your house. In case your dog loves to play in the garden, ensure the gates are locked properly so he does not go out unattended and gets lost. We also have part of our terrace open which the dogs can use in case no one is at home to take them to attend nature’s call.
Thumb Rule 3:
If your dog or cat sleeps with you, there will be accidents. And there will be dog hair. Protect your mattress from the inevitable by covering it with a thick pad. Use cotton bed sheets, preferably in a medium color or a pattern that can hide the pet hair and stains. Also cover your fancy bed spread with a dhurrie or jute mat when not sleeping. It will add brightness to the room and keep your sheets protected.
And before I sign off, remember keeping your dog clean will help your house stay cleaner, longer. Trimmed nails scratch floors or upholstery less. Regularly brushing and bathing removes loose hair before it ends up on your floor, your bed, pillows and curtains. Furniture and rugs will last longer if they don’t need to be washed as often. Think of it this way: It’s easier to clean your dog than your upholstery, and it’s usually more fun!