Welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your home is an exciting (and sometimes nerve wracking) time! Being prepared before they arrive will help you and your new best friend to live your best lives together. New Zealand has the second highest rate of pet ownership in the world with more than 60% of households home to at least one furry companion, so it makes sense to also consider their needs when redecorating, purchasing a new home or renovating an existing one.

Functional doesn’t have to be ugly

You put so much time, effort and money into decorating our homes, so why settle for products for your pets that don’t match your style? When choosing petwares there’s a couple of things you should consider.

Is the product functional?

Your flat-faced Pug requires a different bowl than your neighbor’s 30kg German Shepherd. Raised bowls like the Luxe Bendo Meow and Woof bowls help taller breeds to reach bowls without over-extending their necks, while shallow, wider bowls like the ceramic Meow bowls from Fringe Studio prevent fatigue to your cat’s whiskers. Opt for quality materials that are easy to clean like stainless steel and ceramics while trying to avoid BPA-leeching plastic feeders.

Does the product match your decor?

There’s such a wide range of designer pet wares available now that pet owners no longer have to reduce themselves to mass-produced, paw-print and bone motif covered beds and bowls. Remember – your pet doesn’t care what it looks like, you’re the one who will have to stare at it! Your new pet is a part of your family now, so choose items that you’re proud to have on display and don’t feel the need to hide. Done with crate training? The handmade, 100% cotton teepees from South Korean brand, Huts & Bay, are a perfect replacement. They give your pet their own space to rest and hide sans prison bars and plastic trays.

Purchasing considered, quality pieces also reduces the risk of having to replace them sooner, whether through breakage or change of mind, adding to our already overflowing landfills. Do your research and invest in what suits you, your pets and your home.

Pet-proofing your home

Does your pet have somewhere to do their business?

Cat/dog doors to the backyard are a simple solution (consider a microchip activated cat flap to prevent uninvited visitors entering your home). While most indoor cats are content with a standard litter tray there are more advanced products on the market like the self-cleaning Litter Robot that automatically rotates and sifts waste. For eco-conscious cat owners you can now purchase biodegradable litter made from wood, paper, corn – even walnuts and coconuts! For those after for a more subtle look, litter trays can be easily hidden inside consoles and side tables to blend in with the rest of your furniture.

Accidents can, and probably will happen. Hardwood, tile, or concrete floors are a breeze to clean, but for those opting for carpet, a portable carpet cleaner is well worth the investment (speaking from personal experience here). Apartment dogs can be trained to use a toilet tray indoors if dog doors aren’t an option.

If you’re welcoming a new puppy to the family, you need to scan your home for any hazards and potential chewing targets. Move any breakable items higher up on shelves (wagging tails can quickly whip things off tables and shelves), tuck away hanging cords and put your shoes away – everything is fair game to your new pup so if you don’t want something destroyed then put it somewhere out of reach. Making sure your dog has plenty of exercises and mental stimulation, and your cat has somewhere to scratch (that isn’t the corner of your couch) will help reduce destruction.

Many common houseplants like the Peace Lily and Aloe Vera are toxic to cats and dogs so be sure to move those out of reach or place them in an area that’s not accessible by your new furry friend.

If you find that your new puppy is chewing everything in sight – door frames, chair legs, bookshelves – a simple bitter spray made from two parts apple cider vinegar and one part white vinegar is an easy, non-toxic way to help them stop. If you catch them in the act, tell them no and give them something they are allowed to chew like a pig’s ear or durable chew toy.

Whether a new puppy, kitten or an older cat or dog, you can’t expect your new pet to understand straight away what’s okay and not okay. Remember that this is new for them too! Be patient and consistent with your training and seek help from professional or other pet owners if you’re having trouble.

For inspiration and ideas visit
www.smackbang.co.nz or visit Smack Bang’s dog-friendly store at 17 Tory Street, Wellington.

Article contributed by Amelia Lingonis, Director Smack Bang

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