Renovations and Pets
"Have you learned any tips from your clients on how to help our pets survive the chaos and inherent dangers of living in a work zone?"
Answer from Ross Sanders:
Imagine peacefully sleeping and all of the sudden you’re startled awake by excruciatingly loud hammering and unfamiliar voices shouting commands in a language you can’t understand. For pets living in the middle of a renovation, the disruption of their daily routine is not only stressful but also dangerous. "Renovation is stressful for the humans who fully understand what the turmoil is all about," says veterinarian Karen Halligan, author of Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know. "Imagine what it's like for a pet that has no idea why its world is being turned upside down."
So, how can you reduce your pet’s anxiety and keep them from ingesting harmful chemicals and debris during your renovation? Follow these 6 easy steps!
Pet Daycare. When laborers work with harmful chemicals they wear gloves, goggles and masks to protect themselves. Our pets on the other hand, have nothing to protect them from ingesting poisonous chemicals through their skin, noses and eyes. Since most pets have a smaller lung capacity than humans, they are also more sensitive to noxious odors or fumes that can sometimes even be fatal. On days when your contractors plan to use chemicals, investing in daycare is the best way to ensure your pet’s safety. Petsmart has a great program for dogs!
Ensure a Clean Workspace. If you have ever been to a construction site, you know that there are always nails, debris and tools lurking around every corner. Before settling on a contractor, make sure that they are willing to clean up their tools and sweep up their workspace at the end of each work day. You should also restrict pet access to any areas of the house that are under construction to mitigate the chances of your pet getting into something they shouldn’t.
Watch for Easy Exits. During construction, doors and windows are often left open by workers as they carry in heavy materials and an unexpected loud noise could be enough to tempt your pet into fleeing out an open door or window. Make sure that your pet does not have access to easy exits by securing them in a safe room while materials are being carried in.
Pet Tags. If you pet does find their way through an open door or window, having them properly microchipped and tagged can be the only way to have them safely returned. Nowadays, most vets can microchip you pet at an affordable cost but if you’d rather have a pet tag, Hot Dog Collars has some of the coolest around.
Keep a Routine. Pets are creatures of habit and disrupting their routines can add unnecessary anxiety during a stressful renovation. Do your best to continue walking and feeding your pet at their normal time to reduce not only their stress but yours as well. If possible, keeping your pet’s belongings in their normal place can go a long way in keeping them calm.
Boarding. If your pet is particularly weary of strangers and loud noises, veterinarian Karen Halligan suggests boarding your pet for the duration of the renovation. Just like humans, pets can suffer PTSD which can lead to acting out by going to the bathroom in inappropriate places, aggression, hiding or running away. For more information about the effects of PTSD on your pets, check out Cesar Millan’s blog.
Even though renovations can be stressful, make sure you take a moment to think of your furry friends’ health and safety so you can both enjoy the fruits of your labors.