Cats And Canines And Carpet -- Oh, My!

By Catherine McNulty

January 30, 2014 5 min read

Oh, the joys of coming home to a pet. There is something priceless about knowing that you are loved no matter what by a warm, furry buddy. But as much as you love them, sometimes pets have accidents or make messes. Here are some quick and easy tips to ensure that a few splotches on the carpet won't ruin your relationship with your pet.

Problem: Urine or vomit stains on the carpet

There are actually several things to consider if your pet is urinating on the carpet. Is it a one-off accident or a frequent problem? If it's a frequent problem then you need to address the underlying issues at hand. For cats, it might be that the litter box is not being scooped out often enough. A dog may need to be let out in a timely manner. It could also be the first sign of a serious illness in either species. If your pet is acting odd or you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian immediately.

There are many pet-centric spot and stain removers on the market, such as Nature's Miracle. If the spot is fresh, blot up as much as you can with paper towels or clean towels. If you are using a stain remover, follow the directions on the packaging.

If you prefer a more natural approach, then equal parts white vinegar and water can be used on the spot. Saturate, blot and let dry. If the spot has dried, baking soda can be applied generously to the area and vacuumed up several hours later. You may want to test a small, unobtrusive part of your carpet with these treatments first, as they can cause discoloration.

If the urination continues, talk to your vet. In the meantime, try to make the area your pet is using unavailable or as unappealing as possible. If the stains are particularly stubborn, you may need to rent a steam cleaner or pay to have your carpets professionally cleaned.

Problem: Scratching or chewing on furniture

Is your cat's favorite scratching post your sofa? Does your puppy want to use your computer's power cord as a chew toy? Don't let your furry progeny destroy your favorite things. Discourage bad behavior! But how?

The most popular method is to apply a topical spray that will taste bitter to your pet. You can buy that type of spray at a pet store, and the sprays are safe to apply to furniture, carpets and all other manner of household goods to discourage pets from chewing and scratching. The sprays are generally safe enough to be applied directly to your pet's fur if your pet has a habit of chewing on a hotspot.

You can make homemade versions of these sprays as well. One popular recipe is two parts apple cider vinegar to one part white vinegar. You can also use 2 parts lemon juice to 1 part white vinegar. As with all sprays, do a spot check first as vinegars and lemon juice can be bleaching.

Finally, if you have a curious cat that is reaching places you'd rather not have him go, such as a high shelf or a mantel, then consider covering it in aluminum foil. Yes, it will be unattractive for a bit. However, cats hate the feel of foil, and it will deter them.

Problem: Shedding

One of the reasons humans love dogs and cats so much is that they are soft and fluffy. But all that plush fur is shed and you will be left with mountains of it. Obviously, vacuuming and dusting will help immensely. So will regular grooming. If your pet is not keen on going to a professional groomer or the cost is too much, invest in a good quality brush and do it yourself.

Not every pet likes being brushed, so be gentle and reward good behavior with treats. In no time at all, your fuzzy buddy will look forward a good brushing. Combine the activity with your own relaxation, like when you're watching television.

Owning a pet doesn't mean your house has to become a hovel. For most destructive behaviors and damaging messes, time is of the essence, so address them promptly. Beyond that, realize that accidents and messes are a part of life and your pet is not being spiteful.

If you ever have questions or concerns about your pet's behavior or actions, contact your veterinarian. Often when a pet is sick or unwell, its behavior changes first.

And remember to enjoy your pet. It won't be around forever.

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