6 Handy Tips When Renovating With Dogs In The House
A new garage. Painting walls. Refinishing hardwood floors. Building a new fence. Installing new windows. A kitchen overhaul. Putting up a gazebo. Redoing a recreation room (due to flooding). Been there, done that, have the bill to prove it. All this work done with my dogs around, and we survived to tell the tale! Whether your renovation dreams are big or small, if they involve a pet, you are going to have some extra planning to do.
Our newest renovation project involved renovating our kitchen. Some of the work we did ourselves, and some of it we hired experts. We tore the kitchen out right down to the studs, ripped the floors out, down to the joists. We moved a doorway and rewired everything. Knocked a hole in the wall, cut a hole in the roof for a fan, rerouted the vents and put in a new window. Lights were added everywhere, along with new paint, and more cupboards. Our 60-year-old kitchen is now bright, modern and easy to use. This has been a long process, during which we lived in the house with our dogs. We don’t have a large house, and it wasn’t always easy, but we may it through.
We followed these tips to keep our dogs safe.
Must-Dos Before Renovating With Dogs In The House
The most important thing you should do before considering renovating the house with dogs is to create a plan. Yes, a plan.
Not for the renovations, but for what you and anyone else living in the house expect. And especially plan for what your dog can expect in all of this. Remember, they’re family members too but they have no clue what you’re doing.
You’ll want to have a great idea of how long Bowzer’s life will be disrupted, and what you’ll be doing to make the intrusions in his life minimal (remember, he doesn’t understand any of this). Plan for back-up back-up plans because then you won’t be super stressed. If you’re not stressed, you’re likely to have a less-stressed dog too.
Know what time contractors will be coming to do the work. Seriously, this sounds simple, but in this crazy world? Things happen and plans change. Stay in constant contact with your contractors to know not just the day they’ll be there, but the time you can expect them. Then you’ll be able to have your pet’s safe space and all his accouterments ready to get to at a second’s notice no matter where a contractor is in your house. It’s too easy for your pup’s best bone to get buried under a tarp, so take precautions.
Make sure your contractors know your plans and that your dogs are important in them. Sometimes you’ll get the eye roll that accompanies the “It’s just a dog,” face but if you let them know right off the bat that your dog is family and you have a plan to keep things good for ALL your family, it’ll be better. That’ll lead to fewer open paint cans hanging out or someone accidentally leaving doors open a lot less.
Prep Your Pet
Because you know when your contractor will be there, you can prep your pet. Go outside with them. Get exercise with them. POOP THEM OUT. A worn-out dog will stress less about all the things going on in their house. While the work is being done, to the best of your ability, get your dog out and about. Swim. Run. Play fetch. Just do something to help them get some energy out so that they’re more “Meh,” when the work begins.
A good walk or run leaves less energy for your pet to spend on being anxious or afraid in the midst of any construction-related commotion.
Dogs are creatures of habit. They find safety and comfort when the things in their world are predictable. Renovations can throw all of that out the window, creating chaos and stress for your dog. Stick to your dog’s regular routine as closely as possible during the renovations. If your dog is going to need to be fed or sleep somewhere else in the house, start before the renovations. Regular playtime and walks are great ways for our dogs to burn off their excess energy and avoid stress. Your dog will be happier during the renos with a predictable routine.
To keep your dog safe during the renovations – and all the chaos that goes along with it – you are going to need a way to contain your dog.
A room far from the renovations, with a door that you can securely close, would be ideal. If it’s not a room that your dog is used to spending time in, start making a positive association with the area before the renovations take place. Feed your dog some special treats or let him have his dinner in the room. As soon as he is done eating in there, then let him out. The idea is that this will be a place you can keep your dog securely away from the dangers of the renovations.
Have a safe place
For our dogs, their kennels are their safe places. The kennels provide a safe and comfortable place where they can retreat and take a nap or chew on a favorite toy. Before we started the renovations, we moved the kennels to another room, which was going to be more accessible to the dogs.
If your dog isn’t kennel trained, then perhaps it’s a blanket or piece of furniture that provides comfort and safety. Consider where you can set up your dog’s safe place. It would be ideal if you can contain the dog in the area of the safe place, to keep him out from underfoot and away from any of the possible dangers of the construction zone.
Toxins and dangers
You will be thankful your dog has a safe place to stay out of the mess, wet paint, freshly varnished floors, power tools or various electrical cords. Mold or asbestos might be uncovered during the renovation process. The list of dangers goes on and on. If it’s toxic to humans, it’s toxic for our pets as well. With smaller bodies that use less lung capacity, it doesn’t take much of a dangerous substance to harm a dog. Be aware of the products being used in your home, and ask if they are safe for pets.
Do a thorough sweep at the end of each day, looking for staples, nails, bits of glass or wire – anything that might cause harm to your dog. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Also be clear about where workers can throw the garbage from their lunches. Dispose if it properly so your dog doesn’t get into any wrappers of leftover which might make him sick.
Not everyone likes dogs (WHAT!?!)
It’s true. Not everyone who will be working on the renovation project is comfortable around dogs. For that reason, it’s best to keep your dog away and contained while you have workers in the house. Plus, they have a job to do, and may not appreciate a dog who can’t control his licker.
Check the gate
With people coming and going, often carrying heavy objects and tools, the gate to your yard is likely going to be opened and closed, opened and closed and opened and closed (you get the picture). It’s best to check it, and often. It’s pretty obvious when a door to the house has been left open, but it can be easy to miss the gate. Before you let your dog out in the yard, just double check the gate has been closed and latched.
Renovations can be a very fun, and stressful time for our pets, as well as for us. Be sure to take a break from the hard work, mess and chaos to get out and play with your dogs!
Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!
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