Imagine you’re your pet for a moment:
One day you’re lazing on cushy carpeting, now you’re suddenly sliding along laminate flooring. Where did that come from? There’s a strange chemical smell in the air you can’t quite place – varnish? Paint? You don’t know what it is, but you know you don’t like it.
Your favourite digging (or pooping) patch in the garden is inexplicably filled with trendy succulents, your parents seem stressed and on edge, and there are areas of the home you used to rule that you can’t get into anymore.
You’d probably think, “What the pug is going on!?”
Locking down enough time and money to carry out the renovation plans that have been collecting dust in your Pintrest board is any homeowner’s dream come true – but the same can’t be said for your pets.
Between the strange people, smells, sights, and sounds, your furry friends will likely find the entire ordeal confusing, anxiety-inducing, and downright scary.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s how you can renovate your home without freaking out your pets.
1. Play therapist with your pets
You know your pets better than anyone else, so the best person to put together a home renovation game plan is you.
Carefully consider where you’re renovating and what your pet’s personality is like to try to predict how they’ll handle the ‘homework’ before the work starts:
Doing a contained renovation (like retiling a bathroom) will be simpler and easier than doing something that disrupts the entire house (like replacing all the flooring), so it’s important you know exactly what you’re doing – and in which order – before you figure out how to keep your pet safe and happy during the work.
2. Do the safe thing – even if they hate it
Cats – especially the outdoor kind – are accustomed to coming and going as they please, so you may need to prepare yourself for a temper tantrum of epic proportions.
The same goes for any pet who is used to having the run of the house without their movements being restricted. You may be in for crying, whimpering, separation anxiety, or good old FOMO as they watch (and hear) the outside world go by.
It’s difficult for any pet owner to see their pet stressed, but their safety must be your top priority. If there’s any risk of them getting hurt or escaping during renovations, your first and foremost job is to protect them – even if it makes them unhappy in the short-term.
3. Give them their own room
If possible, reserve a space (a bedroom, study, or even your garage) that will become your pet’s new “home” during the renovations. Try choosing a space that is as far away as possible from the noise and is in an area that won’t have workers walking past all day.
Furnish it with food, water, bedding, a litter box, and toys to try to make it as comfortable as possible.
For stressed pets, some of the following items may provide a sense of comfort:
For many pets, the most comforting thing in their temporary home will be you – so make sure you keep your pet’s regular mealtimes, playtimes, and exercise times.
The situation is already stressful for them, so a sense of their normal routine will help them adjust.
4. Give your pet a vacation
If all else fails, or your renovations are too extensive to keep your pet in a safe area of your home, your best option may be to put your pup in doggy daycare, take your kitty to a cat hotel, or enlist a friend or family member to take your pet for the duration of the renovations.
If your pet has a nervous temperament, this may be the ideal option as you’ll be able to go to work each day and oversee the renovations with peace of mind, instead of spending each day worrying that your pet (or the construction crew) may be in danger.
5. Let them get used to the renovations
Once you’ve made it through the renovations, depending on how extensive they are, your pet may need some time to adjust to their new living space.
Things will look, feel, sound, and smell different to their sensitive noses so be patient and treat it like it’s their first day home:
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