August 25, 2016

How to keep your pets safe during renovation

How to keep your pets safe during renovation

Renovation can be a stressful affair for all of your family members, but it is especially traumatic for household pets. Your home is their home, and while you are looking forward to the brand new floors and cabinets, they will have their world turned upside down for the reasons they are unable to comprehend. There are a few steps you can take to make the remodeling process easier on your pets and to ensure their safety all throughout.

Microchip is your friend

This is probably the most important step to undertake if you want to keep track of your pet, whether is a dog, a cat or even a bird. If you haven’t already done so, pay your vet a visit and have your pet fitted with a microchip to ensure their safe recovery in case they get disoriented by the noise and chaos of the renovation and decide to flee your home. Dogs and cats should be also wearing identification collars with your contact info that is current and legible.

Consider boarding your pets

The best way to keep your pets safe and away from the renovation racket is to board them in a local facility that you know and trust. Your vet’s office may offer a “boarding house” of its own or can definitely recommend a reputable one. While many pet owners cringe at the idea of “boarding” their critters, pet boarding has come a long way and many “pet hotels” offer slick and modern facilities and a schedule that includes lots of fun activities for your pet to keep active. Leaving your pet with a “sitter” is another option. If you have had your pet for a while, you might already know someone who can “house” and take care of it until your renovation is complete.

Temporary “safe” zone

If you decide against boarding and choose to keep your pets in the house during the renovation, you should establish a temporary “safe zone.” Kitchens are commonly used as feeding areas for family pets and bathrooms are often where homeowners place their cats’ litter boxes. If those two areas are being renovated, it is important to set up a temporary safe space for your pets to continue with their routine. Move the feed dishes and litter boxes to the next available room a couple of days prior to the renovation, so that your pets could get used to the new setup and use it until you are ready to move them back to their original “turf.” Have all their toys and bedding available to your pets, make sure to check on them often and stick to their regular feeding and walking schedule.

Talk to your contractor

Whatever strategy you choose regarding your pets, talk to your contractor about it. If your dog or a cat is staying in the house during renovation, make sure you discuss the details of that arrangement with your construction professional, so that all of the workers on site could be notified and take the necessary precautions. It is your responsibility to make sure that your pet does not get into the construction zone, not only for their own safety but also to avoid any possible personal injury litigation, in case your pet causes harm to any of the workers. A contractor informed about the pet situation can take special provisions, like erecting barriers on the work site and notifying the crew about pets and what to do if they escape from their “safe zone.” If you choose to keep your dog outside, it should be chained and safely secured in an area it cannot easily escape from.

Hide dangerous equipment and tools

If you allow your pet to go outside the “safe zone” after hours, make sure that your construction professionals secure and put away any potentially dangerous tools, like saws or drills. Small hardware like nails and screws should not be left out in the open to prevent accidental ingestion and any stripped electrical wiring should also be secured and out of reach. You have to make sure that the workers faithfully clean the areas being renovated after each workday and secure and stabilize any loose items.

Pick safe materials

To make sure that you and your pets are completely protected during and after your renovation, pick the safest materials available on the market. “New” doesn’t always mean “safe” and many construction and renovation supplies often include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as styrene or formaldehyde. This is especially true with carpeting, carpet padding and adhesives, as well as paint and dyes. VOCs are harmful to humans, but they are especially harmful to pets who are smaller in size and do not always comprehend the dangers of their environment. Choose low-VOC materials, like wool carpeting, formaldehyde-free sub-flooring and low-VOC paint that reduces the exposure to dangerous chemicals for the workers applying the product, the residents that will enjoy their freshly painted homes afterward, and their pets who will just be glad to get back to their original routine.

Use smart technology for monitoring

Even if you took every precaution, there will be times when you have to go off-site during the renovation and leave your pet behind. You can employ security cameras (which are becoming increasingly accessible and cost-effective) to keep tabs on your pets and your property throughout the remodeling process. You can monitor the workers’ comings and goings and make sure that your pet is not in distress (if it is, you can take quick action to fix the situation). You should notify your contractor and the workers that you are using the security cameras, so they don’t feel like they are being violated.

We hope that with these tips you can keep your pets safe and secure during the renovation, as well as give yourself a piece of mind, knowing that your beloved animals are protected.

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