When your home is undergoing renovations, everyone in the household is affected, pets included. There are a lot of dangers that pets face during home renovations — some you may not even think of. From nails and tools being left around to strangers coming into the house, it’s important to keep your pets calm and safe while your house is being worked on. Know what to expect and have a plan for if things get out of hand.
Know What to Expect
Home renovations are stressful for homeowners, but pets don’t even understand what’s going on, which makes the situation all the more anxiety-inducing. Plus, pets are more sensitive to sounds and smells. The banging and drilling in your home sound louder to your pet than to you, and the fumes from paint and chemicals are more noticeable as well. Also, if there’s a gas leak that you don’t notice right away, it could impact your pet before you even know there’s anything wrong. Gas leak symptoms in pets include trouble breathing, changes in mood, lethargy, red eyes, and vomiting.
The bustle of home renovations is a common time for pets to act out, so don’t be surprised if you notice some unusual behavior. When your pet’s routine is disrupted, they may do things like go to the bathroom inside or hide from you. It’s also possible that your pet will start displaying signs of aggression, at which point you may want to remove them from the home and leave them at a boarding center, pet sitter, or with a friend or family member.
Create a Hospitable Environment for Your Pet
When your pet is stressed, you have to treat them the way you treat yourself when you’re sick. Surround them with their favorite, most comforting toys and bedding. Get them the food and treats they love. Play TV or music to drown out the noise. It’ll also help to keep them on as normal a routine as possible, especially when it comes to walks, feeding, and play time.
Remember that this isn’t the best time to do anything that normally stresses your pet out, like taking them to the vet, putting them in the car, or leaving the home for extended periods of time (if you can help it). Try to take care of these tasks in advance or sometime after renovations are complete.
If the contractors are going to be working inside your house, you may want to keep your pet outside for most of the day, assuming the temperature and weather are safe for him. To create an enjoyable and safe backyard, make sure nothing is in the area that could harm your pet, like rakes or plants that could make your pet sick. The backyard should be fenced in so your pet can roam freely, and make sure there aren’t any gaps in the fence. To make the backyard welcoming, set up a dog house with bedding and some sort of climate control, like a fan. Make sure your pet can reach their food and water (and that pests won’t contaminate it), and setup outdoor toys like balls and tunnels.
Respect Contractors and Workers
Even if you trust your home renovation workers to do a great job, you don’t know how they’ll treat your pet. Plus, your pet shouldn’t get in their way, because their presence could distract workers from doing their job. Other than a friendly greeting upon arrival, keep your pet away from the workers. Your pet will remain safe, and your workers won’t get annoyed or distracted by your pet. Whatever you do, never leave the house and your pet when workers are there — their job isn’t to care for your dog or cat.
Remove Electrical Wires and Other Dangerous Materials
As an adult, you wouldn’t want to step on a nail or screw left lying around, so just imagine how painful it would be to a pet. At the end of each day, once the workers are gone and you’re getting back to normal life for the evening, walk around the home to pick up any debris or dangerous materials that were left behind. Even something as small as a staple or tack can be painful if it gets stuck in a paw.
Also, your pet will likely chew through an exposed electrical wire — it may look like a toy. Remove any that you don’t need and elevate the rest. If you can’t elevate them, put a gate around the wires so your pet can’t get to them, or keep your pet out of that room entirely.
Secure Loose Items
Your pet is used to walking through your home and brushing up against furniture — cats especially love to rub against the edges of couches or the legs of tables. If your pet does that against a loose stack of items, like plywood, they could topple it and get hurt in the process. If you have to stack items, keep them secure by tying them together or preventing them from entering the area.
Protect Pets From Open Doors and Windows
When your home is undergoing renovations, doors are going to be opened and closed a lot more than usual as contractors and deliveries come in and out. Also, if your doors or windows are being replaced, there may be areas left open for a whole day. It’s best to have your pet out of the house and at a trusted friend’s home or at a boarding center, but if that’s not possible, set them up in a room that’s not being worked on.
Take efforts to prevent your pet from getting lost. You want to keep them from wandering outside or getting in the way of the workers. Since there’s still a chance that your pet will get out, consider having them fitted with a microchip so you can find them. They should also have an ID collar on them at all times.
Visit the Vet for a Checkup
If you think your pet is exhibiting signs of aggression or illness, it’s time to visit the vet. A sick pet will be stressed, which can cause them to hide, bark or whine, have indoor accidents, act aggressively, or stop eating. If you feel like your pet is acting much differently than normal, take them to the vet and consider having them stay elsewhere while your home renovations are finished.
If you have to keep them in the home, talk to your vet about giving your pet CBD products to help quell their anxiety. Much of what works for humans can work for pets as well. While CBD oils are still being researched, there are some brands that are deemed safer than others — talk to your vet about brands they recommend and proper dosing.
Consider Renovations Your Pet Will Appreciate
Since you’re already moving forward with a home remodel, why not think about upgrades that will benefit your pet? Some examples include:
- If you have several dogs, you can extend your kitchen so they have more space to eat and drink.
- A mudroom means that a dog who loves to get dirty while playing outside can come into your home to get cleaned off instead of having to wait outside in the heat or cold.
- If you enclose your patio, you can relax in your sunroom with your pet without worrying they’ll run away or having to keep them tied up.
- You could even consider adding a small room just for your pet, where they can have all of their toys and luxurious bedding.
Think About Relocating During the Remodel
If you’ve done what you can to create a normal and peaceful environment, but you and your pet still feel stressed on a daily basis, consider moving out of your home temporarily. You can get away from the danger and chaos of the remodel and get back to some sense of normalcy. To make the move easy, find a temporary home that’s nearby. That way, you won’t have to pack everything at once. If you need something from home, you can just head back to pick up clothing or other items.
There are some specifics to consider when moving with a pet, even if the relocation is temporary. First, if your pet has a microchip, update the contact information so it’s location reflects the temporary home. On moving day, ask a friend to pet sit while you gather everything you need and get settled in the rental or hotel room. Consider finding a temporary home with green space or easy access to a dog park, especially if you usually let your dog play in your backyard. Also, treat your pet to extra attention at the temporary home — extras toys and affection will make adjusting easier.
There’s a lot to consider when preparing for a home remodel or renovation. A countless number of concerns are probably on the top of your mind. The well-being of your beloved pet should be on your list of priorities, but they don’t have to be a stress of stress if you plan ahead. Your pet can’t speak for themselves and they rely on you for protection, so it’s important to be proactive during a home remodel to keep them safe.