Love pets but despair of the effect they have on your furniture? Conservation and Sustainability Writer, Emily Folk, shares her suggestions on which types of furniture are best at surviving pets…
You may love your pets, but you also know that cleaning up after them is not as fun as, say, walking and petting them. The fact is, pets take a lot of maintenance — and a lot of that is cleaning your house and furniture.
When you’re buying furniture, keep your pets in mind.
Your Pet’s Influence on Your Furniture
Both dogs and cats shed hair and dander. They are also prone to accidents — such as, well, peeing and vomiting. Never say to yourself, “I’ll keep my pet healthy, so those things will never be a problem.” Pets can be usefully viewed almost like babies in that regard. The day will come when they are sick, overly excited or just plain mad. Then, watch the bodily fluids emerge.
All of these events, shedding, dander and accidents, can leave odors in your furniture.
Pet feet can do damage, too. Dog’s toenails can damage some woods and other types of furniture. Cats need to scratch their claws to be healthy. If you don’t supply scratching posts, they will handily make some — out of your furniture.
Plus, of course, pets that go outside can get wet and muddy. To a dog, mud is an exciting adventure. How are they to know that your velvet sofa doesn’t take well to mud?
Choosing Pet-Resistant Furniture
Here’s the bright side. Once you take into account all the ways pets can hurt your furniture, you are on your way toward identifying the types of furniture that can survive your pets. Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Fabrics That Wash Easily
For sofas and chairs, the winner of most pet-resistant material is definitely leather. It leads the others simply because leather is very easy to clean. Hair, dander and accidents wash off easily. Leather doesn’t retain odors, either. However, if you don’t care for leather, there are great options like Ultrasuede.
What you don’t want with pets is velvet, silk or chintz. Velvet simply can’t be restored to its original glory if it gets wet. Silk ditto. Chintz also doesn’t clean well. If you can’t live without your velvet couch or silk throw pillows, covering your furniture with blankets is one alternative. The key here is you want stuff your pets sit on to be very washable.
The same is true for bed coverings. A fancy down duvet might be great, but if your pets sleep with you, you are going to be dry-cleaning it often. It might be more practical to get wash-and-dry material for all bedclothes.
- Fabrics That Are Stain Resistant
For all furniture that has fabric in it, go for stain-resistant fabric. You can Scotchguard it as well. Protect yourself before the fact with stain-resistance.
- Furniture That Matches the Pets
If you want your furniture to last a long time around your pets, you need to be practical in choosing it. It doesn’t hurt to match your furniture to your pet’s coloring, too. We don’t mean a tortoiseshell cat always needs a tortoiseshell chair, of course, but if you have navy blue, black or brown furniture, a white Persian cat is always going to be a problem — no matter how well-behaved. The same goes for white furniture and a black Labrador retriever. The pets can’t help it!
But if you choose light or white furniture, any shedding the Persian does is not going to be an insurmountable problem before you get around to vacuuming it. And vice versa for the black Lab. A black leather couch would be a very practical choice if this is your pet.
One more point on “matching.” Short hairs shed less than long hairs, of any animals. If you have a long-haired breed, choose furniture that can be vacuumed easily and efficiently.
- Wood Furniture
If the thought of cleaning and maintaining fabric-covered furniture fills you with dread or impatience, wood is an excellent choice for all furniture that can survive pets.
Wood is easy to clean and wash off in case of any accidents. If you have cats, it might be better to choose a harder wood, such as oak or cherry, rather than a softer wood such as pine. Cats can scratch. The key to having your furniture survive, though, is to train the cat to go to a scratching post rather than your kitchen chairs. Same with dogs chewing — a well-trained dog will not chew wood furniture.
Wood is extremely durable as well. With proper care and maintenance, wood furniture pieces can stand up to your pets, and they can be valuable pieces of furniture for years to come.
Choosing the best furniture types for pets is part of pet ownership. These tips will help you find the right furniture, so you and your furry friends can live happily ever after.