Pets are family. And we all want our family members to be as comfortable as possible when they are home.
Toys and treats are ubiquitous additions in any pet-friendly home. But these are things most pet parents already have covered. When it comes to providing your pet with ultimate comfort at home, it’s important to also think about the environmental and electrical elements of your home.
The temperature you set your thermostat, the types of indoor plants you choose, how you protect your electrical cables, and the indoor air quality of your home, all contribute to the safety, health, and comfort of not just your pet but also you, the pet owner.
Here are some unique ways to add safety and comfort to your pet’s day.
Pet-safe cord covers
While a luxurious pet bed or chewy toys and treats may be more obvious items to increase the comfort for your pet, you should also consider the often overlooked elements of your home that affect your pets. Electrical cords are all over the home, and without proper pet protection, could be a dangerous safety hazard for your pet.
Household cables may present dangers for your children and pets. Pets and young children may feel inclined to chew the cables, which could cause an electrical shock. Depending on how serious the shock, this can be deadly.
Cords and pets can coexist in your home, but only with proper pet resistant cord protection:
Wind it up
Don’t let long cables and tangled cords become a hazard to your pet(s). Messy cords and cables can even strangle your small pets if they get entangled! Wind up any cords lying around on the ground, and ensure they are not sticking out. What they can’t see, they won’t get curious about.
Blend it in
If you want to make your home more safe your pets, while also camouflaging your cables, use cable covers that match the paint of your wall or the color of your flooring. You can also use cable clips and cable runners to get them up off the ground.
These options will vibe with your decor and keep your pets from chewing on obvious cables on the floor. The most effective and aesthetic solution to electrical cords is running cables through the walls. Running them through the walls is a prettier, and more permanent solution to consider, but requires professional assistance. Contact HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric for help running cords and wires through your walls, floors, and ceilings.
Wrap it up
Cost-effective and simple to do, wrapping your electrical cords may not be the most aesthetic option, but it will do the trick. We suggest using corrugated wire loom tubing or spiral cable wrap. If your pet has a strong jaw and curiosity, you may need to look into a stronger material to wrap the cords, such as PVC piping. Running your electrical cords through metallic braided sleeving is another option, especially if you have smaller animals and are concerned about them easily biting through the electrical cord or the cord covering.
Not all plants are safe for your pets to be alone with! If you’re both a pet parent and a plant parent, know which plants are pet-friendly and which can cause health and safety risks. Some plants are toxic to pets and humans. If a pet or child were to accidentally ingest a houseplant, you would want the peace of mind of knowing that it wouldn’t mean a trip to the vet or hospital.
There are many indoor plants are not only beautiful, but perfectly safe for your pet. Keep in mind that some plants are non-toxic to dogs, but not to cats, and vice versa. We have listed some of the most popular plants that are non-toxic for dogs, cats, and humans, and several plants to avoid if you have a pet or young child at home.
List of non-toxic, pet-safe houseplants:
- Air Plants
- Aluminum Plant
- Boston Fern
- Parlor Palm
- Phalaenopsis Orchid
- Polka Dot Plant
- Spider Plant
- (Most) Succulents
List of toxic and/or poisonous plants to avoid:
- Bird of Paradise
- Calla Lily
- English Ivy
- Golden Pothos
- Jade Plant
- Sago Palm
- Snake Plant
- Weeping Fig
If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous plant, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
The recommended thermostat setting for your pet is around 78 degrees in the summer and 69 degrees in the winter. A dog, for example, is more comfortable if it is indoors experiencing a consistent temperature. Just like us humans, changes in temperature can quickly lead to discomfort.
If you’re cold, your pet is most likely cold as well. If you’re too warm, so is your pet. If you leave your pet alone for the day when you are at work, be sure to leave the thermostat at a consistent temperature, around 70-78°F in the warmer months, and no lower than 65°F in the winter. Your pet will be cozy and comfortable, no matter the temperature outside.
Keep in mind that different pets have different temperature preferences. For instance, a smaller dog without much fur will prefer warmer temperatures.
Here are some factors to take into consideration when setting your thermostat:
- Coat type
- Size of pet
- Weight of pet
- Age of pet
- Health of pet
Use a smart or programmable thermostat to automatically set the temperature to the proper range. Today’s thermostats even allow you to control the temperature of your home with your smartphone.
Proper humidity levels
Dry air can cause dry eyes, nose, and throat, in both humans and animals. This makes us more susceptible to disease and floating contaminants since there is less mucusy membrane to trap airborne pathogens. Dry air can get particularly bad in the winter, which is probably why are so prone to getting sick that time of year. So, it’s not the cold, it’s the humidity!
In the summer, we have the opposite problem — high humidity. If there is too much humidity in the home, it can lead to mold growth and comfort problems for pets and humans.
Improve household comfort and immune systems by maintaining an relative indoor humidity levels around 40–50%. You can measure you indoor humidity levels with a hygrometer, which can be purchased at your local home improvement store.
If indoor humidity levels are a problem, speak with an HVAC specialist about installing a whole-home humidification system.
Dealing with pet allergies
When you have a pet or many pets in your home, you need to be extra vigilant about keeping your indoor air quality at healthy levels. In addition to pet dander (microscopic bits of skin), saliva, and hair, your pet can also drag in contaminants, such as pollen and pathogens.
Here are some things you can do to improve your indoor air quality and reduce the amount of pet-produced particulates in the home:
Good grooming habits aren’t just for humans. Keep your pet(s) on a routine grooming schedule, therefore you won’t have to worry about lack of cleanliness or too much hair! Periodic grooming — a brush a week, a bath a month — significantly reduces pet hair and dander in the home. An ungroomed pet can cause multiple health problems, such as eye, throat, and nose irritation.
Check air filter(s) every month
Not only should you groom your pet(s) regularly, you should also set reminders for regular filter replacements. Pet owners will need to replace their air filters more frequently than non-pet-owners.
The air filter will trap all the loose hair and pet dander, but you will want to put in a fresh filter to maintain proper airflow and keep those contaminants from circulating through the home. Check your filter every month by taking it out and holding it up to the light. Wait no more than 3 months to clean or replace the filter.
Keep in mind that air filter effectiveness is measured by its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating, which ranges from 1–20. MERV ratings above 12 are usually reserved for commercial buildings and may require professional modification of your current HVAC system to accommodate them. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration, but go too high and it may not fit. When purchasing replacement filters, make sure you get one with the same exact dimensions as the filter you are replacing.
Clean your pet’s bed and accessories
As humans, we clean our bed sheets every week or two (at least we should be!) and the same can be said for your pet’s bedding. Even if you are cleaning, grooming, and staying aware of your HVAC air filter and ductwork, if you don’t clean the pet’s bedding, you are accumulating large amounts of pet hair and pet dander to be tracked through the home. Any machine-washable toys should get thrown into the wash as well. Everything else should be washed by hand.
Indoor air quality is important for the comfort and health of all inhabitants of your home, your pets included. Keeping the spaces where your pet eats, drinks, and sleeps will go a long way to improving the comfort of your pet and family. Be aware of these important pet grooming and cleaning responsibilities and you will ensure that the air you and your pets are breathing will be the best possible for all.
Don’t forget about your comfort!
We understand that it’s tempting to have your pet around at all times, but it’s best to keep them off your bed and couch. While you may not be allergic, you never know what they may be tracking in. You may want to take the extra step of keep pets out of the bedrooms entirely.
In addition to making your bed and couch a no-pet zone, consider replacing carpet floors with hardwood, using dust mite covers, and investing in an air purifier.
For more ways to improve comfort at home, contact the indoor air quality specialists at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We will dispatch a Trust Certified technician to assess your home and recommend the proper solution to your home’s indoor air quality issues.