A Guide to Making Your Home More Pet-Friendly on a Budget

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Article by Cindy Aldridge, Photo via Pexels

Pet-Friendly Homes on a Budget

Owning a pet is a huge source of joy, but it can be expensive.  With costs ranging from food to vet bills to toys, it’s easy to feel like there’s no room in the budget for pet-friendly home improvements.  However, there are many ways to transform your house into a puppy’s paradise without hogging the household budget. Here’s a guide to making your home more pet-friendly on a budget.

Savvy Shopping

The easiest way to upgrade your home for the family pets is to invest in a few accessories.  You may want to install a “doggie” door, so your animal pals can have access to the yard during the day, or get them a dog house and a comfortable bed. These things can make a big difference for your pet, but the costs can easily add up.  First, look for coupons and discounts at major online retailers. Also look out for cashback opportunities, such as Walmart promo codes. These allow you to make money back on your purchases, which you can apply toward other expenses.

Another way to save money in the long run is to buy durable, high-quality items.  Do your research and use review guides from trusted sources like Wirecutter, The better the quality of your purchase, the less chance you’ll need to replace it in a few months.

Easy DIY Projects

DIY allows you to save lots of money on home improvements, especially if you use upcycled or second-hand materials.  There are plenty of simple projects that even DIY novices can do to make their pets more comfortable in the home.  For example, this lovely dog nook involves building your own dog bed and dog organizer from cheap wood and with minimal DIY skills.

If you prefer a hot glue gun to a nail gun, you can also get crafty to save money on pet supplies.  Toys are a pointless expense — your pet can’t tell what they’re playing with and will eventually destroy it — so, toys are a great place to start your DIY endeavors.  DIY dog toys can be made from almost anything; old T-shirts, towels, rope, plastic bottles, and even a wet frozen sock.

Yard Upgrades

If any area of your house should be optimized for your pet, it’s the yard.  Dogs love running around and spending time outdoors, so you should make extra effort to be sure this part of your house is both safe and fun.  Cats like to explore their environment and climb things.  Be sure to add trees, shrubs and soft grasses to your yard that are pet safe.  Here’s a guide to the best and worst plants for a pet-friendly garden.

Fencing

First, safety.  You need to make sure your yard is properly fenced so your pet cannot run off. Ideally, you would have a fence tall enough to provide a visual barrier and ensure your pet can’t jump over it. Unfortunately, a full privacy fence can be very expensive.  If you want to go all out for your feline friend, check out a “catio,” which is a clever way to say patios for cats (or other pets).

A more cost-friendly option is a DIY fence using garden netting, posts, and cable ties.  The total cost of this is about $350, but it’s not considered as aesthetically pleasing as a proper privacy fence.  It’s up to you to decide whether a fence is worth the extra money.

Electric dog fences are a popular choice and are generally cheaper than privacy fencing.  This will help you sidestep the “eyesore” issue, but you should think very carefully before buying one.  There’s a lot of debate on whether electric fences are humane or even effective since they don’t protect your dog from anything coming into your yard.  Do your research and get your vet’s opinion.

Backyard Inspiration

Once you’ve safeguarded your yard, you can work to make it fun.  Cheap dog-friendly yard additions include making a digging area with sand or mulch (and some toys), setting up dedicated marking posts for them to do their business and creating a watering hole.  You should also ensure there is plenty of shade and that pathways and steppingstones are comfortable and don’t absorb heat.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your pet feel at home.  A combination of smart shopping and creative DIY can go a long way.  If your pets are already safe and content, small projects are all you need to take your house from simply being pet-friendly to a pampered puppy’s paradise.

Budget-Friendly Cleaning Advice for Dog Owners

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Article Written by Cindy Aldridge. Photo courtesy of Pexels

Dog owners have a deep and lasting bond with their pets.  Our dogs become our best friends, our faithful companions.  They remain loyal and provide a lifetime of unconditional love and friendship. With all that love and companionship, there’s also great responsibility.  As a dog owner, you must care for and clean up after your pet each and every day.

Here’s a list of budget-friendly tips that will help you keep your home clean and you and your best friend happy and healthy…

 

Invest in a Good Vacuum

If you have a breed of dog that sheds, you have a few different options for removing dog fur and keeping your home clean.  One option is to keep your dog’s fur trimmed and groomed on a regular basis, if possible.  Another option is to move into a home that has hardwood flooring, which is easier to clean for most dog owners.  If you fall into the category of dog owners who have carpeted homes, you may want to look into a good vacuum cleaner.  Vacuums remove pet dander and fur from your home and they don’t cost a fortune.

However, it’s important to remember that your dog doesn’t understand what a vacuum is or what it does.  All Fido knows is that there’s a strange being in the living room making loud noises, and that can be terrifying to a dog.  Because the sound of your vacuum can excite or scare your dog, it’s important to look for a quiet vacuum cleaner.  Vacuums might cost you some money up front, but they’ll last for years to come, so take your time to compare different models.  Look for a vacuum that’s within your budget and still has the features that work best for your unique needs.

 

Clean the Air

Our dogs have adorable personality quirks — but they also have odors.  The last thing you want is for your home to smell like wet dog.  Air fresheners can go a long way in hiding the smell of dog in your home.  But of course, there are other ways to reduce pet odors.  First, bring nature into your home with some houseplants that are safe for dogs.  Next, consider an essential oil diffuser.  Essential oils are natural, safe, and an inexpensive way to improve the air quality in your home.  In addition to soothing your mind and masking pet odors, essential oils and aromatherapy can help clean the air with their anti-microbial properties.  The best oils for cleaning the air in your home include four thieves: eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and clove or peppermint oil.

 

Obedience Training and Housebreaking

One of the most proactive ways dog owners can maintain a clean home is to properly train your pet.  This starts with housebreaking your dog and enrolling him or her in some obedience training.  Housebreak your puppy early and use puppy pads or newspaper in the home in case of accidents.  When your puppy is young, you need to take him or her outside more frequently to avoid accidents in the house.

Experts recommend using a piece of dog kibble or other food as a treat to reward the dog for displaying behaviors upon command.  After your puppy starts to learn basic commands, you can move on to more advanced activities.  For instance, once your pet has mastered the “drop it” command, you can begin teaching the dog to play fetch.

 

When All Else Fails

If you find yourself shaking your head in frustration because you’ve tried all these tricks and you’re still dealing with pet odors and accidents from a stubborn dog, don’t give up.  In addition to the tips listed in this article, you can look into common, low-cost sprays that will discourage your dog from marking territory in the house.  If all else fails and nothing seems to be working, take your dog to see a vet or a dog trainer.  It’s possible that your dog might have a medical condition that’s causing the issue.

After resolving any health concerns and spaying or neutering your pet, you might be surprised at how quickly most dogs are housebroken.  This means you’ll invest less stress and money into cleaning up after your dog, freeing you up to enjoy quality time together while bonding with your dog.