When it comes to pets and furniture, everyone has an opinion. Some people like to snuggle with their dogs in bed, study with a cat in their lap, or watch TV while sharing a couch with multiple pets. Others are horrified at the thought of cat claws on the good furniture and think dogs should stay in their own beds or crates. Everyone here at Fireside Furniture has their own thoughts on what they should do, but in order to decide your own pet furniture policy, here are four things you need to know.
Normal use doesn’t cause damage…
The average American cat weighs less than ten pounds, while the average American dog weighs between sixty and eighty pounds. Animals of this size won’t damage a bed, couch, or chair just by sitting or lying on it. The heaviest dog in modern history, Zorba the English Mastiff, weighed 343 pounds, while the current record holder, Atlas the Great Dane, is a measly 225 pounds. That’s big for a dog, but barely 25 pounds heavier than the average American male! Quality furniture is designed to be used, so pets won’t be a problem if they use furniture in the same way you do.
…but claws do.
Clawing is the most common cause of furniture damage, and it’s a behavior that must be stopped quickly. Cats naturally need to sharpen their claws, so be sure they have an alternative area – like a scratching post or scratcher toy – to practice this normal behavior. Dogs are also naturally inclined to scratch their sleeping areas, which can be a problem if your dog shares your bed or sleeps on your couch or chair. If this is damaging your furniture, you may need to consider providing your dog with a designated sleeping spot and beeding.
Allergens are complicated.
Some people dealing with pet allergies will try to manage them by keeping their pets off the furniture. This is a common mistake which confuses fur with “dander.” Keeping your cat or dog off the couch when they are shedding may protect its appearance, but your pet’s “dander,” made of skin cells and microscopic particles, will still be present in the air and on most surfaces.
Safety and Hygiene
Many decisions related to furniture and pets are based on your lifestyle and personal preferences; there’s no right or wrong answer. The exception is safety and hygiene, which are areas of real concern. Animals should never be allowed to walk, sleep, or play on surfaces that are used for food preparation and serving; this includes counters, cutting boards, dinner tables, and even desks or coffee tables where you eat. You also want to keep all animals, especially cats (who are adept climbers) off of tall furniture that is not designed to support their weight; falling furniture may cause damage or injury to your pet or yourself. Heavy bookcases in particular should be secured to the wall if you suspect your cat (or any other animal) is climbing the shelves.
There are many more considerations related to pets and furniture, but remember that a great place to start is investing in behavior training for your pets and high quality furniture for your home. And while we can’t help you with training your pets, we can help you get great furniture. Come visit our showroom on 695 Route 23 S in Pompton Plains, NJ and see all the great pieces we have for you and your beloved pets!