Home renovations and other projects around the house can be stressful for everyone in the family, including your pets. Follow these tips to keep your pet safe and comfortable during the process.
1. Have a plan
Your pet will have no idea what’s going on as contractors show up and start tearing down walls or digging up your backyard. Consider how long your renos will take and how you will minimize disruptions in your pet’s life. Know what time contractors will be at your home and encourage them to keep consistent hours. You’ll then be able to keep your pet on a regular schedule – which can go a long way towards reducing stress levels.
2. See the vet for a complete checkup
It’s worth a trip to the veterinarian to ensure your pet is in good shape before renovations begin. If your pet is hiding signs of pain or illness it's best to detect any underlying problem before construction work begins and causes additional stress. Ask your vet if they have any helpful tips of their own to help your pet get through the renovation.
3. Check your gates and entrances
People will be coming and going into your home throughout the renovation process. They’ll often leave the door open as they carry in equipment and tools. Set ground rules with your contractor to ensure your pet isn’t accidentally let loose. If workers plan to leave a door or gate open for an extended period, have them call or text you in advance so you can place your pet in a safely gated area. Always make sure your pet is wearing an I.D. tag or is microchipped, and before you let your dog out into your backyard, check that the gate has been closed.
4. Introduce your pet to workers
Pets have an uncanny ability to remember the people they meet, and your pet will take cues from you to learn whether someone poses a threat to them. If your contractor is pet friendly, have your pets meet them and let them play and sniff the workers who will be coming into your home. This will go a long way toward making your pet feel at ease.
5. Stick to a routine
Once the work begins, try to stick to your normal household routine as much as possible.
Keep regular hours when it comes to waking, mealtimes and walks. You’ll know when workers will be there, so use this opportunity to take your pet out and play with them.
6. Use your pet crate
If you’re concerned your pet will escape the second your front door is opened keep them safely crated or in a room of their own. Having your pet loose in a construction zone can be dangerous to your pet and the workers who could trip over them. Select a room far from the renovations with a door you can close. If your pet isn’t used to spending time in that room, start getting them accustomed to it a few weeks prior to the reno by feeding them special treats or dinner in the room with the door closed.
7. Get outside more
Take frequent walks or trips to the park with your pet to escape the construction noises and smells at home. A drive through the neighbourhood can also make for an exciting outing. The more exercise your pet gets the happier and more relaxed they will be.
8. Hire a pet sitter
A professional dog walker or pet sitter can reduce your stress and give you precious time back during a hectic period. Your neighbours will likely know a reputable and professional dog walker or a local teenager looking to make a few extra bucks.
9. Use pet daycare services
It may be an expensive option but keeping your pet at a daycare will eliminate their risk of getting hurt or distressed from the construction work. You’ll also rest easy knowing your pet is being cared for and getting the attention they need. If regular daycare is not within your budget, consider using it during only the most disruptive phases of your renovation, such as jack hammering, or nailing drywall.
10. Try stress relieving products
Construction can wreak havoc on your pet’s mental and emotional well-being. The good news is there are many products available to help reduce their pets’ anxiety. Visit your local pet retailer to find everything from stress-relieving chews that will calm an anxious dog, to toys and pet clothing specifically designed to calm fearful, over excited pets.
11. Spoil your pet with new toys and treats
Buy a stash of new toys and treats to entertain and distract your pet. The novelty of a new toy or snack may help keep their attention focused on something positive and reduce stress.
12. Beware of toxins and other dangers
Wet paint, solvents, and power cords can be fatal to your pet, and your pet’s small lung capacity will make them vulnerable to fumes and odours. Confirm with your contractor that the products being used during your renovation are pet safe and will be stored safely. At the end of the workday, sweep through the house and look for any construction debris that could cause harm to your pet.
Renovations can be a very stressful time for your pets. By following these tips both you and your pet will soon get through it and be able to enjoy your newly renovated home.
Some conditions, exclusions and limitations may apply. The conditions of the coverages described are set out in the insurance policy, which always prevails.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.