We wanted to write a blog and offer tips that celebrate some very important members of our family—our pets. My sister and her family just got their first dog—a sweet, handsome labradoodle named Hulen that they rescued from a shelter. Although Laura is still adjusting to muddy paw prints on her clean floors, she, her husband and her boys are thrilled to have Hulen join their family.
My dog, Winnie, has been with me for fifteen years—she’s lived in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles and vacationed with me everywhere from Nantucket to Napa. She’s such a special dog and I’m so fortunate to have had her by my side for such a long time…. We’ve all heard the expression home is where the heart is… well during the last fifteen years and over six different moves, my friends have often heard me say that home is where Winnie is…
Pets fill our houses with love and joy, and sometimes even protect our homes too. In Feng Shui, it’s said that a happy, healthy pet is good chi (positive energy). After all, what’s better than coming home and being greeted by a wagging tail or purrs? Our pets love us unconditionally, and in turn, it’s our job to give them a happy, loving home.
Tips to Make Your Home a Healthy, Happy Haven for Your Pet
1) Living in harmony. It’s important that you and everyone in your family, including your pet, live harmoniously. Now often what that means is personal to each family—for example, some families are okay with their pets being on the furniture, other families are not. You need to figure out what everyone’s comfortable with and then make a decision and stick to it. There’s nothing more confusing to an animal than being allowed on a sofa one day, then being scolded for getting on it the next. Once you make a rule everyone in your house is happy with, stick with it—no matter how cute those big puppy eyes staring at you are!
2) Pets like clean homes too. Think of all the time dogs and cats, especially cats, spend cleaning themselves! There’s no doubt that having a pet increases housework, they track mud in the house on their paws, they shed, they occasionally play rough and knock things over—of course the unconditional love and joy they provide is worth a little extra time cleaning. Get a great HEPA vacuum cleaner (the HEPA filter traps fine particles), lint brush and all natural carpet cleaner and stay on top of the mess by doing a thorough cleaning once a week. For stains, try mixing one-part white vinegar with two-parts water and blot the area. And best to treat the stain before it dries if you can! If you let your pet on the sofa, I suggest getting a slipcover that you can remove and wash easily. Also make sure you wash their dog beds regularly. Finally, on rainy days place a towel by the front door and give your pets a good rub down before letting them run through the house.
3) Use all natural lawn products. Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are all poisons designed to kill insects or plants—basically other living things. Therefore it’s common sense that they’re not good for pets or humans either. Just think, your pets will play in your yard and then not only lick their paws and ingest the pesticides, but also track the pesticides into your home and onto your floors where your children might play. To be safe, it’s best to switch to natural, organic lawn care products. To learn more read this article, An Unacceptable Risk – Lawn Pesticides.
Hulen hanging out on his organic dog bed…
4) A space of their own. Ideally, pets have a place of their own—like a corner of your living room, a dog bed, a chair, a window ledge—wherever it is, give them a comfy spot to hang out. Just like us, animals usually like to have their back to a solid wall and a view of the door, in other words, command position. They also often prefer a place in the sun. Animals have an instinct for picking the place in a room that has the best energy, so if you can, observe where they like to hang out and let them pick their own spot.
5) Go organic. If you’re as green as we are, you’ll be happy to know there are lots of healthy, organic options for your pet these days—from dog beds to flea control to pet food. Yes, even flea control! To learn more, check out this great article The Green Pet: Alternatives to Conventional Pesticides and Green Your Pet: The Organic Buyer’s Guide.
6) Not everyone will love your pet as much as you do. When someone is visiting your home, be respectful of guests’ feelings toward animals. When someone comes to the door, whether it’s a friend or repairman, I always ask if it’s okay if my dog comes to say hello. If I sense apprehension, then I usually keep my pup in another room until they leave.
Winnie at play…
7) Love and Attention. It goes without saying that pets need a lot of love. Be sure your pet is getting some quality time—whether it’s on a walk, lots of pets, playing ball, chasing sticks, or getting belly rubs. Also be sure to groom your pet and take him to the vet regularly. A happy pet is a significant part of a happy home!