By a guest writer
Remodeling your house can be a trying experience. And it can be especially problematic if you happen to be one of the more than 100 million people that the American Pet Products Association says owns cats or dogs in the United States. A contractor hired to remodel your kitchen, for instance, could accidentally leave a door open, allowing your pet to escape. Or a less-than-reputable exterminator could spray poisons that are toxic to your pet without informing you of the dangers.
Protecting Your Pets
- Before you hire any contractor to remodel or perform services on your home, inform them that you have pets and ask them if you will need to take any steps other than containing your pet. For instance, if a lawn service will be laying weed killer on your lawns, ask how long you should keep your dog or cat from walking on the grass.
- Crate or confine your pet. During a remodel or home improvement project, there will be a lot of strangers wandering around your property. Unusual noises or activity could confuse or upset your pets. According to This Old House, your pet could react to all of this strange activity in a number of ways, including running away.
- Only use reputable companies for pest extermination services. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out a bulletin alerting consumers to a growing danger of the misuse of bed bug pesticides. The CDC strongly recommends that you only hire a pest control expert to apply pesticides in your home. This is especially important if you have pets or children. So before hiring a pest control service, check to see if they use pesticides that will be safe for your pets.
- Have your pet microchipped or have it wear a GPS tracking collar. In the event that your pet does manage to run away, you will have a better chance of recovering it if it is wearing a GPS tracking device, such as those available through Sportdog or Tagg. These devices allow you to follow a signal to your pet’s location. If, on the other hand, your dog has been microchipped and is found, a veterinarian or animal control officer can scan it to get your family’s contact information.
Protecting Your Contractor
- Even the most mild-mannered dog could react to what seems like an invasion of his territory by biting a worker who tries to pet it. Unfortunately, dog bites can be very costly. According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than a third of all homeowner insurance claims, which totaled more than $478 million, were related to dog bites. If you are keeping your dog confined to a room in your house, place a sign on the door, preferably in Spanish and English, warning that your pet is confined in that area.
- Consider having your pet stay with a family member during the renovation. Even if you confine your pet and warn your contractor about its presence, there is always a chance that a subcontractor or a day laborer who is not aware of your pet will accidentally stumble upon it, which could lead to an injury.