Whether you live in a house or an apartment, if you have pets sharing your home, you may need to take steps to pet proof it. Pet proofing is the process of making your home safe both for and from your pets. Puppies and some older dogs have a tendency to chew, while cats like to scratch, and rabbits may chew through electrical cords and cables. By taking the steps to pet proof your home, you can not only help to eliminate these issues, but make your home safer for your family pet at the same time.
Achieving a dog proof home or a property that’s safe for any pets comes down to several factors. You must consider the type of pet, how many pets there are, and how much of the home needs to be safeguarded for the animals. The national average cost for pet proofing homes is $300 to $1,000. On average, homeowners pay around $600 to pet proof their homes with pet gates, furniture covers, and an invisible fence in the backyard. At the low end, pet gates to section off certain rooms and furniture protection may cost as little as $200. At the high end, it may cost up to $8,000 to protect the furniture and install pet-friendly flooring.
|Cost to Pet Proof a House|
|National average cost||$600|
While not every pet is going to require pet proofing, it’s important to evaluate your home priorities and pet safety when bringing in a new furry friend or moving to a new home. Many pets could be part of your family, such as dogs, cats, bunnies, ferrets, and guinea pigs. They all require slightly different pet proofing solutions. An elderly cat who does little else but sleep will not do much damage to your home, but the same can’t be said for very young or active pets living with you. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to pet proof the areas where the pets will be, particularly if you aren’t able to watch them at all times.
|Animal||Average Pet Proofing Cost (Including Labor)|
Bunnies are in high demand thanks to their sweet, cuddly nature, but they require quite a bit of home maintenance. The main thing with bunnies is that they like to chew, and they also aren’t shy about leaving droppings around the house. This goes for baby bunnies and full-grown ones, so it’s a good plan to prioritize bunny proofing. These avid diggers and chewers target wires, but you can avoid that by picking up flex tubing or sturdy plastic sleeves to conceal the wires. These coverings usually cost between $5 and $15.
Baseboard protection should be another priority with bunnies, as they like to chew on flooring and the bottom of walls. While they can’t reach very high, whatever they can get their teeth on, they are likely to chew if you aren’t looking. Furring strips or plastic guards for your baseboards aren’t very expensive, averaging around $10 to $100 depending on the quality and quantity. You can use a puppy pen to block off the bunny’s play area, which is typically priced between $35 and $150. Finally, consider distracting them from chewing on household items or flooring with a seagrass mat for nibbling. Play balls made from oven grass work well too. Both are priced around $8 to $20. You can even grab them as a combo.
For these bunny proofing pieces, you can expect to pay between $58 and $285 to protect your home from their rigorous chewing.
Ferrets may not be as common, but these household pets are still loved by many dedicated owners who want a safe space for their pets. These domesticated mammals have a long, slinky body and tail and soft fur. They love to climb and hide around the house. That’s why one of the first steps of ferret proofing should be checking for any noticeable holes or cracks in the walls, floors, or ceilings. Ferrets are flexible and can crawl just about anywhere, so you want to minimize the risks of losing your pet within your own home.
Ferrets are also famous for crawling into furniture and appliances, so shutting doors and blocking off sections of the house are smart moves. Furniture slipcovers are about $50 to $75 and can lower the chances of ferrets getting stuck in cushions. Plastic covers for electrical cords and outlets are a good choice and cost $5 to $15. Most ferret owners invest in a ferret cage to keep their pets safe when they are out of the house or even in another room. These cages are spacious enough to keep ferrets comfortable, with room for toys so they can stay entertained and less likely to explore around the house. Costs for a ferret cage are usually between $100 and $400, depending on how fancy the cage is and its size.
Pigeons are a rather unusual pet, but some people keep these pets as members of their families. Similar recommendations apply for any type of household bird. A big, spacious cage helps stop these beautiful animals from accessing household items and areas that may get them into trouble. This cage should be stocked with toys, water, and food so that the bird doesn’t feel like it’s missing out on much or get the urge to fly around the house unannounced. You can find bird cages ranging in price from $100 to $500.
Other things to keep in mind for bird proofing your home is keeping aerosols such as hairspray and deodorant far away from your animal. These sprays can be toxic to birds and harm their delicate lungs, so always use aerosols in a different room. Candle wicks and scents can also cause issues for birds, so it’s best to avoid those. Make sure your bird is situated in a well-ventilated room and open the windows often for fresh air. Ceiling fans, electrical outlets, and cords are other things to watch. Make sure they are turned off or concealed when your bird is free.
Guinea pigs may be small, but they can make a big mess. These furry rodents make a wonderful addition to many families, nonetheless, but a few quick steps ensure a safer space for guinea pigs. Number one is a guinea pig cage. These animals appreciate a dedicated spot to sleep and eat. You can make them a little home. Guinea pig habitats can be made out of wood, wire, plastic, or a combination of different materials. The larger the cage, the more space your guinea pig has to roam. You can fill it with some chew toys and tunnels so they can have fun. These cages are usually $100 to $300, and any extra toys to distract the guinea pigs may cost another $25 to $75 for a total of $125 to $375 for guinea pig proofing.
Much like other household pets, guinea pigs are avid chewers. If they are left unattended in your home, they will likely find something to chew. They can’t reach very high, so as long as you keep cords and breakable items out of reach, that should help a lot. Household plants should also be placed on tables or shelves so guinea pigs can’t get into them.
Out of all the pet proofing projects, one of the biggest is puppy proofing. Small dogs can do a lot of damage to your house in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful, which is why taking a few steps to puppy proof a house is so worthwhile. The same is true even if you have an older dog, as they can still be super curious and like to get into things around the house.
Puppy proofing your house starts by putting away any noticeable hazards that they could get into, whether it be photo albums under the coffee table or phone chargers hanging off the kitchen counter. Anything that dangles is a definite no. Puppy proofing an apartment or home should involve stowing any dangerous items, such as household cleaners or lithium batteries, well out of reach.
The next step to dog proofing a room is protecting the surfaces. You may want a pet furniture cover, which slides over the couch or chairs for around $50 to $100. A puppy pen is another go-to, as you can give your pooch a space to play without letting them roam free around the entire home. Puppy pens are around $35 to $150, while pet gates to section off certain rooms cost about $45 to $100 on average. Protective padding 1 to cover nice flooring is also a smart investment and usually costs between $20 and $60.
Adding up all these puppy proofing costs, plan to pay around $200 to $355 to protect your house and your canine companion.
Kitten proofing your home is similar to puppy proofing, as these growing cats love to get into things with their playful personalities. Even older cats can have a wild streak, so it’s best to take a few easy steps to keep them safe and content at home. Blind cords are a big tease for felines, so make sure those are tucked away or trimmed as necessary. Much like with dogs, you can’t trust cats around candles or breakables, so try and keep everything delicate or hazardous as high up or hidden as possible.
Other things to keep in mind with cat proofing include putting essential oils and potpourri where your cat can’t get into them, as these decor pieces could make them very sick. Electronics like home printers or paper shredders may also entice cats, so make sure you unplug them and keep the doors closed to home offices so your pets can’t get into trouble.
Cat proofing your home may also involve putting safety locks on certain cabinets to stop them from getting too curious. These are usually between $5 and $30. Some homeowners choose to get cord covers for $5 to $15 to keep cords out of sight and out of mind for cats. A cozy cat pen is another option, especially if you add some cat toys. This can be a nice spot for cats to lay and is typically between $45 and $100. Those with dogs and cats can use the same playpen if their animals get along. Cat climbing furniture is very popular with felines who spend hours running up and down their scratching posts and jungle gyms. These tend to be a bit more expensive, around $20 to $200. However, it may be well worth it to keep cats busy and focused on something other than making a big mess in the house.
Most cat owners can expect to pay anywhere from $345 to $755 to cat proof their home.
More and more people are beginning to keep their pets primarily indoors. While they may allow their pets out to play, their cats, dogs, and rabbits are more likely to be found indoors as part of the family than in years past. For that reason, you may want to go room by room through the house, and pet proof those areas your pet has access to, while blocking off those areas you don’t wish them to enter. Particularly for puppies, kittens, new pets, and geriatric pets, it’s usually recommended that the pet be kept to a small area of the home until they are trained or trustworthy enough to be let into the rest of the home. For that reason, you may find pet proofing a little easier than it may be to make the whole house safe.
Regardless of where your pet will be kept, there are some general guidelines you may want to follow to help pet proof your home. Begin by protecting your furniture. This is particularly helpful if you have a cat who likes to scratch, or a puppy who wants to chew.
Options for furniture protection include covering areas with a tacky substance, such as contact paper ($10 a roll) or double-sided pet tape ($5 a roll) to discourage the scratching or chewing, or spraying your furniture with a pet-safe substance that will taste or smell bad, such as Bitter Apple ($10 a bottle). For dogs or cats that like to lay on your furniture, you may want to protect it from hair and drool with a cover for about $100.
You can also purchase sonic devices, like a sonic repellent mat ($20), that emits a noise only pets can hear. Your pets won’t like the noise, so they stay off, but humans don’t hear the noise, so you won’t be bothered by it. This is a safe and humane way to train your pets to stay off furniture.
You may want to also invest in some alternatives for your pet to lay on or scratch, such as pet beds ($20-$120) or scratching posts ($30-$100). If your pet is not housebroken, installing pet proof carpet or pulling up old carpeting will help make it easier to keep things clean. House Pet carpet tiles by Flor ($14 per 20 inch square, or $1,037 for 200 square feet) make an attractive alternative to a wall to wall carpeting for houses with pets; if a carpet tile becomes soiled beyond cleaning or repair, it can be lifted and replaced. Otherwise, installing hardwood flooring ($2,300 for 250 square feet) or tile flooring ($3,000 for 250 square feet) can help to prevent smells or damage to carpeted areas.
For a cheaper DIY method, you can try an enzymatic cleaner to remove the urine smell and prevent re-soiling, like the one from Rocco & Roxie ($20). For pet owners on a budget, you can make most of the home cleaners from the household items that you probably already have. A pet proof rug is another good option to prevent pets from making a mess in the first place. Most urine proof area rugs cost between $20 and $200 depending on the size. A shaggy chenille microfiber rug can be used in the bathroom or kitchen to keep floors free of urine. Whether you’re training a puppy or your older dog is prone to accidents, laying down a soft, absorbent rug helps maintain a clean, comfortable environment.
Cords are appealing to animals. Their innate curiosity means they often want to investigate cords, start chewing, and cause damage within a few moments. That’s why pet proof cords are important. This goes for computer, TV, and appliance cords as well as cords on blinds and shades. If you see any cords around your house, consider buying a few plastic sleeves to keep them contained and out of sight. They only cost $5 to $15 each, so it’s a budget-friendly way to protect pets from the danger of cords. You don’t want them chewing up cords or getting them stuck around their necks.
If you don’t think cord covers are going to cut it, you may need to invest in a new TV unit or desk with hidden compartments for cords so that you can still have your technology out with less risk to your pet. This furniture can cost anywhere from $150 to $900, depending on the materials, brand, and size.
In addition to protecting your furniture and flooring, you may want to block off areas of your home using either baby gates or pet gates until your pet is trained and well-behaved enough to be let into other rooms. Some pets adjust to pet gates better than others. If you ensure the space you are keeping them in is safe and comfortable, it will be easier for them to use. If you’re concerned about your pet whining or scratching at their gate, give them lots of toys to play with and keep them distracted. A busy, entertained animal contained within a pet gate is less likely to cause damage to your home or chew up your belongings. Pet gates cost around $45 to $100 for a permanent, walk through gate that installs on the walls of your home. Also, keep in mind you can choose manual and self-closing options.
In addition to pet proof window coverings, you may want to think about actual pet proof windows too. You can put screens over your existing windows to stop pets from clawing, scratching, biting, and breaking through the screens and glass. The average price per pet proof window is $40 to $200. This purchase is especially popular for cat owners who have had to pry their feline out from between the screen and the glass a time or two.
Pets can be sneaky, especially when it comes to the trash. Often, they smell food and can’t resist the temptation to knock over the trash can and start digging, even if they know they will get in trouble. That’s why a pet proof trash can is a good choice for homeowners who don’t want to worry about their dog or cat making a dirty mess or coming into contact with any potential hazards in the trash.
These trash cans are typically more expensive than your everyday ones, but the $50 to $150 seems worth it to know dogs and cats will have a much harder time accessing the trash. These cans come with an interlocking system that requires two steps or movements to open, which pets typically can’t figure out. These trash cans work just fine for humans and deter pets from causing a scene in the kitchen.
There’s no telling what a dog may get into when they feel adventurous, and it’s safe to say most cats are intrigued by blinds. Whether you just have blinds on a few small windows or you have floor-to-ceiling window furnishings, pet proof blinds may be the better option for you. Pet-friendly blinds include cordless vertical blinds, wood blinds, and mini blinds. These materials are sturdy and may have tighter slats to make it more difficult for pets to access. They may cost between $45 and $500 depending on how many you need and which brand you select.
Security cameras have been popular with homeowners for decades, but now many people choose to get special surveillance systems for their pets. A pet security camera can be used to keep an eye on animals when you’re not at home, so you can make sure they aren’t causing trouble or acting nervous or sick. Simple security cameras monitor just one room, like a laundry room or living room where the pet normally hangs out. Other options monitor the whole house but cost more money. Some pet security cameras use modern technology to track pet movement and give them treats when you push the button on your phone app. These security cameras cost anywhere from $40 to $400, depending on the brand and the technology required.
A dog and cat proof screen door 2 is another consideration for indoor pet proofing. Pets have been known to scratch, chew, and even run right through screen doors. This can lead to steep repair bills or full replacements. Scratch shields are protective coverings usually made of plastic that can be placed over screen doors, or you can get a fully dog proof screen door. The price ranges around $40 to $300, depending on how large the door is and whether you choose a standard one or a door with different finishes and features.
Some indoor plants can also be toxic to pets. Thus, ensure that any plant life that may live in your home is up high enough that your pet cannot reach it, and of course research and be aware of the plants that are especially dangerous to pets. Some of the most common toxic plants found in a home include Philodendron, Pothos Ivy, Arrowhead Plant, Lilies, Caladium, and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. Pets may get sick from touching or eating leaves, coming into contact with plant juices or sap, or drinking out of the plant tray. They can also get sick from the soil, leaves, berries, blossoms, or roots.
Even if your pet only goes out to relieve themselves, you still need to make sure that the area is safe. It only takes a second for them to damage your house or yard, or even worse, get into something dangerous for their health. There are a few budget-friendly ways to pet proof your outdoor space to ensure every member of your family stays safe outside, including the furry ones! Here are a few of the common pet proofing solutions used by homeowners for their outdoor areas.
It’s no secret that dogs like a good drink, and it’s not unheard of for them to check out the outdoor tap to get some water. You don’t want them to drink so much water that they get sick or damage an outdoor faucet or hose system. That’s why a dog proof outdoor faucet cover is a solid choice to protect your dog and lower the risk of the faucet freezing over if temperatures take a sudden dip in the autumn or winter.
The good news about outdoor faucet covers is that they are very affordable, usually around $3 to $25, so it’s a quick way to stop your dog from getting too mischievous with the outdoor faucet.
A dog proof chain link fence costs around $3,000 for 200 linear feet. If you have a pool, you can install a mesh fence around this area for $2,000, including a gate, or $6,500 for a metal fence. Lock up any pool chemicals in a shed built for this purpose for around $2,745.
The same can be said for any ponds or standing water that your dog can access. Installing a dog and cat proof chain link fence around it keeps your pet out. Standing water is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that could make your pet very sick.
To help increase the safety of your yard for pets, you may also want to install a self-closing gate on your fence to avoid it being left open ($60-$100), or you may wish to install an invisible fence around your yard for around $250. The cost of an invisible fence for cats is the same as it is for dogs. Whatever animals you have in your family, you can pet proof your yard with a versatile solution that could last for years. Combined with a self-closing gate, there is a much lower chance of your pet getting out and going on an adventure far away from home.
One of the main responsibilities of owning a dog is letting them out and back in when nature calls. Bathroom duties can be a whole lot easier when you train your dog to use a dog door. They go in and out of a small opening in your door, so they don’t have to disturb you all the time. The cost of a dog door depends on whether you hire a company to customize and install one or whether you pick one out and install it yourself. The latter option is typically cheaper, costing around $100 to $300. A custom-made dog door may cost around $250 to $500.
You have to pay for the door itself and the time and labor to make the hole in the current door and install it. The main thing to remember when installing a dog door is to get one that’s big enough for your dog but not too big to make it easy for pests to come inside too. Plastic and aluminum are the most popular options for dog door materials, with metal being slightly more expensive but more long lasting in many cases.
You should also take the time to remove any potentially poisonous plants from the yard, such as those listed by the ASPCA. These hazardous plants include Sago Palm, Fern Palm, Aloe, Tulips, Cherry, and Foxglove. Onion, garlic, and tomato plants are also toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, among many other fruit and vegetable plants. When in doubt, it’s best to check with the ASPCA and consider installing pet-proof fencing around any garden plants or replacing them altogether with non-toxic alternatives. Budget at least $50 to $100 for outdoor pet fencing and another $40 to $200 to replace some of the toxic plants in your yard.
Sometimes deck railings 3 get overlooked when it comes to pet proofing, leaving animals at risk of slipping through and taking dangerous tumbles. They could also get stuck in the railings or cause damage to this expensive part of your home. That’s why dog proof deck railing can be a great addition to your backyard and outdoor space.
Safety and durability are the two top priorities for dog proof deck railing, as something with smooth edges goes a long way in preventing pet injuries. Vinyl and wood may not be the best choices as they can chip and break, while poor-quality paint on metal railings can also come off and cause hazards. One of your best bets for an ultra dog proof railing is powder-coated steel. It has a long lifespan thanks to impressive resistance to moisture and rust. Glass panels eliminate space for your dog to sneak out of and can also hold up against their weight. Vertical stainless steel cables are another option for dog proof deck railing. Depending on how big your deck is and how many materials you need, most of these high-quality dog proof railings will cost at least $150 to $400.
If you're giving your pet the run of the home, it’s a good idea to take some steps to make sure it’s safe, regardless of how well-behaved you think your pet is.
Store any detergents or chemicals out of your pet’s reach, especially for any curious cats in your family. Lint and laundry sheets are other risks, along with cleaning supplies you may keep in your laundry room. Always check inside the washer and dryer before operating them if you have a kitten in the house, as they may choose to climb in to explore or sleep. Shut the lids on washers and dryers whenever they are not in use. Look behind the laundry machines for anything that might be harmful to your cat, including exposed wires or tubing. Just to be safe, keep the laundry door shut so the cat can’t get in and explore.
Like the laundry room, all chemicals and soaps should be kept out of pet reach. If necessary, child locks ($10) on the bathroom cabinets can help keep things from curious pets. A self-closing toilet lid ($30) will help prevent your pets from drinking from the bowl.
If you plan to allow your pets on the bed, you can also try investing in a set of pet stairs ($27) if your bed is high off the ground. Jumping up and down from the bed can cause serious injury, and put additional strain on your pet’s joints 4, in particular for medium and large dogs.
In addition to covering and protecting your furnishings and floors, make sure that all cables are either hidden or covered. Mounting 5 technology on the wall helps. The more difficult it is for pets to access TVs and radios, the better. Install child safety locks on any cabinets that may contain things you don’t want your pets to reach. Remember to put remotes and other household items containing dangerous batteries. Tie up any cords from Venetian window blinds, as these can pose a choking hazard to dogs and cats alike.
If you have a fireplace in the living room, consider putting a pet gate around it to keep them from getting too close. Candles are another fire hazard, as pets can knock them over if they are low enough. Save candles for higher shelves and surfaces where they won’t be a problem. Finally, if you have young kids in the house, make sure their toys are tucked away before the dogs come into the living room to play. Many toys contain batteries and other small parts that could cause serious injury or even death if your dog ingests them. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember dogs can get into just about anything if it’s left partially open.
Install child safety locks on the cabinet doors to keep pets out of the cabinets and food. For a dog or cat proof kitchen, put a lid on the kitchen trash can or relocate it to beneath the sink. Do not leave any food out on the counters or table unsupervised. Install a gate at the kitchen entrance to keep pets out while cooking. Also, consider kitchen appliances and any exposed wires or tools that may pose a risk. The less your pets can get into, the better, especially when it comes to the kitchen.
Like in the living room, make sure your furnishings are protected if you allow your pets in the bedroom. Tie up cords from blinds, and keep electrical cords covered. Make sure any jewelry or other valuables are out of reach of your pets. Invest in a hanging shoe organizer ($15) to keep shoes off the ground and out of pets’ mouths. If you don’t wish to have the pets in your bedroom, install a gate at the door to keep them out. Keep any moth balls in a container where they cannot be reached by the pets, and ensure that your window screens are in good condition, so that your pets can’t escape through an open window.
If you plan to allow your pets on the bed, you can also try investing in a set of pet stairs ($27) if your bed is high off the ground. Jumping up and down from the bed can cause serious injury, and put additional strain on your pet’s joints 1, in particular for medium and large dogs.
Make sure any chemicals are kept locked up, including things like anti-freeze, which tastes sweet to animals. Keep all electrical tools locked up and out of reach, and keep cords covered. Clean the garage or basement frequently to discourage pests, which in turn could attract your pets. Bang on the hood of your car on cold days before starting it to dislodge a sleeping cat.
For homes with a backyard, a few simple steps help you dog proof the outdoor area and ensure your pooch has plenty of space to run and play while still staying safe. Do a walk-through of the backyard to see if there’s anything obvious your dog could get into, whether it be power tools or garden hoses. The cleaner the backyard can be, the better. Consider putting fencing around any plants or vegetables in the ground, or switch to hanging planters. If there’s a fence already, make sure there are no holes in the fencing. Check underneath the fence for holes where your pets could get out. If there isn’t anything marking the end of your yard and the start of your neighbor’s yard, consider a fencing solution for a more dog-proof property. You can always get a smaller dog enclosure with a gate to give them room to roam outside without too much freedom.
If you have a security system installed in your home, you may want to have the settings changed to ignore your pet when the system is armed. Most systems can be calibrated to ignore smaller animals and prevent the system from being triggered. These types of calibrations can usually be done as part of your yearly monitoring fee ($500).
If your pet is aging, you may wish to build or purchase ramps to assist them in getting around better. A movable ramp costs around $100 and can assist your pet in going up short flights of stairs.
Consider puppy proofing options both inside and outside to keep your dog safe at home. One of your priorities should be checking the house for any obvious hazards that could lead to damage or, even worse, a sick dog. Things like hanging wires or strings, household cleaners, and breakable decorations should be moved out of reach of your furry friend. Then you can look at easy pet proofing solutions such as furniture covers, pet tape, floor protectors, gates, and playpens.
If your house doesn’t currently have a fence and you don’t have the resources or desire to install one, there are still a few things you can do to keep your dog safe in the backyard. You can try a tie out or tether, which often sticks right in the ground, where you attach your dog via collar and leash. Two other options include buying a portable exercise enclosure or boundary training when you firmly teach your pet not to leave your yard.
Plan on confining your puppy to one room until it is trained. Install gates to the entrances, and remove anything from the room the puppy could chew on, including shoes, electrical cables, and decorative items. Put down puppy pads 2 to help protect your floor, and include lots of safe puppy toys for them to chew on. Crate training is one of the best ways to keep your puppy safe when you’re not able to watch him. Many professionals recommend choosing the metal crate with some extra room as the most versatile solution for households.
Repairing a fence to fix any holes or areas a dog could escape from costs around $500. If your dog escapes by jumping your fence, an invisible fence system could keep them contained, for a round $250.
Repairing holes in a fence that a cat could slip through costs around $500. Alternatives may include installing a chain link fence for around $3,000, as this may be harder for a cat to squeeze through, or installing an invisible fence for around $250.
Installing a gate that can be difficult for your dog to open, or that is self-closing costs between $60 and $100. There are more flexible types of pet gates that will fit better with home décor, and keep some pets out while allowing others to pass through. However, it must be taken into account that the most expensive pet gates aren’t necessarily the best fit for all households with pets.
Crate training is the process of habituating your dog to staying comfortably inside a crate just large enough for them to turn around in when you can’t supervise them. Crating your dog can help relieve anxiety when you are away, and can help make house training easier for young puppies, as they typically do not want to soil where they sleep. Dogs have an instinct to den, so they actually enjoy having a small space of their own when crate trained properly, and according to professional trainers, crates serve in more than one way, both short-term and long-term.