Pet Proofing Cost

The average cost of pet proofing is $250-$500.

In this guide

Indoors
General pet proofing indoors
By room
Outdoors
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQs

How much does it cost to pet proof a house?

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, with many people spending around $100 a year in damages done by their pets. 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.

While not every pet is going to require pet proofing, an elderly cat who does little but sleep is not going to do much damage to your home, and every situation is different, if  you have young or active pets in your home, it’s generally a good idea to pet proof the areas where the pets will be living, particularly if you aren’t able to watch them at all times. In many cases, pet proofing involves a combination of both DIY handiness and some professional help, depending on the size and type of animal, and the types of modifications you need to make to your home. A simple pet proofing project to protect your home from a puppy or kitten costs around $500 to protect your furnishings, keep your pets in the correct areas of the home, and enable them to get outdoors when needed. If you have a strong-willed pet or a geriatric pet who needs more help, you may find the costs go as high as $7,000 to help prevent further damage to your home.

Indoors

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 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.

General pet proofing indoors

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, 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, Top Dog Tips says that you can make most of the home cleaners from the household items that you probably already have.

In addition to protecting your furniture and flooring, you may want to block off areas of your home using either baby gates or specific pet gates until your pet is trained and well-behaved enough to be let into other rooms. Baby or pet gates cost around $45 for a permanent, walk through gate that installs on the walls of your home.

Finally, take the time to hide or remove any electrical cables, strings 1 from a window blind, or other dangerous items from your pet. Put a lid on your trash can or tuck it into a cabinet, and pick up any toys, shoes, or other items that are within pet reach and put them safely away in a closet or closed container.

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.

By room

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.

Laundry room

Store any detergents or chemicals out of pet reach. 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.

Bathroom

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, in particular for medium and large dogs.

Living room

In addition to covering and protecting your furnishings and floors, make sure that all cables are either hidden or covered. Install child safety locks on any cabinets that may contain things you don’t want your pets to reach. Tie up any cords from Venetian window blinds, as these can pose a choking hazard to cats.

Kitchen

Install child safety locks on the cabinet doors to keep pets out of the cabinets and food. 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.

Bedroom

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, in particular for medium and large dogs.

Basement and garage

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.

Outdoors

Even if your pet only goes out to relieve themselves, you still need to make sure that the area is safe.

In general, this may mean fencing in your yard. A chainlink fence costs around $3,000 for 200 linear feet. You should also take the time to remove any potentially poisonous plants from yard, such as those listed by the ASPCA. If you have a pool, install a fence around this area as well for $1,120 including gate, and 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 may have access to. Installing a fence around it will keep 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.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • 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.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Young pets in particular have a tendency to get into things. If you have a puppy or kitten, pay close attention to things like cords, shoes, or other items left out where they could become a danger to your pet.
  • Investing in a crate or kennel to keep your young pet in when you’re not able to keep an eye on him is the best bet. Canine experts are particularly fond of the crating method, and the The Association of Professional Dog Trainers believe crating is a safe short-term and long-term tool for pet owners.
  • The holidays are a particularly dangerous time for pets. Take the time to pet proof during this time of the year by keeping ornaments, tinsel, and plants like mistletoe out of reach of your pets.
  • Many of this tips apply in particular to rabbits, who are known to like to chew on things such as electrical cords, even as they grow older.

FAQs

  • How do you puppy proof your home?

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 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.

  • How much does it cost a dog proof fence?

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.

  • How much does it cost a cat proof fence?

Repairing holes in a fence that a cat could slip through costs around $500. Alternatives may include installing a chainlink fence for around $3,000, as this may be harder for a cat to squeeze through, or installing an invisible fence for around $250.

  • How much does it cost a dog proof gate?

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.

  • What is crate training?

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.

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1 Strings: An inclined structure used to support the treads and risers in a staircase

Cost to pet proof a house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Burnside, KY
-49%
Champaign, IL
0%
Conyers, GA
+9%
Granger, IN
+6%
Greenleaf, WI
+2%
Harlingen, TX
-33%
Helena, MT
-18%
Houston, TX
+24%
Nahunta, GA
-42%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Port Saint Lucie, FL
-18%
Sanford, FL
-1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Tacoma, WA
-1%
Westlake, LA
0%

Labor cost in your zip code

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