If you have a furry family member, odds are at some point they are going to do some damage to your area rugs. The most common damage comes from “accidents” or chewing and scratching that can wear a hole in the area rug or fringe. There are some preventative measures you can take to help avoid damage, some things you may be able to tackle yourself and be assured there are experts to help with deep cleaning or repairs if you need them.

Tips to keep your pet from damaging your area rugs

Chewing is normal for puppies during their teething stage and helps relieve some of the discomforts as baby teeth fall out, and permanent teeth come in. During this phase, it’s important to puppy-proof your home and remove anything dangerous or tempting. You may want to consider gates to block off some areas of your home or crate training when your dog is not supervised. Provide your puppy with plenty of acceptable chew toys and give them praise when they use them.

For older dogs, chewing could be a sign of an illness or merely a bad habit. A visit to the vet could rule out any medical reasons. If chewing has become a bad habit, there are a few steps you can take to retrain them. When you catch your dog chewing on something inappropriate, remove that object or your dog from the situation and give them something appropriate to chew on, along with lots of praise. Making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise is another excellent way to keep them out of trouble, sometimes they chew out of boredom.

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons – shedding outer layers of their claws, stretching, marking their scent, and exercising the muscles in their paws. While you may not be able to prevent them from scratching completely, there are some steps you can take to redirect their behavior to something more appropriate. You can try to deter them with products like Sticky Paws which doesn’t feel good on their sensitive paws. Providing a scratching post or board in a place close to where they like to scratch and move them to that whenever you catch them scratching your furniture or rugs. Lastly, keep your cat’s claws trimmed on a regular basis.

Accidents happen and what to do about them

If your pet has an “accident” or gets sick on your area rug, quick action is key! Carefully scrape up any solid matter using a blunt, rigid object like a spatula. For liquids, place several layers of white paper or terry cloth towels over the area and apply pressure to soak up the liquid. Repeat this process with new towels until the liquid is gone. Resist the urge to rub, as that may embed any remaining particles into the fibers of your rug. The next step is to apply cool water to the area to flush out any remaining material and blot again with clean towels until dry. Use extreme caution when using anything other than water, as some brand-name cleaning products contain bleaching agents that could permanently damage your rug. Prop up the affected area and allow both sides to air dry.

When to call in the experts

If you’ve tried to remove the pet stain yourself, but either the smell or stain is still noticeable, you may need to have your rug professionally cleaned. An experienced rug cleaner will have the knowledge about what type of cleaning method is appropriate for the kinds of fibers (wool, silk, synthetic) and construction (hand-made, machine-loomed, glued) to get your rug clean.  If you’ve never used a professional rug cleaner, look for a company with ARCS certified technicians.