Pets and carpets can peacefully coexist in a house. The combination of pets and fine floor coverings, however, presents certain management challenges. Judicious choice of rugs and/or carpeting, along with some rudimentary knowledge of techniques for emergency cleaning and care, should allow considerable enjoyment of canines, cats, canaries and carpets.
Here are some common pet questions (click for the answers)
How do I clean an animal stain?
First of all, treat the stain promptly. Start by sopping or blotting up any excess matter or moisture. Use only white towels as blotters. Blot until the cloth comes up dry. Mix one capful of pH-neutral hair shampoo or dishwashing liquid with 12 ounces of lukewarm tap water. For urine stains, substitute ammonia for the soap. Apply to the stain. Gently lather. Blot as above. Rinse repeatedly until suds are gone. Blot again. Prop up damp areas to expose both sides for quick drying. For urine stains more than 2-3 days old, treat as above, without ammonia, adding white vinegar to the rinse water (six parts water to one part vinegar).
My puppy just chewed a corner of my rug. Can it be fixed?
Absolutely. Replacement fringe can be spliced into a damaged, handmade rug. A hole in the edge or the middle of an oriental rug can actually be rewoven by a skilled repair person. The only question that begs asking is whether the cost of the repair is justified by the value of the rug.
Can dog and cat claws hurt my rug?
Yes. If your cat uses the rug as a scratching post, unsightly damage is inevitable. A cat will exact the maximum toll on a hooked rug in which a continuous loop of yarn is tufted onto a canvas like back; a kneading feline can easily disengage these loops. Tabby can likewise harm a cut pile carpet. The only sure-fire way to prevent a feline from damaging your rug is to have the cat declawed. A dog's feet do not pose any particular threat to any kind of carpet unless they dig into it. Neither animals' regular walking habits should harm any rug of reasonable quality.
What if my dog has fleas?
Go to the nearest hardware store or veterinary clinic and purchase canister-type flying insect bombs. Move all furniture off rugs and/or carpeting, but keep the furniture in the room to maximize the bomb's effectiveness on all potentially infected textile surfaces. Cover all wood, leather, etc. After the treatment has been completed and it is safe to enter (check the product label), vacuum all rugs and furniture thoroughly.
To complete the job, turn the vacuum power on, spray an insecticide inside the nozzle or the base so the chemical disperses throughout the inside of the equipment. Immediately remove and dispose of the vacuum bag outside of the house.
I have pets, what type of rug should I choose?
Choose carefully. Pet hair, dander and accidents will, indeed, soil a rug. Whether hand or machine made, a rug that is complex in pattern will tend to hide any stains created by an animal. Unless you want to be a slave to cleaning, an open field ivory rug won't mix well with a black Labrador Retriever who likes to swim. If your pet has an accident, an area rug may be much easier to clean than non-removable wall-to-wall carpeting. Hooked or tufted rugs may be very vulnerable to the teeth of a new puppy or the claws of a cat. Carefully place rugs that may be of actual or sentimental value; do not mix antique carpets or your grandmother's own cherished hand-hooked rug with young animals. The rule of reason applies.
Can pet hair damage my rug?
In the long term, no. A combination of regular vacuuming and washing removes the dander, oil and hair. Frequent washing prevents soild from setting into stains.
If my pet has an accident, will the rug be ruined?
Not necessarily. In order to minimize the chances of damage, follow two simple rules. First, never feed an animal any food that contains dyes or food coloring. Be sure to read pet food labels (including those on chew bones and treats) carefully. Second, keep a small cleaning kit ready at all times, as time is of the essence in treating any animal accident. The kit should include dishwashing liquid or pH-neutral shampoo, ammonia, white vinegar and plenty of clean white rags or towels.