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The Dog Ate My Carpet

Oh no, the dog ate my carpet! You just got a new puppy, and she’s a handful. You have puppy pads everywhere, protecting floors and carpets, until she is leash trained.  Your furniture is taking a beating from those little teeth chewing on everything.  She jumps on the furniture, and knocks over some glassware left on the coffee table. 

And…even though you are crate training, and being diligent….those little teeth and paws have shredded the carpet.  And the baseboards.  And the doors.  And the door frames.

Oh, and she barks.  A lot.  

What kind of damage can your pet do to your rental home, and how can you protect yourself from costly repairs?  What can you do to prevent your pet from getting into trouble?

Pets can cause damage to furniture, walls, floors, carpets, doorways, and windows.  Many renters and homeowners insurance policies will cover some damages, but may exclude damage from scratching or biting.  It is important to check your policy to see what is covered.

Prevention is key to keeping pet related damage at a minimum.  This means having a pet who is well trained and supervised, as well as healthy and well groomed.  Cat owners may have difficulty training their pet at all!  However a cat is less likely to scratch furniture or a carpet if they have other items to scratch that they find preferable.  These include scratchpads made of heavily bound corrugated cardboard, scratching posts, and cat trees, which allow cats to sit up high, and usually have scratch areas.

Give dogs the benefit of leash training, and obedience training.  The last thing you want is for your pet to be considered a nuisance by your landlord or your neighbors.  If you are away from your home for long periods during the day, consider hiring a dog walker to come in and exercise the dog, and spend some time with your pet. 

Some rentals charge a pet deposit or additional pet rent.  If your dog eats the carpet, destroys the baseboards, or chews the walls, and the repair is not something you can take care of yourself, its good to know just what that rent covers and if the damage will be paid for from your deposit or additional rent. Find this out before the pet moves in.  

Your renter's insurance may cover injury to your pet and veterinary bills.  For example, if your dog or cat swallows something in your apartment, and needs medical care, your renters insurance may cover the cost of medical bills up to a certain amount.  Find out from your insurance agent if injuries to your pet are covered by your renters insurance. Depending on the type and age of the pet, some pet owners carry pet insurance for their pet’s medical needs. 

Don’t ever think that your pet would NEVER chew the rug, claw tears in the screen, or scratch gouges in the door.  There is often some damage from pets for most renters, and it can be repaired quickly and on your own.  Plan to prevent major damage, and to cover it should it occur.

By Robyn Smith

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