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Pet Owners’ Guide to Caring for Outdoor Furniture

July 6, 2023

Having a pet brings infinite joy to our lives, but it also comes with a unique set of challenges, when it comes to protecting our outdoor furniture.

Whether you have a mischievous puppy or a curious cat, their presence can lead to scratches, stains, and other forms of wear and tear on your outdoor furniture. With a little extra care,  your outdoor furniture will stay in top condition while still enjoying quality time with your four-legged family members.  

Here’s Outside Space’s Pet Owners’ Guide to Caring for Outdoor Furniture, which are our top tips on how to care for outdoor furniture when you have a pet.

Choose pet-friendly furniture:
When choosing outdoor furniture, look for materials that are pet-friendly, durable, and resistant to scratches and stains. Look for materials like aluminum or synthetic wicker that can withstand pet activity. Materials like wood are simply more prone to scratches and chewing.

Create a space dedicated to animals:
Designate specific areas for your pet to relax and play in your outdoor space. This can be achieved by providing a pet bed. By creating an enticing space for your pet, you can divert their attention away from your furniture. 

Regular cleaning:
Clean your outdoor furniture regularly to prevent dirt, fur, and dander from accumulating on it. I had one customer with a particularly oily cat that always sat in the same spot on her outdoor sofa!  Use a vacuum cleaner or a soft brush to remove any debris. For thorough cleaning, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use appropriate cleaning products that won’t harm the furniture. The better outdoor fabrics, like the ones we carry, can handle spot remover and bleach-based cleaners.

Use a protective cover:
Invest in a protective rain cover specifically designed for outdoor furniture. These covers provide an extra layer of protection from pet hair, scratches, and spills. When not in use, cover your furniture to protect it from external agents and discourage your pet from using it as a play area. One of our clients purchased our covers with their corner sofa to discourage their pet peacocks from roosting on it!

Train your animals:
Teaching your pet to respect boundaries is essential. Apply the same logic as you would for your indoor furniture and teach them not to jump or scratch furniture by providing replacement toys or scratch poles. Positive reinforcement techniques and consistent training will help establish good behavior around your outdoor furniture.

Provide shade and shelter:
Make sure your outdoor space has shaded areas or pet-friendly shelters so your pets can take shelter in hot or rainy weather. This will prevent them from taking shelter on your furniture, potentially causing damage.

Trim their nails:
Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed regularly is important. Sharp claws can easily scratch and damage the surface of your outdoor furniture. Consult your veterinarian or professional groomer to learn the proper technique for trimming your pet’s nails.

Apply protective coating:
Consider applying protective coatings or sealants to your furniture to add an extra layer of protection against scratches, stains and weather. Sunbrella produce a re-water proofing spray that should be applied every few years regardless of whether you are a pet owner or not.  Be sure to choose coatings that are safe for pets and the environment.

Monitor and control:
When we deliver outdoor furniture to a customer’s home,  the pets are often the first to try it out! While you may want to leave your pet outside, it’s essential to monitor their behavior from the get-go.  Inspect regularly for any signs of damage and take immediate action to prevent further damage. Habits die hard, so prevention is better than cure.

In summary, caring for your outdoor furniture takes a proactive approach and a little extra effort. By choosing pet-friendly materials, setting boundaries, and implementing regular cleaning and maintenance habits, you can enjoy the company of your furry friends without having to worry.

Kerry is the co-owner of OutsideSpace NZ, offering a range of contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design at an achievable price.