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September 15, 2015

A Guide to Pet-Friendly Furniture

  “I always wanted a white couch. I got you instead.” -My Mom For the first time in my adult life, I live in a place I actually care about. It’s not the corner of my brother’s place, it’s not a beat up, cramped rental, it’s my

“I always wanted a white couch. I got you instead.”

-My Mom

For the first time in my adult life, I live in a place I actually care about. It’s not the corner of my brother’s place, it’s not a beat up, cramped rental, it’s my apartment!

The first thing I did when we moved to our new spot was throw out our futon. (Full disclosure: I wanted to burn it in a bonfire in the middle of Michigan Avenue while I cackled in delight, but Emily dissuaded me)

Over the past few weeks Emily and I have sat on the floor of our empty apartment and planned what furniture to buy. While we did that, the dogs did things like this on the only couch we own.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, puppy, cute, couch, sleep

I’m not sure how this is comfortable, but it does illustrate my mom’s point

Emily and I agreed we needed to plan our furniture with the pups in mind.

Because we knew when we got a bench…

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, puppy, cute, couch, sleep

The pups would want to sleep on that bench

And we knew when we got a chair

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, puppy, cute, couch, sleep

The pups would want to sleep in that chair

And we’d want them there with us!

We saw a lot of furniture we loved, but quickly realized it wouldn’t work with our dogs. Light color fabric stains, thick weaved fabric traps dog hair and many other types of fabric are difficult to clean.

Leather and microfibre are durable and easy to clean, but they’re also more expensive. That said, we knew we needed to invest in furniture we liked but which was also manageable with the pups.

With that in mind we focused our efforts on craigslist to find nicer leather furniture which was a year or two old so we didn’t feel bad about sharing it with the pups.

Because every time we got a new piece of furniture… 

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, puppy, cute, couch, sleep

The dogs were quite eager to share it with us

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, puppy, cute, couch, sleep

Or not share it with us

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, puppy, cute, couch, sleep

Really, Eko?

With our new furniture we’re also keeping blankets on top of the cushions to extend their life. When we have two-legged guests over we can then move the blankets, wipe the leather and have the place look sharp.

Like all things, buying furniture when you have pets is a compromise. We wanted nice furniture, but we also wanted furniture  the dogs could share with us while we read a book or enjoy a fire. I’d like to think we’ve done a pretty good job of meeting that goal so far.

There’s no right answer of course, but I’m interested to hear how other people balance their furniture decisions with pets. I’ve always cared about my pups, but now I care about my furniture too so I need all the help I can get. Thanks!

Comments for A Guide to Pet-Friendly Furniture

  1. Aaron and I have two sets of couches/love seats – one we’re currently using (microfiber), and one we have in storage (leather). The ones we’re currently using are great, but hair sticks to it like no other! The leather would be better in that regard, but then we worry about what kitty claws might do to it – or in your case, dog claws. On the other hand, my parents had a looser weave fabric couch that, despite how gentle Boomer was in getting on and off of it, was destroyed after a few years because of his claws.

  2. NM says:

    sounds like you have all the right perspectives in the correct order…we bought the furniture we liked and invested in some ..well lots of great blankets/covers. WE loved him so much he could do his version of the eko stretch whenever he wanted on top of the pretty comfy blankets we used as protectors. We had blankets/covers for summer and for cooler weather, and winter blizzard days.. We had a store’s worth…
    When guests came, down came the pretty blankets thrown on top of his dog bed in front of the fireplace. The dog bed was only used when company was over. And of course he was part of all the excitement going on in the room.
    Life could not get any grander !!!
    Have fun Will and Emily. These are the best days of your life….right now. Thank you for sharing the journey with us along the way. 😉

  3. Fun figuring out the right mix of practical and comfortable……we just accepted from the beginning that there may be a bit of furniture replacement along the way and after all these years (20) in this current house, we’re finally thinking of new furniture. Even without claws, chewing on corners, etc. things do begin to look worn. Sammy never has been a “destroyer” kind of cat thankfully but long claws sometimes get caught on threads and things begin to look “not so new”. You and Emily are just starting out – you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t but seems like knowing your dogs and finding the right middle ground is what you two are ALL about! Go for it……..

    Hugs, Pam (and Sammy the sofa thread puller)

  4. Victoria says:

    bought nice leather couches for many of the reasons you list – durable, pretty, don’t collect dog hair or stains – i put couch pet covers on them and blankets – and yep they remove easily and your couches look great when you remove them – also you don’t have to worry any when either dog is on them if you have them covered. I have 2 leather couches that have so far not been damaged at all by the dogs and i have had them for 4 years with 2 dogs who pretty much thing the couches are their dog beds and we humans should sit on the floor 🙂

  5. Well, Dakota is strange and is ALLOWED on the couches but he chooses not to sit or lay on them (I think they might be a teeny tiny bit high for him, but he DOES make it on there when I am eating popcorn lol)……but our cat, Cody is EVERYWHERE. We can’t get leather because Cody has his claws and leather is an instant cat attractor (for scratching). I have microfiber which I love. We have it scotch guarded, and like you, I have a cool cover that I received to review from Sure Fit (check out surefit.net) they have super nice covers that are machine washable, only cover a portion of the couch, are tasteful and well made, in neutral colors if you like (and other colors) and humans you are entertaining can sit on them too. I absolutely LOVE mine. Hoping you will check them out (and no I am not an affiliate for them), they just make a wonderful product.

  6. Mom is slowly switching us to all leather. The couch will be the next replacement. The problem with leather (as we discovered with the leather chair) is that when a dog has the ability to fly, like I do, the leather gets scratched when I skid to a landing. That apparently leads to “living in a pigpen.” Sounds good to me…..

    Love and licks,

  7. Kismet says:

    You mean you’d have guests over who aren’t dog people? Who’d want to know them?

  8. Someone told me that leather furniture was best for dog homes. I never believed it until we got dogs and dog friends. All of their furniture looks great – it has this distressed quality because of the dogs and now we’re thinking of replacing pieces with leather pieces (as they need to be replaced).

  9. raisingdaisy says:

    Our family room furniture came long before Daisy did (our last dog preferred the floor to soft furnishings, so we had no problem there), and even though Daisy doesn’t shed, we do have to consider her nails. Even after we groom her and file them smoother, there’s still a risk of catching the fabric. So we bought inexpensive microfiber blankets that we tuck tightly around the cushions and we have no problems. When dog friends come over, they understand completely and want her on the sofa with them; for other guests who don’t enjoy the company of a dog on the sofa, we just take the blankets off and Daisy sits with us. Easy peasy! 🙂

  10. Marcela says:

    Well, Cynthia and I bought furniture from Craigslist and I think that, at least for us, it worked quite well.

  11. Elyse says:

    You don’t want my advice on furniture. We have a white couch in our family room, where we spend all of our time. Even though we’ve never let our dog onto the couch, it is perpetually filthy. What was I thinking?

  12. Emmadog says:

    It’s easy at our house…no dogs on the furniture. We have trained Mom to sit and lay on the floor with us when it is snuggle time and it works great. Having a super shed dog like Katie on the furniture would be a fur nightmare, so the rule started and has kept going. We don’t mind at all since we have always had it this way, and Mom doesn’t mind the floor.

  13. Mindy Cromwell says:

    Just like you, we furniture shopped with our Hooligans in mind, luckily We found “faux” leather with a 10 year warranty for recovering (skidding claws)-hair and spills wipe right off, for one set and paid a wee bit extra for superdurable, hair resistant (it really is!) Fabric for another set and were very happy. Both were a little more, but with 4 fuzzies constantly shedding, cleaning, squishing and possessing it was totally worth it!

  14. DZ Dogs says:

    We have one dog friendly couch, they aren’t allowed on the microfiber one. The dog couch we all sit and can snuggle on for a movie and the dog free couch we leave for when our sensitive guests come over. 🙂 I’ve been wanted to upgrade though, keeping one couch nice and off limits is a lot of work, I just want to throw in the towel and make it all dog friendly.
    Sadly we can’t do leather (we have two cats too!) the kitties would ruin it with their claws. But the next couch will definitely be darker!
    In the mean time we use blankets for easy cleanup and hair removal.

  15. I’ll have to keep in mind while furniture shopping that some furniture have to be twice the size so the pups can squeeze on it with us. Don’t want to be kicked off our own couch. Hahahaha.

  16. Shana and Hobbes says:

    We have leather couches and recliner and I would never have anything else with dogs. All of them have blankets so Hobbes can snuggle under/between the layers. This summer though it has been so hot he actually wanted to lay on the cooler leather. I did find layering a sheet under the cushions helps catch the dog hair that inevitably gets under them. I found it was very difficult to get it off the fabric that is there, even using the vacuum or the sticky lint tape.

  17. Jesse says:

    This is something we didn’t put as much thought into when we bought our furniture. We also didn’t expect to get Oshie as quickly as we did. Definitely something we think about any time we buy items now.

  18. Max Davies and Kali says:

    It was really interesting to note the colour of the bench and chair matches the colour of the dogs. Was this intentional on your part or was it the result of psychic suggestions from Eko and Penny…

  19. Luckily neither Jack or Maggie get on the furniture – not because of any efforts of ours, they just don’t. Sally and Tino however both enjoyed their couch. I just tried to get upholstery that I could take off easily and through in the washer.

  20. Love the furniture. I have suede and it is covered all the time! It isn’t the best for when they chew on bones as it stains.

  21. Leather and dogs is just a practical (and coincidently quite beautiful) decision. Besides that any dog drool or eye snot are easy to wipe up. 😉

  22. I wanted leather, but with Marty, Ralphie and claws, I settled for microfiber. I use lots of blankets, coverlets on the furniture as best I can. I am stuck for color since the Mob range from white-gold-brown-black-grey so I picked dark brown for the wear and tear factor. I have been pleased so far and glad I got the large size for all of us to fit!

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