Wagging Tails and Fresh Paint Don’t Mix: How To Keep Fido Safe During Your Remodel

happy dog during home remodel

Pets and job sites are rarely compatible

As a contractor, we have never lost or injured a client’s pet and hopefully, we never will!

Let’s talk about dogs:

  • Like contractors, dogs love tools.  We’ve had a golden retriever eat a cell phone, run off with a hammer and energetically chew the handles of any tool he could reach
  • The same wonderful happy dog wagged his tail against a wall that had been freshly taped and mudded (that was a mess)
  • A recent client had an elderly black lab that would become anxious and stressed whenever he would hear the tone of a laser measure
  • Dogs (and most cats and people) are attracted to fresh paint, so a number of them have had highlights added to their coats as they rub against walls  and corners
  • I’ll never forget the long-haired little guy who ran the full length of a newly finished sidewalk

Let’s talk about Cats:

  • Contractors love outdoor cats because open doors are not an issue
  • Indoor cats can be tough.  Over the years, a few have made it out onto porches, down into crawl spaces and up into attics.  We even had one in a fireplace flue. Getting a timid cat out of any of these places is not easy
  • Friendly cats sneak up behind you, jump onto counters, walk through adhesives, rub themselves against freshly painted corners, scratch at fresh grout, walk on new finishes and lie on dusty subfloors

Let’s talk pets and contractors:

We love animals and we know that for most pet owners, they are important family members.  Planning for a pet’s care during a remodel is important. Why, you ask?

  • Workers will be in and out of your home moving materials, supplies, tools, trash and debris
  • Often they will be carrying heavy and bulky items and will not be able to see the area directly in front of them
  • The doors will be in use often and will need to be left open for certain periods of time

Here are the things that your contractor needs to know about your pets:

  • What pets do you have and what are their names?
  • Are your pets comfortable around strangers?
  • Are they allowed out of the house, and if not, how will they be secured?
  • Will they run if given the opportunity?  Will they come if they are called? (Hence, knowing their names!)
  • If they get out of the home, whom should your contractor call? While not our responsibility, we would want to help
  • If your pet has asthma,  anxiety, or any other medical condition, it may be important for your contractor to have that information

For The Best Interests of Your Pets

  • Doggy gates or freestanding enclosures are a good way to keep pets contained during a remodel
  • Create a safe room in a bedroom, mudroom or den that is not being remodeled, with easy access to toys, food, water etc.
  • A fenced-in backyard can provide a great safe space for your dog, weather permitting. If the construction crew has access to the yard, then keeping them on the appropriate length chain can be helpful
  • Ensure that your pets have current tags or microchips, in the unfortunate event that they do get out
  • Engage all of your family members in keeping an eye out for the safety and security of your pets
  • If your pet experiences serious stress during a remodel, caging your pet in a permanent space out of the construction zone can be useful, along with playing music or white noise to distract them
  • Day care may be an option for some, especially during painting or flooring or any toxic fume days

For the safety of your pets and your tradespeople, pets cannot be unsupervised in work areas. No one wants to see a pet injured, lost, or worse, and by working closely with your contractor, this is preventable.

Learn more about what it’s like to work with MSK Design Build.







Kat Mullen

Kat and her husband, Scott Westby, own and run MSK Design Build, an award-winning design-build firm located in the San Francisco East Bay. With over 10 years of experience in design-build construction for high-end remodels, Kat enjoys sharing her knowledge, experience and expertise. Kat's favorite part of the design build process is hearing her client's vision for their home and helping to make their dream into reality.