Tips for Helping Dogs Cope with House Renovations

I've been meaning to write this post since September. As you may know already, we pulled-up all the carpeting in our home last summer and replaced it with engineered wood flooring. It took a while, but with all the muddy feet that come in and out this time of year I am so grateful we did!

I learned a few things about coping with renovations and dogs at the same time which I thought might interest you too.

1. Don't assume you know what's best. 
When we first started our renovations, we thought they poodles would be best in the office, on their beds and with their toys. They'd be fine there! Let the banging begin! Wrong. When we went to check on them, poor D'Art was shaking like a leaf. He was so scared. All that noise was unfamiliar and here we were, closing him in a room which we don't normally do. So, we tried something completely different. We let the poodles out of the office and allowed them into our space. As soon as D'Art could see what we were doing, he completely calmed down. His concerns disappeared! The noise wasn't what bothered him, it was having no understanding of where the noise came from that did.

Are you going to make more noise now?

2. Keep your area pet-safe. 
In our case, the biggest hazard were those pesky, sharp tack strips that hold down carpet. If all the tack strips and staples hadn't been removed from an area then we cordoned it off with a baby gate. The poodles weren't wearing the same PPE (personal protective equipment) that we were, so if they stepped on a tack it would have really hurt. Other sources of danger in renovation zone can include: glues, paint, leaning ladders and sharp tools.

3. Prevent dashing!
If you've read this post, then you'll know that we adopted Luna during our renovation project. For a while all she knew was the banging of hammers and the 'pchew' of the compressor-fueled staple gun. Luckily she wasn't that bothered by loud noises, but just in case we kept the front and back doors gated or closed. Even dogs you know well can act differently during a time of stress or transition, and you don't want to risk them dashing out the door in fear or anxiety.

Hammering in the transition strip

4. Consider what your dog thinks. 
I'm not suggesting you consult with your pup about paint colors, but keep in mind that the renovations may affect them too. Teddy and Luna weren't bothered at all by the new wood floors, but D'Art thought we had removed his cushy bed and left behind a slippery trap. For a while, all he'd do was walk briskly between dog beds and doormats. They acted like his little safety islands. To help him cope I put down extra door mats: one where he eats, one at the foot of his favorite chair, etc. As he got used to the new floors, I slowly transitioned them away, leaving just the ones at the door. By the time we got to that point, he was comfortable laying on the wood and getting back up again without assistance.

Bed island

Those are the tips I compiled from our flooring adventure. If you have any to share, I'd love to hear them!


  1. These are excellent points! Thank you so much!!! HUgs!

  2. A whole lot of wine because NO reno project goes exactly as you hoped and a good glass (or two) of wine helps take the edge a stressed out upright. LOL Seriously though, good list to keep in mind when trying to get paws through what can be a stressful time for them and us.

    1. Good point! "Tips To Help Humans Cope With House Renovations" deserves it's own post and in that you will most definitely find wine...and chocolate, lots of chocolate!

  3. We don't do many of our own renovations, other than mostly painting, so having contractors (strangers) in the house is a whole other level for Luke. We also learned that closing him in the bedroom with no idea what he was hearing was the worst thing to do. Now we use a gate on the bedroom so he's not as closed off, but we also let him out in the yard where he can see inside the house to see what's going on. He doesn't even bark at the strangers as long as they don't approach the door.


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