Pet Damage At Home: Removing Spot’s Spots

petdamageMi casa es su casa, I told the monster-pawed pup I brought home two years ago. That, my Marley-wannabe understood. But not this: In mi casa, 40-mph running leaps onto leather club chairs are not allowed.


Which leads me to the pet owner’s eternal challenge: How to repair the damage your four-footed gang inflicts on your sweet home? After much pondering, several pets and lots of expert advice, I offer these solutions to the 4 “Universal Pet-Owning Truths.”

1. Your furniture is not safe

Those claws are sharper than I thought—and my leather chair has the wounds to prove it.

I dashed off to pick up some Mend-It, only to learn it’s not the perfect solution. I couldn’t pull the ripped leather together tight enough to get an invisible—or even inconspicuous—seam. So I bought an affordable throw that’s the color of my chair and draped it over the damaged back, tucking it tightly between the back and the seat. Neat. Handsome. Not bad for a short-term fix.

Alternative: Professional leather repair à la Color Glo Quality Leather Restoration (847-719-2934). Owner Kathy Nelson will give you an estimate by phone, and the repair will be done in your home. The cost depends on the amount of damage and the kind and finish of the leather. A 4-inch gash in finished leather will cost $225 to $275.

2. Come critters, come odors

But we hear from Make It Better founder, Susan B. Noyes, that you can stop holding your nose. Gonzo Odor Eliminator’s little bags of lava rocks (roughly $11 at Linden True Value Hardware, 411 Linden St., Wilmette, 847-251-2841; Home Depot stores; or really get the stink out. Tuck the 2-pound bags of rocks under sofas, on shelves or wherever, and they’ll draw odors from a 600-square-foot area. How? The non-toxic minerals, according to Gonzo, “have a negative charge, allowing them to attract positively charged odors and trap them for good.”

And as if that’s not enough: After 8 months or so, the rocks can be taken out of their bag and placed outside in the sun for 6 hours. This will renew their odor-sucking powers.

3. Hall runners + running pets = flying carpets

Try DuraHold padding, says Sevak Alaverdyan, a sales associate at Oscar Isberian Rugs (1028 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-475-0000, 3330 Skokie Blvd., Highland Park, 847-266-1515). With felt on one side and the other side rubberized, this 1/4-inch-thick pad (about $1.50 per square foot) is the best thing for keeping carpets in place.

For lighter-weight rugs, try placing pieces of a strong double-stick tape between the pad and the rug, especially at the corners.

4. There will be accidents

Some things, I’ve learned, are a bit like Humpty Dumpty and can’t be made like new. Every expert I turned to says that if urine gets into carpet padding, it’s done for. But wait, I still have advice:

  • Make housetraining a priority.
  • Clean up wet accidents pronto (and pay attention to the padding).
  • Call a professional for stains.
  • Give up on a badly stained rug.

So why put yourself through this for a pet? Because my wild Bailey’s now lying here at my feet, sweet and calm as can be. If we can have hope for the Cubs each year, we can have hope that our pets won’t tear our homes apart—at least not beyond repair.

If you’re contemplating pet ownership, you can find North Shore shelters at

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