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How to Deal with Pet Damage to Couches

Mar 16, 2023

A close-up of a cat that has damaged the arm of the couch. It leaves the viewer looking for a solution to deal with pet damage on couches.

We love our furry friends! But unfortunately, sometimes our pets don’t understand that chewed-up couch legs and scratched-up cushions don't look great in our homes. This can make for a tricky time when bringing home a new piece of furniture or when training a new puppy or kitten. Damage can happen — and should be expected — until proper training takes hold. Fixing furniture damage can be overwhelming, but it might just be worth it save your couch. Read on as we address some various methods for dealing with pet damage to furniture. 

Let’s start by naming some of the types of damage pets can cause to your furniture: 

Pet-Related Furniture Issues 

1. Lots of fur 

Pets shed! It's inevitable — and it’s something that pet owners sign up for when they bring their new friends home. Still, it isn’t pleasant to be covered constantly in fur after sitting on your couch or to have to offer a lint roller to your guests after they visit.  

Depending on the fabric of your couch or chair, this problem could be solved quickly. With leather or faux-leather couches, a quick dust or vacuum will make any signs of fur disappear. However, fur definitely has a tendency to cling to more common couch fabrics. It’s important to check for fur on your couches and clean the fabric regularly. If left for too long, fur can become stuck and damage your cushions and pillows; when this happens, no amount of cleaning will be able to get it out. Building a consistent fur-removal routine can help you avoid this long-term damage. In this case, it might be time for a couch replacement. 

2. Teething/bite marks 

Chewing is a completely natural behavior, but it can leave unwanted marks on furniture. Some puppies might just need additional training to stop the behavior, but for some it can indicate a medical problem. Once you check with your vet to make sure your animal is OK, you can move on to fixing the damage. Some damage might be superficial; you can cover up smaller bite marks in wood with a wood stain marker that matches your stain. However, some damage might call for a full refinishing process, which can have a learning curve if you’ve never done it before. Finally, deep structural damage caused by teething on the couch legs or cushions is a key sign that it’s time for a new couch. 

3. Urine and other stains 

Un-housebroken dogs, sick pets, or new or senior cats who are struggling to find the litter box can cause your furniture to quickly become soiled. Without proper cleaning, pet soil can lead to odors and stains that can linger in the couch for a long time. This type of damage needs to be dealt with immediately, as putting it off will cause bacteria and odor to develop. The best way to clean a pet stain is to find a household cleaner specifically designed for pet waste. Other household cleaners may not work as well for this specific job — and they may not be safe for your pets. 

4. Scratches 

Although not always intentional, scratching from claws and toys can leave nasty marks on your furniture. On wooden furniture or chairs and couches with wooden legs, a wood finishing marker might help. To avoid any splintering or chipping the wood, it’s recommended that you sand it down slightly before applying the marker. Similarly, minor scratches on leather can be fixed with a leather-recoloring balm.  

A word of caution: The chemicals in these markers may be toxic to your pets, so make sure to keep your pet away from the touchups until the furniture has dried fully. If the scratches are prevalent even after these recommended fixes, it may be time to look for a new couch. 

5. Tracked-in dirt 

Outdoor pets don’t typically wipe their own feet as they enter the house. This can lead to dirt, mud, feces and other animal debris being dragged in. It’s important for health and sanitation reasons to clean up these messes so that those germs don’t stay in the house or end up leaving stains on the couch.  

The best thing to do is to clean your pet’s paws immediately before they go into the house. If your dog gets ahead of you, a pet-stain cleaner (as mentioned for urine and other odors) is the best method to get the stains out of your couch. You can also put an absorbent mat on the ground at the entrance to your home. 


When the Pet Damage Becomes Too Much 

There can come a point when the couch needs to be replaced because of the pet damage. When this time comes, you may run into some shopping issues. Maybe the stores near you don't have a selection you like, or maybe you can’t currently afford the couch you crave. If this is the case, Acima Leasing has your back! Acima Leasing allows you to get the stuff you want now by making manageable lease renewal payments. With Acima Leasing, you can relax and focus on finding the perfect sofa for your space without using credit*. 


Preventive Measures 

There are many ways to fix a mess after it has already happened, but there are some preventive measures you can take to avoid pet damage altogether. Let’s take a look at some of them: 

Consider pet-friendly fabrics 

As mentioned in the section about scratches, fabric, like leather, is prone to visible marks. And fur attaches to some fabrics more than others. When shopping for couches, a pet-friendly fabric will be your best choice to avoid constantly having to repair things. One recommendation is to find a couch with a woven fabric texture, which can help to disguise pet fur and stains when they do happen. Also, low-pile fabrics are best for preventing odors since there’s less material to trap odors as well. 

Offer alternatives 

Dogs and cats chew and scratch; it’s in their nature. But, it doesn’t mean your furniture has to suffer. Another great prevention method is to make sure there are plenty of alternatives for your furry friends to bite or scratch. Make sure cats have plenty of scratching posts, towers or pads around the furniture you want to protect. Likewise, providing dogs with a variety of chew toys can also help them get rid of the urge to take to the couch leg. 

Use deterrents 

Some pet stores have consumer-grade pet deterrents. These use certain smells or bitter tastes to signal to your pet that this is not something to be chewed on. To ensure the product won’t damage your furniture, test the product on a small, hidden spot. If all looks good, then apply the product to where your pet tends to bite or scratch. 

Maintain grooming 

Maintaining your pet's grooming will help to get rid of large amounts of fur or lessen the damage of claw marks on furniture. Brushing your pet regularly will help collect their dead, shedding fur and keep it from ending up all over the couch. Furthermore, clipping their nails can help lower the chances of deep, damaging scratches. An added bonus: Brushing and nail-trimming are also beneficial to your dog or cat's overall health. 

How Can Acima Leasing Help? 

Pet damage happens — but you shouldn't have to worry about affording a new couch when it does. If you're looking for ways to find the couch you need, Acima Leasing’s lease-to-own alternative to financing can help! With Acima Leasing, you can unlock your shopping power and bring home the ideal furniture for you and your furry friend, without using credit*. Just choose a store, apply, and shop.