As an animal lover, you can’t wait to bring a puppy or kitten into your home. You look forward to cuddling with that adorable ball of?fur, and you envision the delighted look on your children’s faces when you step through the door with a new friend in hand.

However, you also worry about your new carpet. You love the way your flooring feels against your feet and the way it looks in your?home. You know that dogs and cats, both young and old, have a way of damaging the fibres and aging carpet beyond its years.

Fortunately, you can protect your carpet with the following methods.

1. Don’t Skip the Walks

No matter their size, dogs should go out to relieve themselves every 8 to 12 hours, or at least 2 to 3 times per day. Smaller breeds?and younger pups have smaller bladders, so they’ll need to go outside more frequently.

To ensure your pooch doesn’t defecate on the new carpet, establish a regular feeding and potty schedule. Give your dog his or her?meals at the same time every day, and then take your canine friend outside about 20 minutes after meals.

2. Create a “Buffer” Zone

If your dog or cat spends any time outdoors, he or she will likely track in a lot of dirt, debris and other particles that will lodge in your carpet. While you may be able to train your dog to wipe his or her feet when entering the house, you might have better success creating a “buffer” zone near the door.

Place a heavy-duty doormat capable of trapping water and dirt near the door. As your pet walks over the mat, the heavy fibres will help loosen and dislodge the dirt before it reaches your finer flooring.

If bad weather leaves the ground particularly muddy, keep some damp paper towels on hand to wipe those paws before they come?indoors.

3. Keep Nails Trim

Dogs and cats have long nails that will tear into your pile and pull it to shreds. To keep damage to a minimum, carefully trim your pet’s nails, or have a groomer or veterinarian do it for you.

If you have a breed that grows long fur between the foot pads, keep these areas trim as well. The extra hair traps dirt and dust, which will end up on your floor later.

4. Protect Against Insects

Fleas, beetles, moths and other insects love to hitch a ride on your pet’s soft fur. Once inside, these uninvited pests wreak havoc on?your carpet. After laying eggs, these bugs (and their soon-to-hatch offspring) will nibble away at your fibres and matting, leaving large holes.

To keep bugs at bay, have a pet-care professional treat your dogs and cats for fleas and other insects. If you’ve already spotted an infestation, hire a carpet cleaner to steam clean your flooring. This will kill and remove any insects hiding in your pile.

5. Bathe and Groom Regularly

Unless you have a completely hairless animal, your pet likely sheds as much as (if not more) than you do. You can keep fur and hair?from embedding in your fibres through frequent vacuuming. But you’ll also want to stop the shedding at its source.

Take your pet to a groomer every few months or so, and bathe your furry friend every few weeks. Aim to brush your dog or cat at least once daily.

Did Your Dog or Cat Make a Mess?

Although these techniques can help keep your carpet clean and pristine, remember that even the best trained animals can make a mess on occasion.

If your dog or cat relieved him or herself on the carpet, or if he or she stepped in tough-to-clean debris, talk to a professional carpet?cleaner to remove the stain and the odour.