As a pet owner, you're probably well aware that your pets' presence will affect your carpet and the smells in your home. But there's another home system that your pets can affect: your plumbing. To prevent your furry friends from triggering extra calls to the plumber, follow these tips.

Keep baskets in your drains.

Whether you have a cat, dog, guinea pig, or other furry creature, you'll be amazed how far its hair spreads. If this hair ends up going down your drain, either in a wash bucket or when you give your pet a bath, it could cause clogs. A good way to prevent clogs is with a metal or plastic sink basket. This is a little device that fits in your drain. It's made from mesh, so it traps any hair and keeps it from going down the drain. Just make sure you empty the basket every few days so that water keeps flowing down easily.

Put mesh over your washer's drain pipe.

Whether your washer drains into a laundry tub or directly into a drain, make sure you put a mesh sleeve over the end of the washer drain pipe. Your pet's hair will end up in the washer whenever you wash his bedding -- or even your clothing after holding him. The mesh will trap the hair so it does not end up clogging your washer's drain pipe or leading to other washer malfunctions.

Put baking soda and vinegar down the drain regularly.

When you have pets, there's a lot more "yucky" stuff that gets rinsed down the drain, from urine to pet food remnants. You don't want these items to start emitting odors if they cling to the sides of your drain pipes. So, keep smells at bay by pouring about a cup each of baking soda and vinegar down the drain about once a week or every other week. The baking soda and vinegar will react to create a foam, which will loosen any grime and fight all sink odors -- including those brought on by pet-related things.

Keep the toilet seat down

Your dog would not be the first one to drop a toy in the toilet, causing a major overflow. Cats may even drop toys in toilets when trying to drink out of them or play in the water. Keep your toilet closed, and advise all of your family members to close the lid when they're done using it.

To learn more about protecting your plumbing from pets, speak with a plumber in your area, such as one from Silverdale Plumbing & Heating Inc. They can let you know what has worked well for other pet owners like you.