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Pet-friendly home design ideas

Make your home renovation more pet-friendly

by Jami Barnett, Ph.D. ConsumerAffairs Research Team
Dog looking at man drilling

Introduction

Pets are often considered part of the family, so it isn’t surprising that many pet owners consider their pets’ needs when renovating their home. A study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that a little more than half of homeowners surveyed completed a dog-related home renovation project. These included building a fence, adding a dog door or installing more durable flooring.

While fences and doggie doors might be the most common pet-related home renovations, there are a lot of other pet-conscious renovation ideas out there. Thinking about your furry family members when you’re remodeling or landscaping can create spaces your pet will love.

Check out these ideas for making your house more pet-friendly when you remodel.

Dog and cat eating food

Kitchen

When you think about kitchen design you probably think about paint color, counter tops, cabinets and appliances, but you can add several pet-friendly kitchen features too. Special storage, built-in pet gates and feeding stations ensure you have a kitchen that looks great and makes it easy to accommodate your pets.

  • Feeding area: A built-in area for pet bowls helps keep your kitchen looking neat and tidy. As a bonus, this option prevents you from tripping over bowls and spilling food everywhere. You can also install a faucet near the ground in that area to make it easy to refill water bowls.

  • Storage: Dog and cat food bags probably don’t match your kitchen decor. If you’re installing new kitchen cabinets, think about putting a deep drawer near the pet bowls to use for pet food storage.

  • Gates: Sometimes, you just don’t want your pets in the kitchen. Lots of pet owners use baby gates to keep their dogs out of places they’re not supposed to be. Consider installing a swinging gate or half door. These can keep pets out of the kitchen when you’re cooking without making you feel shut off from the rest of the house.

Boy putting bubbles on dog in bathroom

Bathroom

A lot of people put dog washing areas or kitty litter boxes in their mudroom. If you don’t have the luxury of a mudroom or you’re already planning a bathroom remodel, you can install these features in your new bathroom.

  • Bathing station: Replace your old tub/shower combo with a walk-in shower to make it easier to get a larger dog in and out. Or, consider an open-concept shower without doors to give you plenty of room to wash your dog. You can also install a handheld showerhead closer to the ground. This will make bathing your dog easier when you need to rinse muddy paws. You might also want to put in a large drain so it won’t get clogged with pet hair.

  • Kitty litter box area: The bathroom is a great place to keep your cat’s litter box, but it will still be unsightly. If you’re replacing your cabinets, you can leave a nook to slide the box in. You can also design cabinets with a large drawer for storing kitty litter near that area.

Puppy playing in yard

Landscape

A fence is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about making your yard pet-friendly. But there are several other outdoor options that can make the space an entertaining and safe playground for your pet. If you’re planning to landscape your yard, think about adding these features.

  • Ramp: Older dogs often have trouble going up and down stairs. Consider adding a ramp to decks and porches so older pets don’t have to use the stairs. Ramps can also reduce joint damage and prevent injuries in younger dogs, especially those prone to back problems like dachshunds and basset hounds.

  • Enclosed patio: If you want your indoor cat to be able to catch some rays, enclose your patio or deck with outdoor fencing. You can even add climbing posts and perches so your cat gets some extra exercise.

  • Fence window: Privacy fences are great for, well, privacy, but they keep your dog from seeing anything outside your backyard. If you’re putting up a new privacy fence, consider adding some cutouts at your dog’s eye level to create a window for them. You can use plexiglass or chain link to create the windows while still keeping your pooch contained.

Dalmatian puppy at the vet

Safety tips

Remodeling is a wonderful chance to make your house more pet-friendly, but it can also be dangerous for your animals. Keep these safety tips in mind during any home renovation.

  • Visit the vet: If you’re going to have a contractor coming in and out of your house, consider getting your pet microchipped just in case they get out. If your pet suffers from anxiety or is really sensitive to changes, ask your vet about a sedative to help calm their nerves.

  • Ventilate the area: Remember, if you need to wear a mask to do the work, your pet needs breathing protection too. Take items outside to paint them when you can. This will reduce the fumes in your house. When you do have to use paint or other chemicals inside, open windows to keep the area well ventilated.

  • Keep fur clean: Use animal cleansing wipes on your pet at the end of each construction day to keep your pet’s fur free of dust particles and residue that might cause an allergic reaction.

  • Pick up all supplies: Make sure to check the area you’re remodeling at the end of every day and pick up all construction supplies. Don’t forget about extension cords and power tools that your pet could damage.

Dog and cat laying together

More information

If you’re ready to plan your renovation with the help of a professional, check out reviews for Bathroom Remodeling Companies, Kitchen Remodeling Companies and Lawn Care Companies.

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by Jami Barnett, Ph.D. ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Jami Barnett, Ph.D., is an experienced researcher, and she believes consumers have a right to clear and honest information about products. In her role at ConsumerAffairs, she thoroughly researches products and companies by interviewing experts, reviewing research studies, reading governmental regulations and investigating customer service responses. Her work gives consumers the information they need to make smart purchasing decisions.