5 Ways to Make Your Home More Pet-Friendly

In many households, animals are more than just pets, they are much-loved members of the family.

According to statistics compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it is estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are kept as pets in the United States. Here at KB Home we realize that it can be challenging at times to cohabitate with our furriest family members, but with just a few accommodations it is possible do so harmoniously. Here are five tips on how to design a pet-friendly home.

1. Create a Dog (Mud) Room

There are few things more satisfying than witnessing the pure joy of a dog enjoying the great outdoors, rolling in the grass and the dirt. But with this satisfaction comes a price, and re-entering your home without creating a mess can be difficult.

Incorporating a “Dog Room” into your home can make a clean re-entry easier.  Existing laundry rooms or mud rooms can serve this purpose, ideally located near the back door or garage entry. Dog rooms can simply be a place to keep your dog supplies, leashes, etc. or can be outfitted with custom features such as a dog shower.  This laundry room and dog room combination models such a space, with a low semi-enclosed walk in shower area which is simultaneously accessible but small enough to keep an excited dog contained. It also incorporates a built-in dog bed.

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2. Choose pet-specific items that blend into your design theme

Many pet-specific products are unsightly, but they aren’t your only options.  With a little creativity, you can work these necessary items seamlessly into your décor. Cat litter boxes are a main offender, but a litter box cabinet hides it from view and can cut down on odor and mess.

This litter box cabinet doubles as a plant stand and a table to place toiletries.  There are also plenty of DIY tutorials on how to modify an existing piece of furniture to hide a litterbox, such as this cabinet.

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Built-in features will blend in even more! Dog crates can be big, bulky, and take up precious space, but this kitchen design incorporates a cozy dog crate into the construction of the kitchen island.  Not only does it provide a stylish, roomy, and space-efficient alternative to traditional dog crates, but Rover will love being in the center of all the action.

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3. Combat destructive cat behavior by accommodating their instincts

While most veterinarians agree that it is safer for a cat to be indoor-only, many indoor cats don’t get enough exercise and suffer from boredom. A bored cat often acts out and displays behavioral issues. Here again, simple tweaks to the design of your home can help ameliorate the problem. Make sure your cat has an easy lookout point to observe the outside world by placing a table, desk, cabinet, or dresser beneath the window.  Many cats will instinctively seek out higher ground, so you can encourage your cat to be more active by arranging your furniture in a way that gives them access to the taller pieces.

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Keep in mind that the height-accessible areas are not appropriate places to store or display breakable or heavy items, as cats can and will knock them over. Cat shelves are fun way to help your cat get up high!  While you can easily DIY some simple cat shelves and there are also several commercially available products on the market.

For those who want to completely blow the lid on the concept of elevated living space for your cat, take a look at this custom piece that can only be described as a vertical cat playground in a space that would otherwise go unused.

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Climbing isn’t the only instinctual behaviour that is important to the well-being of a cat.  Scratching maintains a cat’s claws but is loathed for the havoc it can wreak on your furniture. While regularly trimming a cat’s nails will reduce the amount of scratching a cat does, it will not eliminate it. Provide your cats with appropriate places to scratch, and keep in mind that you might need to try several different solutions before you find something your cat likes.  Place your approved cat scratching areas near the items you are looking to protect, such as your sofa .  Here’s a DIY scratching post sidetable tutorial that would fit the bill in a stylish manner.

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4. Choose pet-friendly materials 

Some of the most impactful decisions you will make when designing your pet-friendly home is your choice in flooring. Flooring represents a large investment in your home and choosing the wrong kind of flooring can be a costly mistake.  Wood floors are desirable and easy to clean, but are susceptible to staining in the event of a pet mess, while pet nails and claws can also dent and damage them. Ceramic tile or laminate floor is a logical choice in terms of durability, and also comes in wood-look design to offer the timeless look of wood floors but with increased durability and easy maintenance. For those who prefer the warmth of carpet underfoot, a darker or patterned carpet is preferable for hiding stains.  Choose a low-pile for easier cleaning and avoid continuous loop since claws or nails can snag on the loops and tear a whole run. Fortunately, the KB Home Design Studio carries the revolutionary carpet protection system Lifeguard by Shaw. This collection is treated to prevent moisture and odors; is easy to maintain; and has a fast drying time. A stress-free product for a busy pet-owner. Residential carpet tiles allow for a section to be easily pulled up and replaced should it be irreparably stained or damaged. Large area rugs can add a cozy touch to a hard floor without a commitment to caring for wall-to-wall carpet. Don’t forget to use the KB Home Design Studio as a resource: We love our pets as much as you do, and are ready with solutions that will work for both you and your furry friends.

When it comes to choosing fabrics for your home, many of the same principles apply.  Darker colors and patterns hide stains, but you may also want to take into consideration the color of your pet’s hair or fur.  Make sure your fabrics don’t snag easily, and keep in mind that some fabrics are easier to clean than others. For example, microfiber is easy to clean and considered to be a pet-friendly material, while tweed is a nightmare for trapping hair. Leather can be wiped down, but can also be punctured or damaged by claws and nails. You may want to consider using slipcovers for your furnishings and a duvet with a duvet cover for easier cleaning.

5. Promote the health and wellness of your pets within the home 

You want your furry friends to be comfortable in your home, and that means using products that won’t harm their health. Find out what plants are safe for animals before you begin landscaping; use eco-friendly products that are good for the environment and your pooches; make sure that there is plenty of space and light for your pets so they don’t feel cooped up in the house while you’re at the office; and pet-proof any dangerous areas to ensure that Fido doesn’t take a spill off the stairs.

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Millions of Americans share their homes with pets, and for most, it is truly a rewarding experience. The unconditional love and loyalty of an animal is well worth spending a little time and applying some creativity toward designing a pet-friendly home. For more fun and cool ideas to make your four-legged buddies happy, check out some ideas for inspiration here.