Ways to Make Your Home Stylish and Dog-Friendly
How to Decorate a Dog-Friendly Home
You strive to make your home a warm and inviting place for everyone in the family. For many of us, that includes those of the wet-nosed, four-footed persuasion.
Dogs give us so much love and expect very little in return. Think about it: Most of your dog’s world revolves around you and the confines of your house and yard. As a responsible pet parent, you want to return the love and provide an environment that makes your pet happy. A dog-friendly home means comfort for them and you.
We'll show you how to create a wonderful and safe place for your fur baby without sacrificing your personal decorating style.
1. Use Dog-Proof Fabrics
Certain fabrics just don’t belong in a dog household. Velvet and chenille attract dog hair like a magnet. Even some cottons are no match for muddy paws.
- Furniture manufacturers have introduced new dog-friendly performance fabrics designed to resist stains, odors, and bacteria. However, if you want to keep your current sofa or chair, then purchase a ready-made slipcover. When Fido makes a mess, simply toss the cover into the washer.
- Microfiber is a tough synthetic that is perfect for pets. Spot cleaning is a breeze and it holds up to stronger upholstery cleaners. It takes a lot of wear and tear to fade or discolor.
- Another option is weathered leather. Wipe minor stains with a mild soap solution and give it a quick vacuum to pick up dog hair.
- Try an upholstery color that matches your dog’s hair. Let your dog be the color inspiration for your room. While it may sound crazy, you won’t be as obsessed to vacuum every day if the dog's hair blends with your furniture.
2. Install Durable, Dog-Friendly Flooring
If you have dogs and carpeted floors, you know this is not a happy combination. Dog hair and dander accumulate in the fibers and no matter how often you vacuum, you just can’t get it all out.
For this reason, non-carpeted surfaces are your best bet.
- Hardwood floors are gorgeous, but they may take a beating if you have large dogs. If you want the look of wood, choose a durable laminate or new generation of vinyl cork that gives you the look of wood that lasts for years. Both are easy to clean up and require no sealers.
- Other excellent non-porous flooring choices are ceramic tile and stained concrete. These tough-as-nail surfaces are beautiful, claw-proof and provide nice cool place for a dog nap during the summer. One word of caution: seal tile grout and stained concrete to prevent permanent stains.
3. Create a Dog Mudroom
Your house probably has a mudroom, so why not give your best pal a place to stop and clean up before tracking water and dirt into the house? Create a pet clean-up area in your existing mudroom or make space just inside the front or back door.
Tile the floor and lower portion of the walls to protect surfaces from splatters after a walk in the rain or snow. Include a bench with a stain-resistant fabric cushion. Shelves, wall hooks, and under-bench bins are perfect storage for leashes, treats, and towels.
4. Make a Feeding Station
Your dog probably eats in a high traffic area. Maybe it's time to rethink this arrangement and give your best friend a exclusive place to dine.
If you're a handy carpenter, build a dog feeding station that's integrated into your kitchen island. Include a built-in elevated holder for dog bowls to avoid spills. Raised bowls also prevent your dog from eating too fast and swallowing air. Construct a built-in storage system for food, treats, medicines, extra toys, etc.
For a simpler solution, find a quiet spot in the kitchen for an elevated feeder placed on a rubber mat. Above the feeding area install ready-made shelving or a cabinet to hold food and accessories.
4. Choose the Perfect Dog Bed
Deep down in their primordial DNA, dogs are den dwellers. They need to retreat when tired, anxious, or stressed. Dog beds provide a safe space and play a big role in your pet's health and comfort. Choose the best bed you can afford within your budget.
If your dog has house training issues consider purchasing an indoor crate. They offer your dog a quiet sanctuary away from the chaos of family life. Crates also work well to reduce separation anxiety symptoms.
5. Purchase Clean Toys and Chews
Your dog probably loves bones, rawhide sticks, and pig's ears. Just because they love them it doesn’t mean they're good for your dog or house. These messy chew treats leave stains on rugs and furniture and can also cause big digestive problems.
Purchase non-toxic chew toys for your dog made from rubber in fun shapes or woven tug-of-war ropes. Check out any pet store and you’ll find hundreds of safe and clean toys to choose from—even for the most aggressive chewers.
6. Create a Dog-Safe Environment
As you would create a child safe environment for an active toddler you should do the same for your dog. Do a walk through jotting down any potential dangers. Place protective covers on electrical cables and cords. Install childproof door locks on lower cabinets to keep your dog away from cleaning products and other toxic items.
If you've created a designated dog zone make sure it's dog proof. Remove small items that could become choking hazards. Use overhead lighting rather than table or floor lamps. They can easily be knocked over creating a fire hazard. Include a doggie cam to check up on your friend while you’re at work. In the case of senior pets install non-skid flooring and provide comfortable, accessible bedding.
Additional Dog Safety Tips for the Home
1. Keep toilet lids down to prevent them from drinking harmful chemicals.
2. Move houseplants out of reach and make sure they are not toxic to pets.
3. Place lotions, medicines and cosmetics in upper cabinets.
4. Block any tight spaces around furniture and appliances that could cause your dog to become trapped.
5. Store all foods inside cabinets or the refrigerator.
6. Put laundry and shoes in closets to keep your dog from choking.
7. Secure trashcan lids so your dog can't get into garbage.
What special accomodations do you have for your dog?
© 2012 Linda Chechar