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How to Make Your Home Dog-Friendly

Your dog is dreaming about a room of her own.

Your dog is dreaming about a room of her own.

Dog Decor Ideas

You strive to make your home a warm and inviting place for everyone in the family. For many of us, that includes wet-nosed, four-legged friends.

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.

Using durable fabric is necessary for your furry friend.

Using durable fabric is necessary for your furry friend.

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 kinds of cotton 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, here are some tips:

  • 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 tears to fade or discolor.
  • Weathered leather is a great option. 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 with vacuuming every day if the dog's hair blends with your furniture.
Choose wood laminate or vinyl cork over wood floors for sheer durability.

Choose wood laminate or vinyl cork over wood floors for sheer durability.

2. Install Durable 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.

Here are some flooring ideas:

  • 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 a nice cool place for a dog nap during the summer. One word of caution: seal tile grout and stained concrete to prevent permanent stains.
How about a mudroom for pets and people?

How about a mudroom for pets and people?

3. Build a 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 inside the front or back door.

Tile the floor and lower portion of the walls to protect surfaces from splatters after walking 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.

Design an integrated feeding station in the kitchen.

Design an integrated feeding station in the kitchen.

4. Design 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 an 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.

A selection of memory foam dog beds.

A selection of memory foam dog beds.

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.

Give your pup clean rubber toys as opposed to slimy rawhides.

Give your pup clean rubber toys as opposed to slimy rawhides.

5. Buy Clean Chew Toys

Your dog probably loves bones, rawhide sticks, and pig 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.

Treat your dog's space like you would your own child's.

Treat your dog's space like you would your own child's.

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 a table or floor lamp. 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

  • Keep toilet lids down to prevent them from drinking harmful chemicals.
  • Move houseplants out of reach and make sure they are not toxic to pets.
  • Place lotions, medicines, and cosmetics in upper cabinets.
  • Block any tight spaces around furniture and appliances that could cause your dog to become trapped.
  • Store all foods inside cabinets or the refrigerator.
  • Put laundry and shoes in closets to keep your dog from choking.
  • Secure trashcan lids so your dog can't get into the garbage.

© 2012 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 16, 2018:

Dan, good luck with your new furry family member! Glad you like these dog-friendly ideas. Hopefully you can incorporate a few into your home.

Dan on September 15, 2018:

These ideas are amazing for my recently adopted rescue pet. She absolutely loves her bed! I'm now working to make my home pet (and human) friendly. Thanks so much!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 11, 2013:

Dr. Mark, you're absolutely right. Dogs just love being part of the family proceedings. It's part of their "job" to survey all that goes on. Supo loves to sleep on the arms and back cushions of the sofa. That gives her the perfect vantage point to take in everything! We wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Have a great week! :)

Mark dos Anjos DVM from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 10, 2013:

Some cool ideas. My dog makes my life better so she deserves anything I do for her.

Oh, by the way, Supo looks like she wouldn´t give up that couch for the world! I think the sad part about many households nowadays is that they do not let the dog just hang out with the family. My Maltese (RIP) loved laying on the back of our leather couch, right in the middle of the traffic from the kids.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 23, 2012:

Leah, laminate flooring is the greatest for pet owners. Just go for a lighter color wood tone since your dog has light color fur. We made the mistake of doing an espresso color in our last house -- boy, we could really see the off-white dog hair! Good new is, running a dry Swiffer over the floor every other day kept it down to a minimum. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Leah Lefler from Western New York on October 23, 2012:

I hate the carpet in our house. We have a wonderful, beautiful, happy Golden Retriever... with very muddy paws. We're not in a position to replace the carpet at the moment, but the instant we have some extra cash- it is going toward laminate flooring!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 22, 2012:

Thanks Shelley! Thanks for dropping y my Hub. Happy you enjoyed it!

Shelley Watson on October 22, 2012:

Lovely pictures and wonderfully sensible information. Vote up, interesting and useful.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 20, 2012:

Teaches, I've never had a proper spot for doggie cleaning, It sure would come in handy after walking through the muck during or after a rain. A dog mudroom is definitely on my wishlist. I had so much fun picking the photos for this Hub. I just had to give my fur baby the top billing! :)

Dianna Mendez on October 19, 2012:

I do not presently have a dog, but when I do get another one I am considering a mud room. This is a great idea! When we had our collie we had mud and dirt all over our back entry way as he entered. This is a good solution to it. Love the dogs posted here, so sweet.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 19, 2012:

Thanks, Om! Since dogs are part of our families, I just thought it made sense to do a Hub about incorporating their needs into home design. I currently live in a dinky apartment, but when we have more room, I'll certainly designate up a "clean up area" just inside the front or back door. So glad you enjoyed this one! :)

Om Paramapoonya on October 19, 2012:

Very creative topic! Thanks for these nifty suggestions, Linda. I like the idea of a dog mudroom. Seriously, I wish I had read a useful article like this years ago when I had my first dog. I don't own a dog right now but would love to adopt one when we move into a new place.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 19, 2012:

I know, Russ, mine would just tear it up! :) Glad you enjoyed this canine-centric Hub!

Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on October 19, 2012:

I'd share this with my Shih-Tzu but she would just walk on it. Very useful advice for dog owners/lovers like us.