Adopting a dog means changes not only in your family, schedule and budget, but possibly even your current home. Sometimes our apartments or houses are simply not well-designed to accommodate a four-legged occupant, and you may need to make some changes so that everybody feels at home when a new furry pal arrives.
Making changes to your current household shouldn’t stop you from adopting a dog. If given the opportunity to make your home more dog-friendly, and doing it the safe way, you should take it as a chance not only to make everyone feel comfortable but also to finally fix those old cabinets or paint that wall you've been promising yourself for the last year. Below are a few suggestions you might find interesting when renovating your place with a new dog arrival in mind.
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Home Renovation Ideas for Dog Owners
Here are some ideas you can implement in your home as you renovate it:
Take care of the flooring.
If you’re going to get the chance to change your home’s flooring, choose an easy to clean, non-porous surface. There are several flooring options best for dogs. Concrete, tile, and hardwood floors tend to be great. Soft floors are more easily damaged by your dog’s paws and claws. Also consider heated floors for older dogs (or for when your dog grows older).
Customize your dog’s feeding area.
Having a specific feeding area for your Fido is a great comfort for both you and your pet. You won’t bother him while he’s eating and he won’t take space in your kitchen. It's also one of the best ways to keep everything much cleaner, and you can even build the feeding bowls in the floor to avoid spillage.
Create a mudroom for your dog.
Mudrooms are very useful in preventing any dirt from getting into your home. If you live in an area where your dog will constantly come home dirty, build a small room near your home’s entrance and you can use it to clean your dog’s paws after a walk. It also works great as a storage space for your dog’s leashes, paw washes and other doggy items.
Build a pet shower in the mud room.
A much more expensive renovation part, but if possible, install plumbing and a shower into the above mentioned dog mudroom. This will make cleaning your dog’s paws and body even easier after a walk, and you can also use it as a grooming station with an installed grooming table or bath for washing and grooming your dog.
Consider a kitchen cabinet for your dog’s food.
Dedicating a cabinet for your dog’s food is very comfortable for storing everything in one place and keeping your dog's food safe and away from your pooch. Also, your dog will learn more easily that he eats only when “his” cabinet is opened and he won’t bother you otherwise, or try to steal from “regular” cabinets.
Install pet doors (in doors or walls).
Pet doors are arguably most convenient when they slide on the walls. Remodel your home with pet doors in mind. This can be very costly, however, so if that's not an option, then try installing dog doors into your regular doors for better access still.
Take care of the counter-tops.
As with the best flooring for dogs, you can choose to update your counter-tops with your pet in mind. Pick a solid or seamless surface to avoid scratches. Granite, or plastic laminate are two good examples to start with.
Design a doggy toilet area.
If you have a small dog that tends to do his business indoors, don’t just put his toilet in the corridor or balcony – design a small place specifically for your dog’s toilet. This can be a separate room, or you can even use the above mentioned mudroom for this. It's particularly useful if you're adopting a young puppy who still needs housebreaking.
Create good vantage points for your Fido.
Dogs can get very bored when left home alone for too long. If your current setup doesn’t allow for a good viewing experience, make sure to give your dog the view he needs. They may not care about it as much as cats do, but dogs do love looking through windows.
Create a sound-proof space.
Just like us, dog’s also need a place for their own. Canines sleep a lot more than humans do, so give your pet a small part of the living room or any other room that is well isolated from outside noises where he will feel secure and can rest peacefully. This is especially great for older dogs that need more rest.
Easy stair access for older dogs.
Many dog breeds are prone to joint issues in their middle to older age. If you live above the first floor, or if your house has more than one floors, consider renovating the stairs as well – making the stairs lower will greatly help your old pooch with his joint problems.
Area for home exercise during the winter months.
The winter months can be a nightmare for both dogs and their owners as outside walks become harder and riskier, but exercise is still essential. A bigger and more open living room or hallway can leave enough space for some good indoor activities and playtime with your dog when the weather or temperature outside won't allow for it.
Safety Tips for Renovation Time
Renovating your home in a specific way to accommodate your newly adopted dog is a great idea, but there are also some important things you should keep in mind as you're doing it to avoid putting your dogs in danger, and there are many hazards lurking around when you're renovating a dog. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
Get your home inspected first.
Before you start doing anything, it’s always smart to get your home inspected for lead-based paint, mold, and asbestos insulation. These things are unpleasant for us as well, but they are even worse for dogs as they tend to inhale much more of them.
Potentially hazardous materials.
If professional workers are going to be in your home renovating it, you can’t trust them to mind your dog. You should always know what materials are used for renovating your house and what can potentially be inhaled, licked or ingested by your dog.
Try and work outside when you can.
A lot of things involving home renovation don’t need to be done indoors – cutting, spraying, or painting can happen outside of the house. Whether doing it yourself with a family or using professionals, encourage everybody to work outdoors as much as possible.
Supervise your pet.
Workers are unlikely to keep your dog’s well-being in mind. Always keep an eye on your pet and when you can’t supervise him, make sure to contain him in an enclosed space away from any dangers. For more extreme situations you can take your pooch to doggy daycare, to a family member or a friend.
Find a safe space for your pooch.
If there is a room in your home that won’t be subject to home renovation, consider moving your pet there entirely – take all of his food bowls, crates, pillows and toys there and isolate him from all that is happening as best as you can. Noise in particular can be scary to dogs.
Keep your dog’s schedule consistent.
Dogs are very dependent on their schedule and routine. An irregular feeding or walking schedule can be a great source of stress for your Fido, especially during the already stressful home renovation practices. Stick to your dog's routine as much as you can.
Visit your pet in his safe place often.
Isolating your dog doesn’t mean leaving him locked up for the entire day. When taking a short breaking from renovating your home, go pay your dog some attention every hour or so – a few ear scratches, some petting, and so on will do a great deal of good.
Be mindful of everything that’s happening.
Especially at the end of each day, check your home for potentially hazardous materials lying around and situations that could result in a disaster – nails, staples, toxic materials, open windows, etc. Missing something like that can prevent your home renovation from turning into a health issue.