Pet-friendly home design is on the rise

Is this home going to the dogs? On the contrary. Many homeowners are planning and designing their homes with their pets in mind to make sure that their home value isn’t impacted by the use and abuse by our furry friends. Good planning and design can also help cats and dogs stay healthy and safe.

Dog and Cat at Kitchen Table

“First, we humans need to plan ahead when building a new home,” said Danel Grimmett, DVM at Sunset Veterinary Clinic in Edmond, OK. “If we are partial to hairy dogs (like corgis) floors with smooth surfaces are nice to keep the cleaning simple and easy. A smooth surface flooring type with various rugs works well in our multiple dog home.”

Low maintenance is the key to pet-friendly interior design and flooring. Since accidents, mud and stains are inevitable, you’ll want something that is easy to clean. It’s not ideal to install wall-to-wall carpeting in a home with furry residents because carpets are a magnet for stains, animal hair, and pet odors. Low pile carpets like Berber and stain repellent carpets may be an option if carpet is still desired. Wood flooring and other smooth flooring that is not too slippery is the low maintenance option.

Slippery floors can be risky for older dogs

Older Couple with Pet DogHowever, smooth surfaces can pose a serious obstacle for geriatric pets.

“They can become fearful of slipping and falling,” Dr. Grimmett said. “On numerous occasions I have encountered an older dog who is losing weight. After questioning their owner we have discovered that the pet is frightened to cross the smooth surface across the kitchen or pantry where its’ food is kept.”

The journey to eat had become so risky that meals where being skipped in order to stay safe and secure. In these instances, long rugs or “runners” placed in strategic places throughout the home can often solve the problem.

“I tell my clients to get down on their pets level and make certain they have a path from their bed to their food and outdoors which will be easy for them to traverse without fear of slipping,” she added.

A window to the world for indoor cats

Kitten on window sillWhen considering a home with indoor only cats, it is wise to consider environmental enrichment, Dr. Grimmett advised. Animals will appreciate architectural features such as bay windows or exposed beams (to balance on) more than you may ever know.

“Cats are predatory animals and being kept inside may keep them ‘safe’ from the world beyond their front door but it also tends to increase their stress level,” she said.

This stress can lead to undesirable behavior such as urine marking, destroying furniture and defecating outside their litter box, the Edmond vet said.

“We can help reduce their stress by allowing them access to shelves, furniture from which they can set above their territory and observe,” she said. “In addition, it is often helpful to have large windows which they can view the outside world. Circulating water bowls which keep their water flowing will encourage them to drink while also relieving stress.”

Create a pet and people friendly outdoor oasis

Pug in costumeFor dog or cat owners, a grassy lawn will help enrich your pets’ lives. Trees provide shade and interest – for both pets and people.
“Please keep in mind that certain substances used to fertilize lawns or control insects/parasites can be harmful to your furry friend,” Dr. Grimmett said. “Always check with your veterinarian before applying any chemicals to your lawn.”

Trees, shrubs and flowers can be very esthetically pleasing to humans and animals alike but many plants can be potentially toxic to domestic animals.

The list of toxic plants is long and extensive with many being prevalent in Oklahoma. For example, acorns from Oak trees can be toxic to dogs who might like to eat them. Daylilies and Easter Lilies are extremely toxic to cats causing rapid kidney failure if ingested. In fact merely rubbing against a Daylily and then ingesting the pollen when grooming can be potentially fatal, Dr. Grimmett said.

Dr. Grimmett recommends that pet owners should discuss concerns about their pet’s environment with their local vet. In addition, at Home Creations, our homeowners can choose from a variety of finishing choices which allows for plenty of pet-friendly interior and exterior design choices.