The United States has the highest population of cats and dogs in the world – 74,059,000 and 69,929,000 respectively. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of American households own a pet, which is equal to 84.6 million homes. The national average number of dogs owned per family is 1.6, and for cats – 2.1. The upward trend over the last couple of decades makes sense. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that having a pet can lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by 33%. Both CDC and NIH found that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which minimize the risk of a heart attack. Pets motivate us to exercise more, promote social interactions, and improve our emotional heath. So, today we will discuss some of the tips and hacks when remodeling with pets. We primarily focus on dogs and cats in this article as these are the two most popular (and often times most demanding) indoor pets.
Note: Irrespective of how minor the renovation project is, it is always best to make temporary living arrangements for your pet outside the house both for your pet’s safety and that of a construction crew.
There are three main factors to consider when picking a flooring solution: Is it damage-resistant? How much maintenance does it require? And, how comfortable will it be for your pet? It is difficult to find a solution that will accommodate all three needs, so you will be looking for a balance.
Vinyl flooring is generally considered to be one of the most pet-friendly floors. It is not as hard as some other types of floors, and is durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. Linoleum is another great option for pet owners. It is eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and antibacterial. However, it is prone to fading, which is why it is recommended to wax and polish linoleum floors a couple of times a year to make the most of them. Bamboo flooring is also a popular choice. It is highly resistant to wear and tear, is stain-resistant and eco-friendly. However, it is one of the pricier options. Hardwood floors are not recommended for pet owners, however, if you absolutely must have hardwood floors, make sure to install the ones with the toughest finish. If you are installing carpets – another type of flooring that’s generally not recommended for pet owners – try to limit them to low-activity areas and look for the ones without loops as your cat’s or dog’s nails will keep getting caught in them.
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There are a lot of “things” associated with keeping a pet – food, toys, carriers, leashes, cleaning supplies, etc. When remodeling with pets, you must account for their storage needs. Not only should you allocate a sufficient amount of space, but you need to pet-proof it. For example, dogs often lack self-control when it comes to food, so these items must be stored where your cuddly friend can’t access it. Here are a few other tips:
- Create easily accessible storage place by the entrance, where you can keep such items as leashes, bags, harnesses, etc.
- Allocate storage space for your pet’s toys, the same way you would do with kids. That way you can throw everything in it if you have people coming over.
- Make heavy containers easily movable. For example, store pet food in airtight containers on wheels, making them easy to move around when cleaning.
- Create a feeding station in low-traffic areas of the house. You don’t want to trip over your pet’s water bowl every time you enter the kitchen.
When remodeling with pets, there are a number of cleaning-related issues to consider:
- If you live in a house, is it possible to create a separate shower station for your pet in the garage?
- Is there a dedicated area for your pet’s grooming supplies?
- How easy is it to get your floors and furniture cleaned?
- What furniture is your pet allowed on?
Think of your daily routine with your pet from the moment you wake up. If you wash your pet’s paws every time it comes back from the outside, is there an easy way to minimize the amount of dirt getting dragged back into the house? If your pet is allowed on a couch, do you have a slip cover that makes hair removal easy? These are all the things you should think through and accommodate at the design stage of your renovation.
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Are there areas of your house you don’t want your pet to access? While a door and proper training will suffice in stoping your pet from entering a bedroom, separating a living room or a kitchen into two zones can be trickier. In this case you will benefit from installing gates. Think of electric fences if your house is not gated from all angles.
Dedicated Pet Space
Finally, when remodeling with pets, make sure they have an area they can call their own. It can be a bed, where your dog can sleep at night or a climbing tree for your cat – a pet becomes a member of a family and, as such, deserves to have space that only belongs to him. Make sure to think of these items when developing the design for your space so it incorporates seamlessly in the overall look and feel of a room.
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If you already have a pet when you are remodeling your house, you have a great advantage as you can design the space with your pet in mind. When well-planed and executed, it will make your life as a pet owner much easier, while your pet healthier and happier.