British veterinarian surgeon, James Herriot, said it best regarding man’s relationship with animals:
"I wish people would realize that animals are totally dependent on us, helpless, like children, a trust that is put upon us.”
He was right. They are totally dependent on us and there is an immense trust that is put upon us to love and respect them as the wonderful companions they are.
In Los Angeles, people love their animals almost to a fault, carrying them in high fashion handbags in transit to the cute little dog bakery (or the local doggy day care.) South Bay residents might even catch a surfing bulldog catching some waves with his owner, or the neighbor walking her cat on a leash.
We love our pets because they love us … unconditionally.
The least we can do is give them a pet-friendly home to enjoy.
Here are a few ways to show your pets how much you love them with a pet-friendly home design:
Consider your pet’s basic needs first.
Pets need access to food, water, shelter, shade, daylight, securely fenced areas, and spaces to play. Thinking about how you will ensure all of these essential elements are laid out with help round out the design elements to include in the home.
Give them their space.
Designating a specific space for your furry companions is ideal for storage, cleaning, and promoting good habits for your pets. Although not common in the South Bay, consider using the mudroom for pet-related items like food, bowls, brushes, toys, leashes and anything else you (and your pet) will need.
The mudroom can also be home to pet-washing items like shampoo, flea medication, towels and a handy wash bucket. Built-in solutions within the mudroom, including pullout covered containers for dog food (or cat food) and built-in feeding bowls tie in the pet’s space well.
Dog owners: Do Fido a favor and throw in the doggie door!
Shed light on their 'window of opportunity.’
Indoor dogs and cats enjoy nothing more than to ponder the endless opportunities of nature before them. A dog may swoon over the mid-air Frisbee that the neighborhood kids whimsically toss, while the cat sees an unwittingly hyperactive Allen’s Hummingbird as a gastronomical treat.
Whether it is the mudroom or a corner in the living room, select a space with a large window and possibly create a ledge or window seat with stain-resistant fabric for your pet. The window seat could do double duty for extra storage or even a step ramp.
If your dog barks too often at people or things near the front door, consider views to the back yard where there is less activity to rile her up.
Choose paw-safe materials wisely.
Floors should consist of durable, hard-surface flooring to keep rooms safe from paw prints and the occasional (and inevitable) accidents. Laminate, concrete floors, stone and porcelain tile all work well.
Be sure to trim your pup’s nails regularly and protect high traffic areas with non-skid rugs if you opt for hardwood floors. Carpeting is tricky, but if it is the preferred choice, consider carpet squares that can easily be replaced. You can also find a pet-friendly, stain-resistant, low-pile variety carpet that will do the trick.
Furnishings that are easy to clean are a lifesaver. Look for sturdy synthetic fabrics, like Crypton, which are resistant to odor, and stains. You can also treat custom fabrics for stain-resistance. Investing in a waterproof cover for your mattress is a worthwhile investment.
If you have brand new wallpaper or grass cloth rooms, it is best to limit your pet’s access to these rooms. Things could get messy.
Also, consider using a semi-gloss paint or finish (or even tile) to make dirt and moisture clean up easier.
Your pets will love you even more when you give them a pet-friendly home design of their own!