Pet-friendly home renovations

Household 3 min read

There’s a lot to consider and plan for during a home renovation. This is true no matter the size of the house, the breadth of the renovation, or the number of people who live there. And if you want to include pet-friendly options in your home renovation, there’s a whole host of fun, new ideas to explore!

Here are some tips on materials and ideas for home renovations that are suited for both humans and their beloved pets.

Pet-friendly materials

Most renovations, big or small, include making choices on flooring and paint. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, but, if you’re keeping your furry friend’s best interests in mind, that will narrow your choices down a bit. There’s plenty to consider in terms of ease of use and safety for all family members.

When picking your flooring, look for options that are easy to clean and non-porous. Linoleum and tile floors are the easiest to clean, followed by hardwood floors. Concrete floors—if sealed properly to prevent staining—are another option. If you prefer carpet, make sure it’s a stain-resistant brand. And if you feel like spending the big bucks? Spring for radiant heat floors. As it turns out, they’re a hit with humans AND animals.

Traditional paints can be dangerous for pets, because they tend to contain hazardous chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, and solvents. These chemicals can off-gas toxins, leading to skin and eye irritation, dizziness, and sometimes even more severe symptoms. The risk isn’t limited to when the paint is wet, either, but is still a concern for animals who may inadvertently lick or eat the paint long after it has dried.

Therefore, it’s important to check the ingredients of paint (as well as varnishes, primers, and clear coats, too) before they’re used in your home. Before choosing a paint, ascertain that it’s water-based (as opposed to solvent-based), contains no heavy metals or creosote, and has little to no VOCs. On a practical level, consider darker colors which will help conceal dirt or a shade similar to that of your four-legged friend’s fur, which will make shedding less noticeable.

Pet-friendly living

If you’re planning a more involved renovation than just a new floor or coat of paint, you might want to go all in on the pet-friendly renovations.

Adding or renovating a mud room or laundry room? Consider cabinets that disguise a litter box and provide easy-to-use storage for pet food and supplies. Do you share your home with a canine who (more than) occasionally takes a roll in the mud? Add a wash station dedicated for their use, with a handheld showerhead and a drain specifically designed to prevent clogs from fur.

Are you tired of accidentally kicking a full bowl of water across the kitchen? Build a feeding trough into your kitchen cabinet renovation or add a drawer that pulls out to allow access to feeding bowls. You could even add a nook that has a dedicated water faucet to fill water bowls, while keeping them out of range of any errant feet.

Does your animal companion like a cozy spot to sleep? Craft a sleeping nook under the stairs, tuck one into your new recessed shelves, or build a platform bed for your nimble cat. Or perhaps a cushy window seat that includes built-in storage for their toys is the way to go. Anything which makes it easier to clean your house of pet-related clutter and mess will make it easier to share your home.

For entertainment’s sake, the sky is the limit when it comes to cat ramps and trees. Vantage points from a second story for curious dogs will delight your pooch. An enclosed sunroom will keep sun-seeking cats happy and comfortable within the confines of the house. And if inclement weather is a concern where you live, an expansive indoor exercise area could be beneficial to all.

There are a few options when it comes to safety additions as well. Low-profile stairs or ramps make it easier for elderly pets to move around safely. A soundproof area for times of loud noise (I’m looking at you, Fourth of July!) can do wonders to calm anxious pets. Retractable gates to limit access to certain areas could be beneficial, or possibly swinging doors that can be closed or half doors that still allow visibility.

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