How To Make Your Home More Dog Friendly

I know that I would never consider my house a home without the presence of a dog (or two…maybe even three some day!). A CNN poll states that over 43 million Americans are dog owners, thus it only makes sense that we consider our pooches when we are making design choices within our homes. Comfort, cleanliness and style are all considerations that we as pet owners need to consider when decorating your digs.

dog at home
Dog Owns Chair - Photo by mtstradling

Flooring: When you have dogs running through your house on a regular basis, the rule of flooring is the harder the better. Tile holds up amazingly well, but most people don’t want tile throughout their entire home. However if you do – this is an excellent choice! Tile is virtually scratch proof and it also provides a cool place for your dog to nap during hot weather. Carpeting is generally something you want to avoid. It harbors hair, bacteria and that lovely doggy smell. It can be a major contributor to human allergy issues within the home. Wood flooring is a good choice – the harder the wood the better:

HARD WOODS: (most durable) oak, cherry, maple, hickory, elm, balsa, mahogany, and sycamore
SOFT WOODS: (dent easily) birch, cedar, pine, redwood, fir, and larch

The key to keeping your wood floors in good condition is to keep your dogs nails trimmed on a regular basis. This will keep scratching to a minimum. Also discourage high impact play on wood floors. If that is impossible, think about laying down some heavily anchored throw rugs (you can toss these in the washer for easy cleaning).

A Note for Senior Dog Owners: As your pet ages they may have trouble with traction on slippery surfaces. Rubber runners can help greatly increase their confidence and comfort when moving around their home!

Couches and Chairs: Avoid white! If you have a dog in your home, patterns and colors are going to help hide stains and shedding. Leather (and faux leather) is a good choice because it is easily wiped clean of fur and does not absorb odors. However you have to be careful about punctures from dogs that like to try to “nest” in the cushions of the couch. Another economical option when it comes to chairs and couches is the use of slipcovers. These come in all sorts of patterns, materials and sizes and are an excellent idea as they can be thrown into the wash as needed. Your couch can also get a makeover with each round of laundry!

dog on couch
Photo by nikki2short2004

Collectables: If you must collect breakable items, do so behind closed doors! Please don’t put grandma’s antiques out where you are going to be heartbroken when a tail swipes them down in a happy, wagging, frenzy. Place fragile collectables in a room that is off limits to your dog or in a very safe cabinet. You will be both be happier when accidents are prevented.

Bedrooms: Again, I’m going to tout the wonders of covers that can be removed and cleaned. Duvet covers are wonderful items that you can throw in the washer – often. If you like to cuddle with your pup at night you may want to invest in a few of these.

dog in bed
Boston Terrier in Bed - Photo by Gino

Clean Up Station: Set up a “dog stop” right near the entrance to your house. This can be done in many ways, but I have seen some great set-ups using bakers racks or tall bookcases with hooks attached to them. Basically these all-in-one stations are where you keep your dogs stuff. Leashes spare collars, any kinds of outdoor apparel they might need if the weather is bad, etc. Also you can place paw and coat wipes just in case they get into something messy on a walk as well as a “dog towel” for drying off after a rainy day. You can get your dog cleaned up before they have the run of your house and leave muddy reminders all over the floor for you to mop up.

Vacuums: It’s a sad truth, but if you own a shedding breed and you want your house to be free of tumbleweeds the minimum you have to vacuum is twice a week. Brushing your pet on a regular basis will help cut down the amount of dead hair that ends up on your floor and on your furniture as well

Small Breed Specifics: If you are the owner of a toy or small breed, you may want to consider adding ramps and stairs to any furniture your pet is allowed on (the couch, bed, etc). These stairs can prevent back injuries due to jumping on and off high surfaces.

Large Breed Specifics: Some large breeds are very prone to drooling – flat paint is not a good choice when you are having to wipe spots of slobber off the walls on a daily basis as it will take off a great deal of the paint with every wiping. Also keep in mind that giant breeds are notoriously messy eaters. Designating a spot in your house that is easily cleaned up after mealtime is a great routine to start as soon as your dog joins your family

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