Updated 2019

dog on welcome mat

For most pet owners, animals are a very important part of the family. So when remodeling your home, why not remodel some areas that both help make life better for your pets and make it easier for you to care for them?  According to a national survey conducted by a remodeling referral organization, nearly a quarter of the home remodeling and improvement projects referred by that organization included something for pets. While you don’t need to build your dogs, cats, fish or other pet their own room, there are plenty of ways to integrate special spaces for your pet into your home.

Here are 7 pet (and pet owner) friendly remodeling ideas :

1.    The most popular pet-related home improvement, according to the survey, was adding a pet door. But that is just the start of what you can do.

2.    Consider a built-in sleeping space for your dog or cat. This may help keep them off your furniture or out from underfoot while they sleep. Popular locations for these sleeping spaces are beneath cabinets and counters, under the stairs, or in bedrooms, laundry or mudrooms, kitchens, or bathrooms.

pet door with cat

Photo courtesy SureFlap®.

3.    Since feeding your dog or cat is a daily chore, why not install a built-in feeding area to make it easier? Options include either a built-in food and water station under cabinets or a slide-out drawer that holds the food and water bowls. Some pet owners have installed water fountains for their pets that connect directly to their home water line. Adding dedicated cabinet or other storage space for your pet’s food (or toys, grooming tools, etc.) is another great option for pet-friendly remodeling.

4.    Think about your pet’s playtime needs when you remodel, both in terms of what they should and should not play with! Consider cat-safe window treatments. Blinds and shades without cords, instead of drapes, will help avoid cat-related disasters.  Cats should have a safe place to play, jump, and climb. Install shelves on a wall for them to play on, or an elevated cat window seat where they can take a nap or watch the outside world.  Pet doors allow your dog or cat to easily take their playtime outside.

5.   Bathing your pet can make a big mess, but there are ways to make this dreaded task easier.  One popular pet home improvement is a washing station, which can be incorporated into a laundry or mudroom that’s used as a multi-purpose mudroom for the whole family.  There are many options from this room, from the basics of easy-to-clean tile flooring and a low shower with a handheld shower head, to a raised-height bathing station with a ramp for the dog and commercial-sized pet dryers.

6.   Your flooring choices will also make a big difference in ease of cleaning up after your pet. Carpet can be very difficult to clean pet hair or other pet stains from.  Hardwood or laminate with hard coating will prevent claw scratches, and tightly sealed seams can help prevent leakage if your pet has an accident.  Tiled areas will help keep your pets cool in the summer, and radiant heated floors will keep them (and you) warm in the winter.

7.    Finally, like humans, our pets need some extra help when they get older and can benefit from planned aging-in-place designs that can make a big difference in their quality of life. Ramps to their favorite sleeping spots will help elderly dogs and cats reach them easily. Long, low-riser staircases make walking up stairs a little easier for everyone, as does good lighting in stairwells for those with poorer vision.

Your options for remodeling for your pet range from simple adjustments to major creative projects. With so many possibilities, there is truly something available for every pet and every pet owner!