How to Create a Pet-Friendly Home
By Cynthia Ramnarace
If you’re a pet lover, odds are you care enough to add the few touches necessary to make your home your pet’s castle as well as yours. In fact, nearly 90 percent of pet owners say their dogs or cats are members of the family, according to a Harris Interactive Poll. And considering that nearly two out of three Americans own a pet, that’s a lot of people willing to share their home with barking dogs and pouncing cats.
Here are some simple ways to move beyond the monogrammed food bowl and create the sleep spots, hangouts and dining locales in your home that will pamper your four-legged friend and keep him or her safe.
Dogs need a designated sleep space, says New Jersey-based dog trainer Kathy Santo, author of Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense. “This relates back to the times when they were den animals,” she says. More than half of the country’s pet owners (69 percent) allow their pets to sleep with them, according to the Harris poll. But if you’d like to reclaim your sleep space, consider setting aside a part of the house that is solely for your cat or dog. This has an added benefit, as many animal experts contend that your pet needs his or her own space to rest and recoup from the stimulation of being with the family. A sleep space can be as simple as a pet bed or crate in the corner of your bedroom, or as extravagant as turning an unused closet into a pet room. “A crate really most closely approximates a den,” Santo says. “I am a fan of crates, especially for puppies and dogs that have dominance or aggression issues.”
If you see pet beds or crates as eyesores, consider remodeling a closet into a pet room. You can install a pet door into the closet door for easy access, or simply remove the door altogether. The bed can be placed inside, as well as food and water bowls. These can be as simple or luxurious as you’d like. New York City-based pet expert Charlotte Reed, owner of Two Dogs and a Goat pet care service, says she has worked on rooms outfitted with grooming tables, bathtubs, and a television for the pet’s favorite programs. “The new trend is to create something opulent,” Reed says. “Some rooms have a real bed that is low to the ground, with comfortable pillows. In one house, there was a closet with all of the dog’s clothing.”