Each year the American Pet Products Association produces a survey of pet owners. This year, the Survey shows that 67 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet; an estimated 84.9 million homes. Millennials represent the largest segment of pet owners for all pet types owned. And for the first time, The Survey assesses members of the emerging Generation Z (Gen Z). Other interesting findings show more than 80 percent of Gen Z and Millennial pet owners report owning dogs, while 50 percent or less own cats. (Source: APPA’s 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey). What does all of this mean? It means that there are lots of pet lovers out there looking for ideas on how to make their home more comfortable and more functional for their pet. Here are 5 great ideas you can add to your new home.
The Doggy Door
There are dozens of ideas to allow your pet the ability to freely move in and out of the house on their own. For many, security is an issue. Larger pets require larger doors. For those the live in more remote areas, you also want to make sure that it is only pet coming into your home (not an unwanted visitor from the woods). For that, technology comes to the rescue! RFID pet doors are advance in pet door technology that can make you and your pet’s life a lot simpler. These doors work via a radio frequency that communicates with a special tab placed on your pet’s collar. Anytime they come within a certain range of the door, it opens thanks to a sensor in the door. This is a great in between pet door choice if you’re looking for an option that gives your pet freedom but keeps your home sealed off from critters.
Cats love to explore and roam. There are many options and ideas to create great areas in your home (or even outside your home) for your feline friend to enjoy. Hammocks, unique shelving placement, and other ideas can create mazes for your pet to explore and lazy areas for your friend to sleep. Endless design ideas make building a new home exciting to see how spaces can be used to make the design of your home just as exciting for your pet.
Picking a place for your pet to sleep is more than just throwing down a pillow or blanket on the floor. That can work for the occasional nap but your pet deserves a place to sleep that provides support and comfort. In addition, most pets like the feeling of being in a den type environment.
Many home plans have lots of wasted space. Nooks and crannies that don’t offer useful opportunities for storage or living space for you, but they offer create places for your pet with just a little creativity. Areas under steps are great places to get creative with a cozy retreat and sleeping area. A custom cabinet under the counter can provide a great place to create a den-like area in the home.
Just like with sleeping spaces, there are lots of spaces in a home with unused space that is perfect for creating eating spaces for your pet. Under cabinet, areas and recesses in kitchen areas are the perfect places to carve out convenient places for food and water dishes. A pet friendly kitchen means you get to keep your family friend with the family when they eat. Options can include niche carved out under a bar area, a recess in a cabinet or a pull out drawer converted to serve the kibble and bits.
Ergonomics can play a big role in positioning the food and water bowl, take advantage of shelves in utility rooms or bench areas in mudrooms to make sure your pet doesn’t have to strain to get their food. These areas are also great to contain water and food excesses to just one area of the home.
It’s important to keep in mind your pet’s lifestyle when designing the clean-up spaces in your home. If your dog goes outside a lot, makes sure the mud room or utility room they come back to is made with flooring that is impervious to water. These rooms are perfect places to include a shower or bath area. With some built-in shelves and convenient hooks for towels, your dirty pet will never get past the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your house clean.
Ergonomics play an important part when designing a doggy shower. For both you and your pet. Options exist to create a shower that is several feet off the floor making it easier for you to wash your friend without the need to bend over. If you pet is older or smaller, a walk in shower may be the best option.
Giving your cat a private place to do their business is more about the owner’s comfort than your pets. There are dozens of creative solutions to this issue. A recently trending solution is to install hidden litter box spots in cabinets contained in furniture such as built-in sofas or entertainment units. These areas can have hidden entry points too small for dogs to access.
If you have a dog that lets himself out of the house when nature calls consider adding a pet door. Some new models have an insulated flap that can withstand up to 40 mph winds. Today, a pet door doesn’t have to be installed in the door. Actually, many models exist today that provide through the wall access beside the entry door. If critters and other intruders concern you, some pet doors come with electronic keys that are attached to your pet’s collar (or that can be keyed to your pet’s chip) that will automatically unlock the door when your pet approaches.
Accessibility and Aging-in-Place aren’t just concepts in design for people. Our pets age faster than us humans and care and consideration should be given, not just to type of pet you have, but also their age.
- Arthritis and stiff joints can make stairs a challenge for older pets. A ramp outside the front door can help.
- Adding Radiant heating systems under tile floors can keep pets, and their joints, warm during the winter.
- That recessed shelf allows pet food bowls to be raised off the floor. This can make mealtimes easier for older pets.