While we definitely cannot recommend having pets on a jobsite, we absolutely recommend taking your pet into account when planning your remodel. Here are just a few of our favorite pet-friendly remodel ideas:
1. Built-In Sliding Gate
Do you let your pets in one part of the house but not another? Do you leave them locked in the kitchen when you have to go out? Are they allowed upstairs at night when it’s time to go to bed? There are many different reasons people use pet gates. Built-ins are a great way to not only make those gates look more aesthetically pleasing, but also to upgrade from the chintzy aluminum gates often used for barricading pets into (or out of) a space.
There are many great options for creating a built-in gate. The easiest option is to turn an existing door into a Dutch-style door, and only install the bottom half. There are also lots of pre-made options available online that can be installed into millwork, cabinets, or a pocket door hole. Or, if you can’t find a pre-made one that fits what you are looking for, you can have your carpenter build a custom one.
2. Dog Wash Station
Here in the Pacific Northwest, where it rains nine months (or more) out of the year, pets are always coming into the house muddy. And rather than trying to wash them off outside (where it’s still raining) or quickly get them into the closest bathtub, why not build a wash station? You can put it right by the entrance you most commonly have them use: in the garage, in a mudroom, in a laundry/utility room. You can even put a pet door that leads directly into the wash station so you don’t have to try and corral them into it!
Now you can use warm water to bathe instead of a cold hose. If you have smaller pets, a raised wash station would be ideal to get them to your arms’-level and not have to bend over & hurt your back. If you have bigger pets, a raised wash station can still work, as long as you have steps for them to easily get in and out of it. A small glass guard is also a great way to help keep as much water in the station and off of you as possible. Check out our Pinterest board for more wash station design ideas.
3. Food Storage
Cabinet pullouts are a great way to store pet food & dishes, and make them easily accessible. We love these toe kick pullouts with food and water dishes for smaller/shorter dogs. Make sure to put dishes at a good height for your pet so they don’t hurt their neck. Repurposing trash/recycle pullouts for food storage is a fantastic idea! Check out our Pinterest board for more clever storage ideas.
Another great option is a niche that holds food and water dishes. You can even plumb a pot filler to it to make for easy refilling – genius! (Do keep in mind a new water line will be an added expense to your plumbing budget.)
4. Litter Box Cabinet
We can all agree litter boxes are smelly, messy, and generally unsightly. A great way to hide them is to put them in a cabinet. You can also remodel a piece of furniture (like a bench) to hold the litter box.
How cute is this cat-shaped door we installed in a client’s laundry room?! Plus, it’s the perfect size for cats to fit in, but keep dogs out, which will prevent dogs from snacking on “treats” in the litter box. Unfortunately, this exact one is no longer available, but you can get a similar one at Petco.
5. Pet Rooms
Your pets like to have their alone time in their own space, too. There is a growing trend to convert the space under your stairs into a pet room/den. Here are just a few of the cutest ideas we’ve seen:
Another trend we’ve seen lately are built-in crates. Not only are these built-ins more aesthetically pleaseing than a typical crate, but they also can end up saving space by eliminating the need for another piece of furniture in the room. We’ve even seen some great ideas with dog doors that lead into the built-in crate, allowing your pet to move between inside and outside when they are home alone.
We’ve also seen built-in crates that are under the kitchen island. This way, your clingy pet can be with you while you’re working in the kitchen, without getting in your way or counter surfing. Pets love to have their own safe space where they can relax, be alone, and avoid those scary guests.
6. Plan for Pet Aging
A challenging part of being a pet parent is watching them get older, knowing you have limited time left with them, and helping both of you navigate the changes that come with aging. One of the best things you can do for them is to plan ahead and pick designs & materials that will help them age safely in your home.
One of the most helpful things you can do is create ramps they can use when stairs become too difficult. Falling down the front stairs, even if it’s just a couple of steps, can make your pet hesitant to go outside. Installing a ramp with added grip and teaching them how to use it can give them back some freedom and autonomy. Similarly, having a place you can wash them that doesn’t involve going upstairs to the shower, or jumping into a tub, will help both them and you.
Another difficulty you’ll notice as your pet gets older is they may lose their ability to grip floors like hardwood. One way you can get around this is by creating a pathway for them with yoga mats. If you don’t want to have a yoga mat path, you could install cork flooring.
For more great ideas on helping your pet age well at home, this blog post is an incredible resource. It’s about a house in Beijing that was specifically designed for a dog with a congenital joint disease. They talk about lots of great ways to help your pets, including paint colors than can help their depth perception.
Our pets are hugely important parts of our lives and families, so planning remodel features around them just makes sense, especially if you plan to always have a pet. We hope we have inspired you to include a few of these ideas in your home.