For many people, home isn't home without a dog. Dogs bring joy, love, energy and comfort to our lives. In return, we want to make sure they are happy, healthy, safe and comfortable.
A dog-friendly home is one that is comfortable for both its human and animal occupants. There should be a balance of style and function and--good news--it's easy to have both. Find out how.
Creating a comfy home that works for both us and our four-legged furry friends starts from the ground up. Hard surface flooring is the practical choice when sharing your home with a dog (or two). From sweeping up shed hair to cleaning occasional dirt, selecting tile, wood or concrete floors will make life much easier than carpet.
With wood, a neutral, matte finish will ensure that your floors don't show scratches or scuffs that might arise from puppy toenails.
With a hard floor, it's important to provide your pet a comfy spot to relax. A leather dog bed is a stylish and low-maintenance choice--any spills can simply be wiped off.
Often, the comfiest area to relax for your dog is the same as for you--the couch, lounge or even your favourite armchair. However, over time upholstered furniture can become dingy in your dog's preferred spot.
Slip-covers can protect your furniture, while still giving your pooch a cushy place to curl up. A spin in the washing machine can freshen up your slip-covers whenever needed.
Slip-covers can also be designed to your specifications. Whether you want tailored or slouchy, neutral or pattern, they can match your style. Plus, a few sets of slip-covers can be a versatile way to mix up your home's design seasonally or whenever the whim hits you--much easier than buying new furniture.
In addition to the furniture that humans and dogs share, a dog-friendly home obviously incorporates furniture specifically for your dog.
The options for dog beds these days are numerous. This stylish bed crafted to resemble a full-size sofa incorporates cognac leather, brass nailhead trim and wood bun feet. Raising the bed off the floor can protect your pet from cold drafts.
Dogs come with some less than stylish accessories, like brushes, leashes and those giant bags of food. Allocating storage to corral all of Fido's things needs will ensure your home is tidy, organized and attractive.
A food bin can be a solution to store kibble, without giving up a cupboard or part of a closet. This stainless steel bin is a great fit for a kitchen with stainless steel appliances. A locking handle keeps pets from breaking in and a silicone gasket forms an airtight seal so food stays fresh.
The friendliest of dog friendly homes greets our four-legged sidekicks with a shower designed just for them. Adding a dog shower to your mudroom or entry means that muddy paws can be rinsed before dirt is tracked through the house.
Plus, on those days when our beloved dogs smell a bit too much like… well, a dog, this shower can be man's best friend. No more lifting a squirming dog into the bathtub or subjecting him to a cold garden hose. The tile protects the walls from the inevitable shakes, and the opening gives you easy access to scrub from head to tail. In any dog shower, a handheld shower head is a must. The flexible hose ensures that you can spray the water wherever it's needed.
Even in the comfiest of homes, most dogs will also be attuned to what's going on outside thanks to their heightened senses of hearing and even smell.
For some dogs, the world outside can be distracting, leading to lots of loud barking. In this case, blinds that block the view or windows with soundproofing can help keep your canine calm. For other dogs, low windows--or even better, floor to ceiling windows--where they can see what's happening outside can be an enjoyable spot to spend their time.
Regardless of the view, a sunbeam is the favoured napping spot for many pooches, so set up a lounging space where the sun shines.
The spaces outside our homes are just as important for our dogs as the indoor ones.
A grassy area gives your dog room to run and play and is also handy for those necessary bathroom breaks. However, we humans usually prefer a yard that is more than just grass. We want trees for shade, shrubs for variety, flowers for colour or vegetables for food. With some dogs who are diggers, it can be hard to maintain any gardens. Raised planters can protect trees, shrubs, flowers and even vegetables while adding dimension and interest to your yard.
A fenced yard, while not an absolute necessity, can give your dog a safe, contained space to run free and play. Check your fence occasionally for damaged boards or holes to make sure there's nothing that will injure your dog or allow him to escape.
The indoor-outdoor connection is also important. On this house, glass doors provide easy access from the house to the yard and a good vantage point to keep an eye on your pup.
Outside and in, creating a dog-friendly home is easy with a bit of thought and attention. What truly makes a home, though, is the people--and pooches--we share it with. After all, home is where the heart is.