They may have feathers or paws, but for many of us, our pets are family. Why not then create a functional space for them that still meshes with your sense of style? According to David Beart, a Canadian in the process of building the world’s most pet friendly home, “When we build homes for our family, we work around the pets later. Why not include the pets’ needs as well when building the home?” “Over half of all homes have pets living in them, but animals are still an afterthought when it comes to home improvements.”***
And if that hasn’t been thought of while building your house, then perhaps making some modifications is in order!
When planning a home that is designed for both you and your pets, consider their particular needs. What items in your home are hazardous or un-pet friendly? The flooring, the stairs, perhaps the paint on the walls? Is your doggie-door pointing out towards a busy street? Many home owners start with the biggest projects, the walls and the floors. There are many versatile products on the market now that are pet friendly. Flooring for example, has come a long way with scratch resistant wood flooring or durable stone-looking synthetic flooring. Paints are now much more pet (and kid) friendly with non-toxic bases and flat, easy to clean finishes. Don’t forget the little things either, such as lids on storage baskets and fewer items on table tops for the energetic furry child!
If you are fortunate enough to be able to dedicate a space solely to your pet, you may want to consider doing so. When guests who are uncomfortable with pets come to visit, a dedicated room will give your pet a space all their own, allowing them to retreat without feeling punished. (Don’t overlook the fact that this space could serve double duty as an office or laundry room!) Get creative by giving them a lush sleeping space they will adore and something to entertain them. (Some owners opt for a television on low, to provide ambient noise, or toys, and even climbing shelves for cats.)
Lastly, before you finish, do an “all-fours” inspection. Try to think like your pet and look for items and situations that may be dangerous for them. Literally get down on all fours and take a look at your pet’s environment from a different perspective. Things to keep an eye out for include: Human foods and medications with accessibility. Eliminate “ladders” that curious pets can climb to access elevated areas like counter and tabletops. Discard perishable trash every day to keep out prying noses and make sure your cans have tight-fitting lids. Look for choking, electrocution, strangulation and suffocation hazards. Keep window treatment cords short and unplug or cover wires and electrical cords. Anchor furniture that might be climbed on, to prevent crushing your pet should they get adventurous! Double check the plants that are in your home to make sure they are non-poisonous and keep all toxins such as anti-freeze, fertilizers, cleaning products and pesticides behind locked doors. Lastly, keep your windows securely shut. The number of cats that fall out of windows is so high, that the veterinary profession has coined the term High-Rise Syndrome. A sobering thought.
Ultimately, a furry child takes a lot of preparing for, but it is so worth it. Taking the time to consider your home from their perspective will allow you both to live in safety, comfort and style!
***More on David Beart and his project can be found at: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/Calgarian+building+friendly+home/8146047/story.html