Eight pet house design features

By Bob Walsmith Jr
2022 chief
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors

For most of us, our pets are family. We let them sleep in our beds, we put supplements on their organic food, and we throw them birthday parties. In fact, we love our animal companions so much that we choose a design for a home and pet house.

These numbers tell the story. 43 percent of pet owners say they will move to accommodate their pets, according to a 2021 study from the National Association of Realtors. Furthermore, 68% of pet owners surveyed by Realtor.com said they would pass on an otherwise ideal home that does not meet their pet’s needs.

Here are some pet-friendly features that will make the home more animal-friendly.

#1 Bathing Station for Pets

Washing your dog in a regular bathtub can be miserable. Even if your pup is groomed regularly, you should still clean him up after he’s been walking around the dog park or rolling around in the mud in the yard. One solution is to build a grooming space in your home for quick cleaning. For larger dogs, you can install a commercial grooming tub with a hand spray or a walk-in shower that accommodates your pet. The location is flexible: the shaving station can go into the laundry room, mudroom, or garage.

#2 Pet Proof Flooring

Accidents happen, even with the best-behaved pets. This is why non-porous hard surface floors make your life easier. Think tile, hardwood, terrazzo, cement, or laminate. Stay away from wall-to-wall carpeting. Carpet absorbs pet stains, so it’s a bad idea. Adding wood flooring to your home increases the monetary value as well.

#3 Compact Pet Beds

Pet beds thrown around your home are unattractive and take up valuable floor space. An alternative is to build pet beds into cabinets, shelves, and other pieces of furniture. You can build a pet bed in the lower shelves of your bookcase or in the kitchen or mudroom. Or put it under the stairs. If hiring a closet maker or carpenter to build a pet bed doesn’t go smoothly within your budget, you can also purchase pet beds that look like furniture.

#4 Compact pet gates

You don’t want your pets to go to certain places in your house, and most of us keep them outside with baby gates. Plastic baby gates are flimsy and unattractive. The best option is a built-in gate. You can hire a closet maker to build a custom pet gate for a door that mounts to the door jamb on the hinges. Or consider fancy pre-made pet gates that you can mount to a door jamb or staircase.

#5 External ramp

Just like humans, dogs and cats can get too old to easily navigate stairs. If stairs separate your pet from the outdoors, build a ramp from the door to the yard to make it easier to access your home as they age. Make sure to design the ramp at an angle they can navigate. Small or short-legged dogs, such as Basset Hounds and Corgis, may need a ramp to navigate stairs even when they are young.

#6 Closed cat yard

Also known as catio (cat + patio), these outdoor enclosures provide a safe place for your cat to play outside. The structure, with a roof and four walls, keeps your cat safe and unable to harm wildlife. Catios can range from window box sizes to lanai sizes large enough to surround a patio with human seating.

#7 Compact pet doors

Pet doors with rubber flaps and plastic frames that penetrate into the door can be straight up flimsy and unsightly. Fortunately, sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing alternatives are available. You can get exterior doors with built-in pet doors. Incorporating a pet door into your home design is better for you and your puppy because it is more durable, safer and more beautiful.

#8 Fenced Yard

A fenced yard is near the top of most customers’ list when they are looking for dog-friendly features. There is no substitute for a safe place where your pets spend time outdoors.

Bob Walsmith Jr. He is a Southern California native and Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Santa Barbara. While with the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Bob served on the CORE Committee, the Education Committee, and chaired the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Multiple Listing Services Committee. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Alpha Resource Center in Santa Barbara. Bob lives in Julieta with his beautiful wife Julie. When he’s not working, Bob enjoys golfing, fine wines, fine dining, and walking on our beautiful coastline. Bob can be reached at 805.720.5362 and/or [email protected]

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