There are numerous aspects to consider when you remodel or redecorate your home, and we pet owners just have one more thing to add to the list. Pet beds, food dishes, toys, and litter boxes: How can we decorate the home to accommodate our pets’ needs? Then we need to come up with ways to hide loose fur on the sofas, to prevent water stains on the flooring, and so on–all while keeping the critters’ best interest in mind. I wondered about all these things before I got a puppy and a kitten last spring. Here is how I worked around all these things:
Choose stain and fur resistant fabrics
Although my Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie) puppy, Mila, doesn’t shed, my Siamese kitten, Loki, does–a lot. I brush her fur daily, which definitely helps, but white fur doesn’t exactly blend into black or dark furniture. The same is true of black fur and white furniture. Fortunately, all my furniture is fur resistant. Stay far, far away from velvet if you have a pet that sheds; velvet is a major hair magnet. Do you have a dog that drools? Avoid silk and satin if you can, since they are not stain-resistant materials. If you need to decorate your home to accommodate pets, stick with soft, neutral colors that will hide hair and stains.
Consider the flooring in your home
Certain types of flooring are better for pet owners than others. If you have hardwood or wood laminate on your floors, keep in mind that spilled water can warp these types of flooring. Your pet’s nails can ruin hardwood, as well. To avoid water stains and warped floors, I keep my pets’ water dishes on mats, and wipe up spills immediately as they occur. Place rugs on the floors to avoid scratches–use slip-resistant mats to ensure your pet doesn’t slip or get hurt. Carpet is usually fine, but claws can get caught in shag carpeting.
Hide the litter box
Hiding my cat’s litter box has been the toughest challenge in decorating my home to accommodate pets. I still haven’t really been able to find the ideal solution, and you might not be able to either, if you live in an apartment. The litter box has to be readily accessible to your pet, so it shouldn’t be behind closed doors, unless there is a doggy door for your pet to go through. Since I live in an apartment, I have to work with what is available. The only place where I can keep the litter box is in the large, open entryway–so I opted for a domed box with stairs. This keeps the litter out of sight and the mess is somewhat contained. Beware–if you must keep the box in the main living area, scoop the litter daily to keep avoid a smelly home.
Blend pet accessories with the decor
The litter box is not the only item that can be concealed–or can at least blend in with the home decor–while accommodating your pets’ needs. Pet beds, food dishes, and toys can all be integrated into your interior design. The bed, for instance, can be tucked away while still being useful to the pet that sleeps in it. Of course, size is a factor: I can tuck the little ones underneath end tables or night stands; beds for bigger dogs can hide in an empty corner, where your dog can escape for a few hours. You will find decorative food and water dishes at specialty pet shops, and even at chain stores. And tuck those toys away in a cute toy box that blends in with your decor, in a place where they are still accessible to your pets when they want to play.
Accommodate the aging pet
If your pet is old enough to be considered a senior citizen, you will want to take careful measures while decorating your home to accommodate this pet’s needs. For example, water needs to be readily accessible to the aging animal, so keep bowls of water throughout the house–of course, they should be tucked in places where people cannot step in them. If you have slippery floors, set slip-resistant mats on the floors to keep your senior pet safe. Finally, make sure the beds are in warm areas of the house, and out of drafts. Aging pets are more susceptible to illness than the young ones.
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