7 home features to create the ultimate pet-friendly house.
- Wash station
- Automated vacuum
- Hidden litter box
- Durable floors
- Fenced-in backyard
- Enclosed patio
- Fence and door windows
1. Wash station
Your cats might not appreciate this one, but a wash station is a life (or, at least, furniture) saver for those inevitable occasions when your dog makes the most of their outside time. And hey, no judgment if your toddler gets some mileage out of it, too. Some key features to consider for your wash station include:
- A detachable hose
- Leash hooks
- Non-slip floors
- Product storage nooks
- Adjustable height
2. Automated vacuum
No need to get a hairless cat (unless you want to). With an automated vacuum system, you can schedule it to circulate your home periodically and reduce all that pet hair accumulating faster than you can sweep it up.
3. Hidden litter box
You can’t avoid litter boxes, but you can make them less noticeable. If your home has stairs, consider converting the storage area underneath into an enclosed litter box area for your cat. Provide a small entrance (within a door that you can fit through for cleaning access) for your cat to discreetly get in and out. A flap over the entrance can also help reduce escaping odors.
If you can’t dedicate a whole room to your cat’s litter box, try getting an enclosed cover. A box with steps leading up to the entrance can help minimize the litter that gets tracked through your shared spaces.
4. Durable floors
Accidents happen, so choosing the right flooring in your home will save you a lot of time and frustration. Vinyl is considered the most durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. If you can’t reconcile vinyl with your aesthetic, tile is another great option, if a little less comfortable for your pets.
Green Tip: Linoleum is an excellent eco-friendly alternative to vinyl. Just keep in mind that it tends to be more expensive and harder to find.
5. Fenced-in backyard
Dogs need outdoor access, but when life gets hectic it can be hard for you to make as much time for it as they need. With a fenced-in backyard, you can let them outside and off-leash without having to keep an eye on them or put the rest of your day on pause. To make things even easier, install a doggy door.
6. Enclosed patio
Your cat loves looking at the outside world, if not necessarily participating in it. An enclosed patio lets your feline friend take those sunshine snoozes to the next level, without the risk of getting loose and exploring more than they bargained for. From translucent plastic to chicken wire, there are plenty of ways to create an enclosed space without breaking the bank, depending on the look you’re going for. Explore these ideas for more inspiration.
7. Fence and door windows
Pets of all kinds need a stimulating environment that offers a taste of what’s going on outside their home. For your smaller or older dogs with mobility issues, lower windows on your doors are a smart solution to make sure they don’t miss out on their daily squirrel watching.
Adding a window to your fence is another option, as long as your neighbor doesn’t mind. Who knows, your dog might just become best friends with the canine next door (but don’t worry, they’ll never replace you).
Is there anything I should avoid to have a pet-friendly house?
When it comes to creating a pet-friendly house, it’s as much about the features you don’t have as the ones you do. Your needs will depend on your pet, but avoiding these common hazards are a great place to start:
- Toxic plants: Unfortunately, this includes most houseplants. If you don’t want to give up your greenthumb lifestyle, consider hanging your plants out of reach (easier said than done for cat owners). Refer to this list to double-check which plants are safe and which are toxic.
- White furniture: White furniture is hard to clean and will show the normal wear and tear of pets being pets more clearly than darker tones. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss when it comes to the amount of dirt and fur your four-legged friends track through the house.
- Exposed cords and wires: If you have exposed electrical wires in your home, that’s a bigger problem that needs immediate attention for everyone’s sake. But you’ll also want to be mindful of cords for appliances like lamps, TVs, and device chargers. These are all prime nibbling real estate for your pets.
- Open access to household cleaners and medications: There’s a lot of overlap between child-proofing and pet-proofing. Keep potentially toxic materials out of reach and behind closed doors to make sure your human and animal children can’t get into them.
- Faux plants with small leaves: It’s not just real plants you have to watch out for. Faux plants often have small plastic leaves that are easy for your pets to choke on or swallow. At best, this results in some unpleasant cleanup for you. At worst, it could cause blockage in your pet’s stomach that requires surgery to fix.
Of course, your pet will love you whether you upgrade your home or not—but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from it. Adding these features could also boost your home equity. This might qualify you for better rates and terms should you refinance your loan down the road. Speaking of refinancing, a cash-out refi* could help you pay for these pet-friendly house upgrades by leveraging your existing equity for cash out. You’re about to earn serious bragging—er, wagging rights.
*Using your home equity to pay off debts or make other purchases does not eliminate the debt or the cost of the purchases, but rather increases the loan amount of your mortgage to be paid according to your new mortgage terms.
Pets make a house a home, and a home with the right pet-friendly features can make all the difference for their quality of life.